The Legal Lowdown on Photo Usage

I say it time and time again: our society is becoming increasingly visual. In advertising, images/visuals have a higher conversion rate than plain text. It is extremely convenient to have millions of photos at our fingertips, but did you know that you could be breaking the law by taking and using any old image from your Google search results?

You must always check the license of a photo before you use it in your small business advertising, social media, blog post, etc. as to not infringe on copyrights.

Creative Commons Zero: You can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or website offering them.

Creative Commons Public Domain: These photos are free for use by anyone for any purpose without restriction under copyright law. Public domain is the purest form of open/free, since no one owns or controls the material in any way.

Helpful Tip: Sites that offer images at a price often protect those images with a watermark or semi-transparent X through the image. Do not use watermarked images. Not only does it look unprofessional, but you are actually stealing the image without paying for it.

Free Stock Photo Sources

I’ve taken some of the legwork out of it!
Here are 12 sites with free stock photos free for commercial and personal use:

At the time this blog post was published, the above list offered free stock photography for personal and commercial use. Please do your research to make sure that is still the case when you decide to use these in your small business marketing.

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