Email marketing, e-newsletters and websites eat images. Sourcing them from image libraries can be expensive and the requirements of Creative Commons might not suit everyone. If only there was a way of obtaining a steady source of copyright free images.
We’ve recently given an overview of the legal side of copyright with regards pictures, and it should have left you feeling you will have to read the conditions very carefully. There are, however, simple and cheap methods of sidestepping copyright restrictions.
1/ Take photographs yourself
We all have cameras. Pads and phones often have ones fitted which can provide images of a quality suitable for email marketing, and even a cheap digital single lens reflex will be give images far in excess of most requirements. Scenes of happy people enjoying your products, from holidays to courses, are just the sort of things that are easy to set up.
You probably have all the equipment you need; the only additional requirement is experience.
2/ Source them via your workforce
Have a competition for your staff. Award a prize for the best according to you or some outside agent and pay an amount for any other image you use.
As a method, it has a number of advantages. For instance, there are no time constraints. You could leave the competition running all the time, with prizes given periodically. It’s a way for your staff to contribute. Further, they will see their images on the website, or your latest email marketing campaign.
A downside is that it needs careful management to ensure it is not divisive.
3/ Use those on your email marketing lists
The potential here is for lots and lots of images. Merely sorting through them will take a lot of time and this should be taken into consideration. Perhaps starting with a segmented email marketing list is the most sensible option.
Everyone loves a competition and so will you.
There are caveats though.
With staff and subscriber sourced images you can dictate the conditions, the most vital one being what you will use the images for. It is tempting to demand total copyright control, being able to use the image for whatever you want forever. How tempting is that?
It is a temptation that needs careful consideration. You must be fair to your staff and subscribers. If the prize is valuable enough then it’s a maybe, but if you are throwing that sort of money at your problem then it might be cheaper to go via libraries.
Don’t, for instance, use an image you’ve gained via competitions for your heading or logo without additional payment. That is unlikely to be allowed from library-sourced images under their basic copyright restrictions and Creative Commons normally bans it.
Your intended use of the winning images must be made clear at the start. Those that failed to win might well include something that is just right. A small monetary reward for you staff might be enough. For those on your email marketing lists, a credit note might be better.
Be clear in your rules. Be fair in your execution.