What images can you use on your website?

By Julie Lewis | Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When choosing images for your website, you need to make sure you have the permission to use them.

Lets say you want to update some of the images on your website or you are currently building a new website but you are unsure whether the images you have can be used without infringing on anyone’s copyright. Below we give you some tips on how best to proceed with putting images on your website.

Create your own

If you have created your own images or taken photographs and they are not exact duplicates of an existing copyrighted work you are good to go.

Get someone to create them for you

If you commission a photographer or artist to create images for you then the agreement you have with them will encompass the way in which you can use the images. Often they will retain the copyright but give you the permissions you need to use the images. Alternatively, for a higher price you may be able to negotiate to buy out the work from them which will then give you full ownership and possession of the images.

Google Image Search

If you have decided to use existing images that you haven’t created or commissioned yourself then Google provides a very useful filter option for its Google Image searches. If you click on the search tools button you will be given a drop down option box for “Usage rights” this allows you to only display images with a certain type of permission attached. If you are looking for images for your business website you will need to select either Labeled for reuse or Labeled for reuse with modification. If you are a charitable or non-profit organisation you can also choose one of the non-commercial options.

Stock Photos

The good thing about using a photo from a stock photography website is that it will explicitly tell you how you are permitted to use the photograph.

A Google search for “free stock photography” gives a multitude of options for free photographs with most including the right to use them on websites and other online purposes. Information should be available with the photo advising how it can be used. If that information isn’t available you are best to move on from that image and only use ones with the usage information readily available.

Alternatively you could visit a site such as gettyimages.co.nz or photosport.co.nz. You will be paying for images from these sites and the cost will depend on the size, quality and how you want to use the photos. The flipside is that these photos will almost always be of a very high quality and are far less likely to be used on other websites.

If you have any further concerns you can always talk to your website developer or online marketing consultant.

Author: Julie Lewis

Julie is certified in Google Ads, Analytics and Mobile Optimisation, and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and a certificate in Front End Web Development. When she’s not squinting at a computer screen, Julie plays rugby for the Bay of Plenty Volcanix and fosters kittens through the Rotorua SPCA.

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