Images for Business

I recently attended a morning session of Social Media Breakfast that got me thinking about images for business use. There are so many legal implications if you use a photo or graphic that you didn’t create (and don’t have permission to use) and this presentation gave some examples, not least of which included lawsuits against businesses.

I found it especially interesting that many attendees depend on Google images for any photos or graphics they might need for social media. A quick query using your favorite search engine will no doubt turn up thousands of fantastic images, but they aren’t necessarily okay for you to use.

When pondering the idea of how to use images legally and appropriately on social media sites or for blogs, some people suggest just taking your own photos to be safe. This is a fantastic idea that eliminates many potential issues…except it also poses problems of its own. What if you don’t have time to create perfectly posed, quality photos? What if you’re a travel blogger writing about tropical beaches and you need a photo of palm trees, ocean waves or sandy seashores…and you live in Minnesota? (And it’s March, when you look out your window and see snow or brown grass.) Or maybe your photography skills are just terrible (hey, it happens).

What then?

There are a few sites out there that allow you to subscribe or purchase images and grant you a sort of license to use them. There are also completely free sites you can use! While I’m no expert on copyright laws, I do know I sometimes just need a photo that I have permission to use and doesn’t require me to have to mess with fees. As a fellow business owner, blogger or person interested in the exciting topic of legalities of using other peoples’ images, I thought you might appreciate having a few resources to tap into the next time you need an image for your marketing efforts.

First, a disclaimer though. You need to read through and understand the licensing rights (or lack thereof) on each of these websites before using the images provided to you. I’m not advising you on anything legal (or otherwise) or telling you anything other than that these sites exist.

So, take a look through them now and do your homework on the licensing rights. That way, you’ll already know how you can or can’t use the images from these websites.

Happy image searching!

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