Do I Need Photographs on My Website?
In answer to whether you need photographs on your website, as with many things, it depends. Should you add quality imagery to your site and make it integral to your pages? YES. Undoubtably YES.
Reasons you need quality images on your website.
You need to have photos and images on your website pages for many reasons. You need images to demonstrate what you are referencing and talking about. Images can tell a story and enhance a message without a user having to read a lot of text. Images make text on a page more appealing to read.
Can I Use Any Photographs on My Website?
If you want to add photographs to your website then you need to consider who took the photo and if it is legal to use it. Consider who owns the copyright.
How Do I Get Free Photographs for my Website?
If you mean completely free from a licence fee and a usage fee, as long as you abide by some rule such as not making it appear in a bad light or cause offence then here are some good options.
Copyright Licensing and Royalties for Website Photography
With photography and image licensing there are two fees that you need to be aware of.
- There is the cost of acquiring the image
- PLUS the cost of USING the image.
This second cost is called a royalty, a licence fee, or a usage fee. Often the second cost is not understood, but in general, use of photography and digital images are licensed with the actual ownership of the image remaining with the photographer. In the days before digital images, this was clear as it was the person who held the negatives, and thus the ability to make further prints. Photographers can of course sell unlimited use of a photograph, or can sell the copyright itself to a third party. In the past this would have meant handing over the negatives.
If you take a photograph you own the copyright of that photo. You may not own copyright on item featured in the image, but the image itself is protected by copyright and if anyone wanted to use your photo then they would need to get your permission. A large corporation using it for a billboard to advertise an international brand would realistically pay more for the use of that image, than someone putting it up in a local village hall on a noticeboard. Determining how much this usage is worth is open to negotiation.
Royalty free photography, which is the most common type of image in libraries such as istock photo and shutterstock are images and photographs that can be downloaded and used for any purpose for as long as the user wants. In the age of the internet, this makes sense as it is easy to take am exact copy without harming the original or needing to go back to the negatives. There is a fee for the download and rather than being ‘FREE’ there is a perpetual usage licence. They are ‘Royalty free’. There is no royalty payable on each use to the copyright owner.
Because of the huge rise in popularity of digital photography, and the rise in skill of amateur photographers and semi professional photographers, and many creators with a more relaxed attitude to their work, or wanting for their work to be seen, some photographers release their work under a licence that means it can be freely used. Sometimes the photographer will require a credit, other times, they are just happy to have their work being shared. If a photographer releases an image under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, then it is free to use without having to credit the original creator.
5 Free Stock Image Websites
These are free high resolution images arranged by collections. Browse
The Unsplash usage information page: https://unsplash.com/license
The Pixelbay usage information page: https://pixabay.com/en/blog/posts/public-domain-images-what-is-allowed-and-what-is-4/
Bringing together images from across the web this is a stylish resource and presented beautifully.
The Pexeles usage information page: https://www.pexels.com/photo-license/
The Negative Space usage information page: http://negativespace.co/license/
Gratisographyusage information page: http://gratisography.com/terms.html