I am wanting to build a product catalog template that can take XML and import it through InDesign to automatically style text and place product photos. The problem is I don't have a product database of photos, descriptions or prices to work from. Does anyone have ideas on where I could go to find such content? I could write the text myself but at the very least I would like the photos to be sharp and professional.

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    Depending on what kind of products you want to include, manufacturers, stockists may supply product photos. They often have their own image bank. Feb 6, 2019 at 15:14
  • Since you don't seem to care which products are on the images, I'm guessing that it's just dummy images you need while you work on your template? If it's just for personal use why does the images have to be free? Couldn't you just "borrow" any images you find on the net and then throw them out afterwards?
    – Wolff
    Feb 6, 2019 at 17:28
  • I have a few goals for this project. I would like to get more practice with XML import in InDesign. So in that case I could use just any photos. But, once it is perfected I would like to be able to sell the template on a store like Creative Market. So to that end I would think that I would need royalty free stock photos. Feb 7, 2019 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


If it's merely a template.. create a placeholder image and use that repeatedly.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

The benefit of using placeholders is they show positioning and size, but do not show anything which may alter someone's perception of the overall design.

Meaning... if you use a bunch of product unrelated to a viewer, the viewer may immediately dismiss what they see as "not for me". i.e. use a bunch of gun images and someone anti-gun will not be interested. Use a collection of cosmetic images and men may not be interested. Use a bunch of children's clothing images and non-parents may not be interested, etc.

Placeholder images are agnostic and typically don't "sway" viewers because of content.

But.. I have no actual idea what you are creating or what it's purpose is.

  • I really need individual photos tied to unique product text so that I can properly test the xml import. If i just use the same place holder photo for everything the I wont know if the import worked properly. Feb 7, 2019 at 4:42
  • You can use the same image. Just copy it 50 times in the Finder/Windows Explorer and number them 01 to 50. You'll see what image was imported by checking the links panel. The individual numbers of the file name will be reflected.
    – Scott
    Feb 7, 2019 at 6:29

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