In my last blog post, I shared that one of the mistakes I see non-tech savvy business owners make is using photos they don’t own for their website and even social media posts.
It may seem harmless but ask any photographer or designer, it is not cool (and not legal) to use someone else’s photos or graphics to promote your business. Grabbing a photo off of Google image search or someone else’s website is just asking for trouble.
If you use a photo or graphic that you don’t own on your website you are very likely to receive a DMCA takedown notice and an invoice for usage from an attorney. Chances are less likely that you will get caught sharing on social media but there is still a possibility.
Stock photos are not a substitute for including high-resolution images of your products, services, and staff. If you’re not a great photographer, hire someone to take professional headshots and photos of everything you sell (including services) as soon as you can afford it. Images are such a crucial part of your branding and they can be used over and over again for years.
Now sometimes you will need images to fill in the blanks on your website, blog posts or social media. This is where stock imagery comes into play.
Our company has a membership to BigStockPhoto.com where we can download a handful of images a day. This gives us more than enough images to use on our clients websites and our own social media posts. I will venture to say that most small businesses do not need to go as far as to have a monthly stock photo membership. Fortunately, there are some great resources for free and low-cost stock photos and graphics. Always be sure to check the license if commercial use is allowed and to see if you need to credit the creator. As of the time of this posting, the free resources we have shared are free for commercial use with no attribution required.
Now there are plenty more to choose from but we’ve weeded out the sketchy websites and the ones filled with advertisements. These are our tried and true resources we use personally.