The world of online media presents many outlets and opportunities for us to grab whatever we need to off the internet. Facts, statistics, articles, and of course, images. Readily available, with just the click of a trackpad.

It seems only natural that when we’ve completed a blog post, article, or newsletter we can just Google an applicable image to set as a photo for whatever project we’re working on. After all, it’s there – right on Google, no watermark – why not use it for our featured image?

This is one of the most common misconceptions (and potentially damaging) in online media and social media. Photo/video powerhouses like AP Images, Getty Images, and Shutterstock are cracking down on situations like this with time-consuming lawsuits and hefty fines starting at a minimum of $8,000.

This can all be avoided with online media image tips:

1) Use Websites Dedicated to Royalty Free Images

 

Finding and utilizing royalty free images is easier than you may think. There are a number of trusted websites dedicated to providing royalty-free images. There are also creative collaboratives that allow freelance photographers to submit their work for use, entirely free to you. They may ask for a link back or caption noting the source, but that saves you money and running the risk of using an image that could get you fined.

For royalty free images, check out sites like Every Stock Photo, Death to the Stock Photo, and Morgue File.

2) Never Forget to Source Your Images

When you use a royalty-free website as mentioned above, be kind and give due credit back to the source (unless they say otherwise). This can be done by including the note in the alt caption (You can find out how to do that here) or under the caption itself.


3) Purchase credit packages to own rights to photos.

It’s possible that you’ll want one image for a post but may need, say, three or four for the next post. Websites such as iStock and Dollar Photo Club offer credit packages were a certain amount of credits allow you to purchase a set number of photos or videos depending on the size, topic, or quality.

Be sure to discuss photos and royalty free images when giving guidance and instruction on a project with your Virtual Assistant. It’s important to set up these guidelines prior to working on a project as it will save you time, money, and allow you to utilize the above resources while avoiding breaking the rules of online media and imagery.