Unlocking the Power of Royalty Free Images: A Guide to Using Stock Photos
The use of images on your website is a powerful tool for both your business and your site visitors. Not only do they break up text and create a better flow in your copy, but they also provide a visual component to enhance the communication of your ideas.
Business brokers (we work with many) often use stock photos to market a business during the initial phase, as photos of the actual premises or stock cannot be used to protect the business's identity. Another great use is for newer businesses where you have not yet gathered enough of your unique photos and media to use.
However, finding the right quality images for your website can be a challenge for some. Not only care professional images expensive and time-consuming to produce, but many of the images available on the internet via just a Google Image search are either of poor quality or illegal to use.
Stock photo websites have emerged as a solution to this problem. Recognizing the need for businesses creating an online presence, these companies have developed an entire industry around creating high-quality "stock photos" that are available for purchase. Stock photo websites offer a range of options, from free images to those that require a monthly membership or per image fees depending on use.
But why do image copyrights matter? Simply taking images from the internet, including stock photo sites or other websites, puts you at risk of a lawsuit. Licensing fees are required on almost every stock image website to protect the work of photographers being displayed. Images found online cannot be used anywhere on your website or in your business (e.g. social media profiles and email newsletters) because you must receive permission from the owner of the content.
According to the Copyright Act 1968 of Australia, copyright is a legal right granted to creators of original works, such as literary works, musical works, dramatic works, films, sound recordings, and artistic works. The act sets out exclusive rights that are given to copyright owners, such as the right to reproduce the work, communicate the work to the public, and to publish the work. Copyright protection in Australia generally lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years.
Copyright law is strict and it is a bad practice for any business to not take image copyrights seriously. Even if your business is small and relatively unknown, that does not excuse using someone else's work without their permission. Acknowledging someone's work (such as an attribution on a website or a tag on social media) does not automatically make using that image legal. While some creatives will be happy to have their work shared, it is still technically illegal without their express permission.
Many stock libraries will invoice for usage with high fees for any image they find has been used where there is no proof your company has purchase the legal right. It can be a very expensive education if you or your team have done this in haste or error.
One solution to this problem is the use of royalty-free images. Royalty-free images carry a unique license that allows you to use the image as many times as you want and however you want (within the terms explained on the specific website). This means that, unlike other images where you only buy the license to use one time, royalty-free images can be used again and again without any obligation to make future payments. However, it is important to note that you are not purchasing the copyright, which means the creator of the work is still the legal owner and protector.
In summary, finding the right quality images for your website can be a challenge. Stock photo websites have emerged as a solution to this problem, providing a range of options, from free images to those that require a monthly membership. However, it is important to take image copyrights seriously and to ensure that every image used is fair and legal. One solution is the use of royalty-free images, which can be used again and again without any obligation to make future payments. But it is important to note that you are not purchasing the copyright, which means the creator of the work is still the legal owner and protector.
Great free and commercial stock photography websites
Death to the Stock
This is a unique website that offers free monthly packs of high-quality, unique and stylish stock photos for creative projects.
This is a well-established stock photo website that offers a huge collection of stock photos, illustrations, and vectors for commercial and personal use.
This website provides a vast collection of free vectors, stock photos, and PSD files for commercial use.
This website is a leading provider of stock photos and videos, offering a large collection of high-quality content for commercial and editorial use.
This is a well-known stock photo website that offers a vast collection of stock photos, vectors, and illustrations for commercial use.
This website provides free, high-quality stock photos for creative professionals, as well as photographers, who are looking to showcase their work.
This website offers a huge collection of free stock photos, videos, and music tracks for personal and commercial use.
This website offers a vast collection of free stock photos, vectors, and illustrations for personal and commercial use.
This website provides a curated collection of free, high-quality stock photos for creative projects, without any copyright restrictions.
This website offers a unique collection of high-quality, royalty-free stock photos and videos for commercial use.
This website provides a collection of free stock photos, vectors, and tutorials for photographers and designers.
This website offers a vast collection of high-quality, royalty-free stock photos for personal and commercial use.
This website offers a collection of free vectors, graphics, and illustrations for commercial use.
Please remember stock photography is no replacement for the authenticity of using real professional photos of your business, products and staff.