Stock Images And Copyright – What You Need To Know

stock-imagesIf your real estate agency had one easy way to increase your blog & social media views, they’d probably be doing it, surely? Well, recent research has just uncovered that inserting images into your posts can do this to perfection.

There are, however, a whole load of scary legalities surrounding using images, such as the original owner trying to sue you for usage without permission. This article is going to teach you how you can use stock photos to enhance your posts, 100% risk-free.

What is image copyright?

Copyright is a legal process that protects creative works from being used without permission. Although good for those in creative industries, it can make things slightly difficult when sourcing images for your website and social media.

There are slight differences from country to country, but image copyright prevents anyone except the copyright holder from:

  • Reproducing their work
  • Distributing their work to the public
  • Displaying the work publicly

In short, if an artist took a photo or created an image, they own the copyright. This is the case even if they never registered their work with a formal copyright body.

Using someone else’s image

In the simplest form, you can use someone else’s image after they give you personal permission. This doesn’t mean you need to speak with the photographer before every time you use their image.

Sadly, this can prove costly. If you’re working with a small budget, however, there are some inexpensive mediums you can use to source your perfect image. As always, though, which images will work depends on your audience and the channels you’ll be using.

Consider the platform you’re using

It’s the same with any marketing effort – you need to tweak your content to the platform you’re posting on. One easy way to make sure you’re doing it right is by asking the following questions:

  • What sorts of images are popular on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?
  • How are other real estate agencies using stock photos on these channels?
  • How do they address copyright issues?
  • Are they tweaking or changing the photos at all?

When using images on social media, these are the primary points that you need to be considering.

Source free images from Creative Commons Zero

Once you’ve decided on the platforms you want to be sharing images on and what your audience wants, it’s time to find your perfect picture. Before you head to Google and start searching away, however, you again need to consider the copyright issues that you could run into.

If you’re after images that are 100% free and have no copyright laws attached to them, the Creative Commons Zero license is what you should keep an eye out for. This license “enables scientists, educators, artists, and other creators and owners of copyright – or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance, and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.”

It’s an excellent and cost-effective option for obtaining great images without the cost and copyright implications typically associated with other stock libraries. For this reason, it’s well worth checking out.

Consider any symbolism or connections people may draw from the images

When creating blog content for your real estate agency, sourcing stock photos should be a primary focus. These images can then be used to enhance any similar posts you make on social media.

If you’re using both images in blog content and on social media, however, you should carefully consider whether the images are actually relevant to both types of post. Your real estate agency also needs to make sure that the images add value to the posts you’re making.

During this process, you need to place a heavy focus on the audience’s frame of mind. Some points you need to be thinking about include:

  • What sorts of images will command attention from your audience?
  • What sorts of images will drive clicks?
  • Are these images relevant?

Tweak and change your stock images

Your brand is unique – why shouldn’t you change your images to match? If you’re promoting your real estate agency as a specialist service, you should use your images to set yourselves aside from the competition.

This can be a difficult task if you’re working with free stock images and a strict budget, but creativity goes a very long way.

There are plenty of tools you can use to edit images and they don’t all have to be as complex and pricey as Adobe Photoshop. Prior to customising your stock images, however, make sure that they’re marked as ‘modifiable’ on the website you downloaded them. Once again, you can avoid this issue by using Creative Commons Zero images.

Once you’ve made sure that editing the images is permitted, you can customise until your heart’s content. Add your brand’s colours, logos and make that image yours.