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Photo Do's and Don'ts

Sep 24, 2009

You should never use a photo that you find on the internet without the express permission of the person who owns the copyright.  This is normally the photographer, but can be an organization or company.  Finding the copyright holder can be tough, especially since many photos on the internet are not properly attributed.  So how do you find that perfect picture to make the point you want in your advertising materials?  The time-honored way is to hire a professional photographer to take the picture.  This will probably give you the best results, but it can be pricey. 


Another method is to take the picture yourself.  If you take the picture, you generally own the rights to the image, although if you have a picture of a person, you should make sure that you have a signed model release.  A Google search for “model release form” will give you several examples of forms that you can use.


If all of this seems a bit much, you can always look to one of the stock photo services.  There are a bunch of them, but I am particularly fond of a few.  My personal favorite is Fotolia (  This site offers millions of images that are available for unlimited licensing for extremely low cost.  The site features a great search feature and photos can be purchased in different levels of resolution.  For a web site, you can use an “XS Standard” file, most of which just cost $1.00.   For larger images, the prices go up, but $4 - $5 per picture is standard.  Fotolia allows you to place images in a “lightbox” so that you can compare images against each other.  You also can download a free “comp” image that you can use for layouts and for review.  The site also features a selection of illustrations and cartoons that are available for similar fees.


Other excellent sites are:
iStockphoto (
Big Stock Photo (
Dreams Time (


There are literally dozens of similar sites and millions of photos available.  Photography can now be a stress-free part of your marketing materials design process. 


What are your experiences with using photography in your marketing materials?

Category: Marketing

Mike Lambert

Mike Lambert is the manager of the Wyoming Market Research Center in Laramie, WY.

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