A Guide To (Legally) Sourcing Images For Your Website

A Guide To (Legally) Sourcing Images For Your Website

According to a study by Microsoft, the average human attention span has fallen to a mere 8 seconds. So what does this mean for your business? It means that a fish has more odds of making it to the end of your blog post than your prospective customer (a goldfish has an attention span of approximately 9 seconds).

While this isn’t bad news for our orange friends, it does mean that marketers now have less time to grab and retain their readers, creating a need for not just standout content, but strong and story-telling visuals.

In an age where consistency is key, finding fresh new images to span website, blog and social media use is hard. How about understanding the copyright laws to go with them? We say even harder. Here, we guide you through the different options.

Take Your Own
By far the preferable option is to take your own photos. Not only will this avoid the cheap, notorious ‘stock photo look’, it is the best way to convey your company’s originality and unique vision while eliminating the risk of clashing with a competitor.

Ask Permission
Emerging photographers and PRs alike are keen for as much exposure as possible. Asking permission to use an image in return for a link back to their site is a great way to source quality images, in addition to building meaningful business relationships. After all, the worst they could say is no.

Stock Photos
Stock photos can generally be segregated into two categories: Royalty Free, meaning they are purchased for a one-time fee, or Rights Managed, meaning they are available for one-time use, a limited time, or for a specific purpose. As well as being expensive, the process of obtaining stock photos can be quite labour-intensive.

Creative Commons (CC)
Creative commons licenses allow content creators to give others permission to use their work. There are sometimes restrictions, such as a disallowance of modifications or commercial use, but generally a credit and link back is all that is required. Both Google and Flickr have advanced search tools for finding CC images, but websites such as Unsplash, Photopin, Pixabay and Gratisography may also provide useful.

Public Domain
Images considered in the public domain are those that either never had copyright or where the copyright has expired. A good place to start is Wikipedia’s list of public domain providers, although be sure to check the T&Cs of individual images, keeping in mind that it is still a nice gesture to credit the source.

With the potential for images to generate thousands of likes, shares, and ultimately revenue, it’s crucial that you’re hunting in the right places and on the right side of the law.

Get in contact with Point and Stare for further help in building your online presence today.

Photo taken by Jimmy Luka

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