We’ve all done it: searched Google for an image to use for a presentation or a social media background. It’s so easy to find the perfect photo when you use this method!
But this is often illegal and you (and your business!!) can get into big trouble if you partake in this activity.
If you’re a business owner, it’s especially important to remember that you should NOT use images that you find on the internet, without permission from the photographer or digital artist. I’ve heard many stories of people who were sued or given cease and desist orders from the owners of images.
You have a lot to lose if you’re not sourcing your photos correctly!!
The 3 best ways to acquire photos for your business:
1) create the photos yourself
2) purchase them using a stock photography site
3) use a combination of custom and stock photos
Below are the ins and outs of these options. My intention is to make sure you always have the BEST and LEGAL photos to use when you are marketing yourself. So please take this advice the next time you need to use images in your marketing:
Option 1: Create your own photo library.
This is what I do for my clients, so it’s no surprise that this is my #1 suggestion!
Having a custom set of photos that are spot-on for your brand is the best way to ensure you’re staying consistent with your visuals. You can work with a professional photographer, or you can create these on your own.
The benefit of this option is that NOBODY else will have these photos in their marketing or social media. These are your custom, proprietary photos!
During a personal branding photoshoot, in addition to photos of you, I create detail photos using your props. I capture close-ups of your hands or the tools you use in your business. I make sure I am getting plenty of supplemental images that compliment your branding photos.
One of my favorite tactics is to style photos using laptops, tablets and phones so you can add screenshots to these later. You can do this on your own – just make sure you’re photographing the screen so it’s perfectly straight, so you can add photos to the blank screen later. (Don’t photograph these devices at an angle, unless you know how to use Photoshoot to distort the screenshot to match the perspective of the tilted screen)
A big positive of using original images on your website and blog, is that it can help your SEO rankings. Google and other search engines love original content, and their algorithm elves know if you’re using repurposed images (even if you change the file name). Search engines will reward original content and rank your site higher if you use your own images.
Option 2: Use stock photography
Stock photography is a library of pre-existing photos that you can purchase and use in your marketing.
The biggest benefit of stock photography is that these photos are already there, waiting for you to use. With the click of a button, you can download these photos to your computer.
If you’re using a graphic design service like Canva.com, these sites come with free and for-purchase stock images that are available for you to use in your graphic designs.
The biggest downfall of stock photography is that it’s often overused.
Also, let’s be honest: stock photography can often be a bit cheesy.
Confession time: I have to admit that I used to create this cheesy stock photography. When I first started photographing people 20 years ago, I sold my photos on stock photography sites. The best selling photos were always the most cliche images in my portfolio: “ethnically diverse business team” and “healthy woman eating an apple” were my best sellers … these photos sold every week. And I would see them on billboards, in different countries, in magazines.
Option 3: use a combination of your own photos + stock photos
Don’t be afraid to use a mix of your custom photos and stock photography that compliments your brand style.
If you’re using this option, make sure the style and “vibe” of the photos are consistent. You don’t want to mix bright, colorful photos with moody black and white images, for example. Keep your visuals consistent so you remain close to your brand vision.
Want to learn more about creating custom, on-brand photos for your business? Contact me to schedule a consultation!