Photo Choices for Your Website and Copyright Laws

So you are designing a new website for your business and you really want it to pop! I don’t blame you. Website bling done right will give off the impression you want your clients to feel when they come to it.  You may want it very vibrant to excite people, you may want it calm to relax your visitors or you may just want it subtle and professional looking to give an impression of confidence in your abilities to help your clients.

So what about those great photos you want to use? You have some photos you have taken in the past that you want to use on the website or you may have purchased them. Great! First rule when it comes to your website photos (and content for that matter but that is another story)  is to make sure you are not stomping on anyone’s copyright. Just because there are a ton of images on Google images, it DOES NOT mean they are free for the taking.  Remember, Google scans websites and takes all the photos they can find on them and adds them to the collection. They really do all belong to someone! If you really do like and must have a photo on another website, you can email them and ask for permission to use it. Just make sure they also know the source for the photo they are using as well.

A client had this issue this past year. They had a photo on one of their websites for many years. Long before I even became their website design person. It was not a very large photo and it was placed on the front page of the website. They received a letter from a lawyer in Toronto that had proof that the photo belonged to someone else and were asking for a few thousand dollars for infringing their copyright. My client did not pick the photo initially, the previous website design person had chosen it. In the end, they did have to pay a large sum of money to resolve the legal issue.

If you are concerned about others using photos that you have on your website without permission, you can put a small watermark on them or you could put your company name or logo very small in a corner. These are the most obvious ways to discourage others from using your images.

So make sure you know where all your photos have come from on your website. If youR website design person is putting them on your website, ask what the source they used for the photos. It may be one of their own, they may have purchased it from a graphic site for you but know and write down this information. I highly recommend to my clients that if they need photos and want to be sure of their source then they should purchase them so they have proof that the photos are their own. I actually also put this information in my website terms for new clients so they are aware of this information before we begin working on the website.

I like to use a website called Dreamstime. (www.dreamstime.com)
However there are many other graphic sites you can also access to find just the right photos for your website.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to contact me.
Marie Mushing
People In Connection
Website Design and Support for over 18 years
905-387-1883

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