The first thing that anyone will see of your site is usually the header graphics. What a potential customer thinks of your site will be established by what that header looks like, just the same as the storefront of a brick-and-mortar store. What you do to make it needs consideration. At the same time, the price to create it must also be considered, as it makes little sense to go bankrupt in designing such a small part of your site.
There are two routes that you can go when designing a header: you can either pay for it, or find a free service. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages. Paying for your header graphic gives you the most options, as you have more control over the graphic. Rather than being limited to whatever stock images are available, you can have the artist create a truly individualistic creation, and adjust it to your needs. Also, you don’t need to worry about the creator’s brand being associated with yours, as some free images carry the watermark of their creator.
Thus, if you need to make sure that everything fits and you need complete control over the image, paying for the graphic maybe your best bet. However, there are some advantages to free images.
There are some truly interesting graphics available for free, but they usually come with some strings attached. For example, a link to the site where you got the graphic may be required, or that you need to use the graphic unaltered. Some creators even put a watermark in the graphic so that they can be identified and make sure that they get some free advertising in return.
The biggest criterion that you consider should be what works for your site, not the price. If a free graphic does what you need it to do, then by all means use the graphic; the main thing to consider is the appearance, and whether or not the graphics on your site are consistent and look good. However, the paid graphics are usually the best way to go as they allow more flexibility and can usually be re-crafted quickly, as you have the original files that they were created from.
No matter which way you go, just remember to pick what represents you best. On the web, you are your image, and you need to look your best.
Andy Eaton is by far the best graphic designer I have ever come across! Not only does he create quality graphics, which actually do increase your website sales he actually goes one step further and teaches you his exact methods to crank out profit pulling graphics. Check out his work at http://quickpaypro.com/x.php?5086_u8