I once read where a blogger needed an image for her blog. So what did she do? She did a Google image search. She then used the image on her blog as if it were her own. You may think, “Oh, that’s not a big deal!” Well, it actually can be a pretty big deal if you use an image from a Google image search and portray it as your own. She later settled out of court and had to pay a hefty sum.
Besides the fact that you could be sued for using a copyrighted image, it is wrong. You are stealing an image that belongs to someone else. You certainly don’t want to put your brand’s reputation at risk over using a copyrighted image that doesn’t belong to you. So what do you do when you need an image for advertising, social media or to go along with your blog? Here are 3 things that you can do.
1. Take Your Own Photos
Sounds simple enough, right? Maybe you are not a photographer. That’s okay. There are plenty of ways that you can get some great photos. First of all, look for good natural lighting. Avoid fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lights are especially bad for portraits of people. They can wreak havoc on skin tones, oftentimes giving skin a greenish tint! Fluorescent lights aren’t typically good for product photos either. They can skew those colors as well and the last thing you want is an inaccurate representation of the product you work so hard to create!
Secondly, minimize distractions. Clear the clutter out of the background. You want the focus to be on the person or product that you are shooting, not the mess in the background. Lastly, use the rule of thirds. Take the photo in such as way that the person or object is off center. When the subject is centered, there is usually just one point of interest. By placing your subject off center, you can create multiple points of interest. This highlights secondary points of interest and will often make a photo more interesting. Using the rule of thirds is a great way to tell a story with your photo.
These three simple tips are a good start to taking your own photos in line with your brand. However, some rules are made to be broken and as you shoot more and more photos you will become more confident in your choice of sticking with or breaking the rules. Later we’ll dive deeper into even more ways you can take better photos for your brand!
2. Use Stock Photos
There are some great stock photo sites out there that are very affordable and some that are even free. These sites are full of photography in which the photographer that took the picture has given the site permission to use their images and a lot of times they are compensated for the use of their images. If you are using a reputable stock photography site, the risk you are taking when you use a purchased (or free) image is minimal. If you are in doubt on whether you can use a photo a certain way or if the photographer would like credit (or to be mentioned) when the photo is used, simply read their guidelines to make sure you are using the photo in a way that is permissible.
Please DO NOT use a stock photo with the watermark still on it. That means you are stealing the image and any business person worth their salt would not do that. Plus it just doesn’t look good as it takes away from your design/image and it is not a way that you want your brand represented.
3. Hire A Professional Photographer
You can have photos taken that are perfectly in line with your branding. You don’t have to find a stock photo and hope that you can make it work for your brand. Not only can photos taken by a professional match your brand, but they can be tailored to meet your needs for upcoming design work that will need to be done.
Even if you don’t sell products, hiring a professional photographer could still be a benefit to you. A professional head shot can help you stand out from the crowd. The last thing you need is a beautiful brand identity, but have a terrible snapshot taken by one of your coworkers under fluorescent lighting that does not capture you at your best. A professional will know what to do to make you look your best. They will capture the best angle in the best lighting and will help pose you in a flattering, but natural way. You want your clients to recognize you in person if they see your photo first!
We hope that these three ways to obtain amazing images for your brand will help take your brand identity to the next level! If you have used images from a Google search before as your own, stop immediately. Take down any photos that don’t belong to you or that you haven’t purchased or made an agreement with a photographer to use. It is not worth the financial risk or the risk of damaging your brand’s reputation. If you are unsure what images for you brand should even look like, go here to get some inspiration!