Brief Guide To The Use of Stock Photos and Copyrights

With so many images widely and easily available, it seems that you can just use any one of them for whatever you want. After all, what are the odds that anyone will ever see them? Please don't ever do this as it is illegal. When a photographer takes a photo, the copyright belongs to them for life as well as for 25 years after their death. IF you’d like to read through the US Copyright Law, you may do so here.

There are several legal free and paid options to acquire stock images for use for your marketing purposes. There are the obvious choices like Shutterstock and iStockPhoto. These pay-per-use sites have almost any image you can imagine. The fee you pay is for the right to use (not own) the image as you see fit. This is a great option for larger businesses with a creative budget. But what if you're just starting out or have little to no budget for high quality stock photos?

Don't worry! There are several free stock photo sites available! Some allow for a donation to the photographer, which as a photographer, I highly recommend, but it's not required. Even though some of these photo sites allow for full, unlimited image usage, some do not, so really pay attention to the licensing rights. Some photographers allow full commercial rights to the image, including allowing you to modify the image as you see fit. However, others only allow personal use with no modification and you have to attribute the photographer. As long as you adhere to the licensing rights, you are legally covered to use the images. My favorite sites are: 




Creative Commons

Using the Creative Commons is not like using the other sites. You have to ensure that you have the proper boxes checked (they are checked by default) to ensure that you are using images that allow full rights. (See red arrow). Creative Commons is good for much more than photos only. You can search for anything here. 

As always, I hope you found this blog helpful! I'd love to hear from you about topics you'd like to learn about as well as your thoughts on this blog. Until next time.....