When in need for the perfect photo for your website or promotional material it can be very tempting to search google images which brings up hundreds and thousands to choose from, and the best thing is they are free to use. Sounds too good to be true right? That’s because it is. Each one of those images belong to someone and using one without permission could get you into a lot of trouble.
The images you find on google may not have a watermark or have a price tag attached to them but they still protected by copyright laws. There are numerous stories on line of websites and bloggers faced with legal action and bills of thousands of euro for using just a single image which would have only cost them 20-50 euro if they’d purchased it from a stock website or sought permission to use it.
You’re probably thinking ‘How will they know if I’ve used a photo without permission?’. In certain cases you might be right, if you’re using the images of a hobby photographer on a small local business website then they probably won’t find out. However there is technology out there that allows copyright holders to search for their images and track the use of them. They will discover unlicensed use of their images. Just because you might get away with it doesn’t make it ethically right.
At the end of the day your designer isn’t liable for any damages sought for improper use of images, you are. They will have a good understanding of copyright laws and will always look for images from stock websites or source photos from photographers that suit your project. A good designer will always ask where the images you have supplied them have come from to ensure they are able to use them.
There are 2 options for ensuring you have permission to use the photographs:
- Take the photos yourself or hire a professional:
This will ensure that you have a library of images you can use that are unique to your business and reflect exactly what you do. They may be of the products you sell, your employees interacting with customers, food that you make and serve.
- Purchase images from stock websites:
There are a number of stock photo websites that give you hundreds and thousands of choices when it comes to looking for images. You will be able to use them for your business and they provide different licensing agreements depending on their use. They range in price but it’s better to pay them a small fee than being faced with a large fine for using an image without permission.
Below is a gallery of images we have taken for business to use on their websites and promotional material