Do you have the content for a web page but it’s looking a little wordy? You probably need some visuals to kick things up a little bit. First, you will need to know what kind of images you can use.

If you are using an image you found on the web, you are stealing.

Do you know the rules behind using images and graphics from the web? How about the differences between a copyrighted photo and one under a Creative Commons license? The information applies to take an image you find online and posting on social media, your website, or any other marketing materials.

Images 101 – Copyrights and Creative Commons

Okay, so you have content for a new web page. You know what you want to write about. How do you jazz it up and make it look interesting? By using graphics, of course. You have two options: use your own images or use stock images. If you choose to use stock, there are thousands of images out there on the web. With so many, how do you pick through them all to find the right ones?

First thing: Don’t just do a Google image search and pick the first photo that shows up. Believe it or not, there are rules and regulations for picking and finding photos for your marketing needs. Most of the photos on a Google image search are copyrighted by somebody, most likely the photographer and/or company who commissioned that photograph. They usually don’t allow people to just take the photo and use it at free will. Taking the image you just found and posting it on your website without the permission of the copyright holder would be illegal, and that’s not something any of us wants to deal with.

Okay, so if that’s out of the question…now what?

Well, you have a few options so don’t worry. Websites like FlickriStock and Shutterstock are just a few of many stock photography sites. Flickr is probably one of the biggest photo libraries on the web. They put photos into two categories: Copyrighted or under a Creative Commons license. Under Creative Commons, there are several different license categories. Some allow a bit more freedom to customise the image while others are strict and can only be used to enhance your project. iStock and Shutterstock are other options. They charge users royalties in order to use an image. The amount charged depends on the size of the image you need.  Every stock photography site is different. If you do a simple web search for them, you’ll find plenty of sites that can help you out. Creative Commons also has a page that can help you search different sites for images. Browse around until you find one that fits your needs. Just make sure you read and follow their rules.

Or, to avoid dealing with copyrights and Creative Commons, you can always use your own photographs or graphics. Since you are the creator, you hold the rights and can use them as you please.

Now that you’re browsing around looking for images, what is going to help make your post look more interesting?
Here are 5 quick tips on how to implement images into your web page:

  1. Keep it relevant to what you are writing about.
    If you have an image that has nothing to do with your page it could confuse a reader. It shouldn’t be a puzzle for them to piece together and you don’t want them to abandon your site because of that.
  2. Playoff your page.
    Read through your content, is there a way you could playoff using some visual pieces?
  3. Use graphs and charts.
    For some people, the way to understand something is through visual learning. If you are trying to explain statistics, finances, etc. using graphs or charts can be a great way to visually explain something. People can get overwhelmed by numbers, variables, and trying to compare numbers in their head. So provide them with an easy way to understand it. It can help clear any confusion or misinterpretations that may happen.
  4. Personalise it.
    Let your customers get to know you better. Snap some photos at work, or of you participating in a community event. This is a great casual way to show the viewer what else you have been up to besides sitting behind your desk.
  5. Keep it simple.
    Just because you found 10 different great photos doesn’t mean they all have to go into your post. Pick out the couple that really helps get your point across. You want to have a good balance between words and information. The images should enhance the content, not take it over.
London web designer – Thomas Albohm - Resources