Searching for good stock photos for your marketing materials and presentations is time-consuming. Of course, it might seem easy to pick a picture from a free stock photo website and add an image credit to your blog post. But, the article, How To Avoid A Lawsuit When Using Free Stock Photos, explains some significant image sourcing issues. I encourage you to read the article, but if you don’t have time, here is a synopsis.
Image Sourcing Issues
- Most free stock photo sites don’t allow people to use the images for commercial purposes. This includes your business blog, newsletter, and business-related presentations.
- Many amateur photographers don’t obtain permission to use people (model release) or private property (property release) in their photos.
- Free stock photo sites do not verify if the photographer obtained the model and property releases. Generally, they expect the end-user (that’s you!) to connect with the photographer and ask for proof.
- Some photos contain trademarked items and intellectual property. Legally a photographer cannot share an image if they do not own the rights to the “stuff” in the picture. It is best to avoid free photos with identifiable trademarks and intellectual property such as logos, signs, recognizable books, posters, and private property.
- Some accounts on free photo sites are not photographers at all. In fact, they are “curators.” Curators find images (free or not) around the internet and put them on free photo sites. Then they desperately hope you “buy them a coffee” for what you download. For example, I found the image above on Pixabay, posted by the user “Free-Photos,” which is a curator account. I found the same photo on pxhere, Wikimedia, and several different Flickr accounts. The original work is from Unsplash. Thus, I downloaded it from Unsplash and credited Dustin Lee.
How to Find Good Images
You can find free stock photo sites everywhere. And it is hard to know which are trustworthy and which aren’t. You might spend hours searching for the perfect free photo. But is that a good use of your time?
If you are someone who uses a lot of photos and graphics, check out Rawpixel, iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, FriendlyStock, and Adobe Stock. These sites have vast libraries of photos, graphics, videos, and audio tracks. Prices can be as low as a few dollars each, and members often get monthly freebies! Save time and reduce image sourcing issues by opening an account at one (or more) of these sites.
Do you have questions? Contact me for more info on how we can work together to ensure you have outstanding, low-cost images.
NOTE: This post is not meant to provide legal advice. Please consult your attorney if you need further clarification.