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Are you using Copyrighted photos on your website?

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words -and it’s true. This is why we make all the necessary attempts to ensure a picture is the best representation of us. Part of a good website is high-quality images that best describe your products and services. In most cases, we might not know where to get them or might just decide to google it!
Are images on google free?
This might come as a surprise because a majority of google images are copyrighted. That’s right! Google doesn’t own them.
“But it’s on the internet, if I can google it I can use it right?” You’ll protest!
What are some of the repercussions for copyright images?
Copyright infringement can cost you a huge fine if the image owner decides to take legal action. Some owners might ask you to remove the images or give credit but some might sue you altogether without a warning. In the current age of connectivity, photography &creative design is a respected profession and we have more people aware of their rights as content owners. The laws of copyright and plagiarism are now highly regarded.
If you don’t get caught, there are other repercussions. Due to the wide reach of information via social media and websites, users might have come across the same image you have used on other different platforms and are very keen to note. Moreover, Google features enable users to search where else the photo has been used and at times give more details about the photo e.g. what camera was used.
I would not want to dwell on another person’s misery, but it happened not long ago to a  senior news anchor, who posted copyrighted shoes as her own new designs, only to be blasted by users and get dragged into a name & shame drama on Instagram and Twitter. This can bring down any company’s reputation. The last thing you need especially when selling products online is to be flagged fake!
What about stock images?
I do use stock images. They are available and a good bunch of them are free(no copyright restrictions) for commercial use at no cost. When starting out, you can consider the Free ones that are not paid for. Here is what I mean…
a) There are ‘free’ images for commercial use that are watermarked and the only way to remove the watermark is by buying from the selling companies. Let’s tag them ‘commercial’ since you have to purchase for use.
b) There are free, images for commercial use that are not watermarked, don’t require attribution, just free! Let’s tag them ‘FREE’
Moving forward, the FREE ones could work in the beginning, as you might not incur an added cost. However, the disadvantages are; they get to be used by so many people online and you get to a point where you need more refined or specific images and maybe the perfect image is under the commercial category. If you can afford it, go for the perfect image, even if it means purchasing the image. This will go a long way in making your business uniquely identifiable.
What if I can get my own images?
This is always the better option. You can use this checklist to help you get great catchy images for your website.
1. Ensure you have a photographer. If you can do it yourself, it’s an added advantage.
2. Ensure there is a good HD camera available
3. Take full HD images and observe the rule of thirds to get perfect shots
4. Be creative with your background choices
5. Talk to your website developer for guidance on the kind of images that would do well with your website.
There is more to this conversation than the basic knowledge I have just shared. Get in touch with our team for any questions you might have.
PS: If you are yet to get yourself a website, see some amazing hosting plans that come with over 300 FREE amazing templates for use here.

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