Photoblog 6Stock photos can get super expensive to use in your online marketing pursuits and the legalities of using them are sometimes confusing. And, some marketers use inappropriate photos or don’t know how to use them, causing you to shake your head when you see them embedded in a blog or website.

Stock photos can add interest and definition to your content. It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words and for your clients it means that learning time is lessened if you can see a visual image rather than a wordy explanation. There are also free stock photography sites which offer various images that they’ve contracted for with the photographer. This helps the photographer because they have a central place to show their creations. Online photography sites also help marketers because they can choose from a wide variety of photos and not have to bother with copyright forms and the legal issues of using photos for online content.

Before you decide on which stock photography you will use in your online content, there are some legalities you should know about. These legal matters might affect both the expense of the photo(s) and how you may use them. One of the most asked questions by Internet marketers is, “How do I get copyright permission to use a photo?” Most sites make it easy for you, but there are legal issues you should know about before using a photo in your content.



How to Get Permission to Use a Stock Photo

Expert photos are a great way to make your content stand out and to make a point that only a picture can accomplish. Creators of photographs retain the copyright to a photo – but you can ask for a release unless the person who owns the photo wants to use it for certain products. Then, you must ask for copyright permission.

Using a search engine such as “Google Images” can show you various shots of anything you can imagine, but if you use one, it may violate a copyright. Photographers do have ways and tools to find out if photo copyrights have been violated – such as TinEye.

If you use copyrighted photos without permission, it could become very expensive, not to mention embarrassing. When you see a photo you want to use, you should first get in touch with the studio or photographer who created the photo and ask for copyright permission. If agreement is reached, follow these instructions:

  • Pay for the copyright release – Images of portrait work could cost $25 per image and images for marketing or business applications could cost over $100 per image.

  • Obtain an original copy of permission form – Also, be sure the form has an original (ink) signature.

  • Purchase a print copy of the photo – You’ll use the print to list the items on the release form.

Many copyright release forms are very complicated in nature and can include specifics that may be difficult to understand for the lay­person. Remember that a copyright isn’t meant for you use the image in any way you want.
Read the release form carefully before you use the image you retained a copyright for.

Obtaining the copyright of a photo that’s perfect for your online site(s) might be the route you want to take if you find one that’s the perfect one. But, there are also free images available in ‘libraries’ of stock photos. These photos have been obtained from a photographer who has sold or given away some or all of their legal rights. Some you can use commercially and others have stipulations about how you can use them. It’s true that free stock photography offers a wide range of photographs for almost every need. They also help amateur and professional photographers by providing a venue for their creativity.

One word of caution – be sure and read the fine print on the sites that feature “free” stock photos.

There may be terms that you need to know about such as limitations and licensing.


Reach out

Level1, 530 Little Collins
Melbourne, Australia
+61 1 800 011 265

Join Our Newsletter

Signup to get exclusive offers and other discount from us by joining our newsletter program.