What Images Can I Use on My Website for Free?

Oct 24, 2022 | Web design

To make your OKC web design as engaging and visually appealing as possible, it is important to use the right images. While we always recommend using professional photos featuring your own business and team, there may be times when you have to go online to source photos for your website. Remember that just because a photo is free to view online, that does not make it free for you to use. This includes images that you find on social media and in search engine results.

Before you put any new images on your website, or even on other digital platforms like your social media or newsletters, it is essential to determine if you can legally use them. Because they are a product of a photographer’s creativity, Oklahoma photography is intellectual property. The image’s creator is also its copyright owner, giving them the legal right to determine how the photographs are reproduced, altered, and distributed.

Oklahoma photography

Before you share an image on your OKC web design or anywhere else online, you need to understand the photo type and its usage rights. We also recommend learning a little bit about image licensing. Most photos you find online will fit into one of four categories: rights-managed, royalty-free, common free license, or public domain.


Understanding the Types of Oklahoma Photography.

Please note that the information we share regarding Oklahoma photography rights is not legal advice. This information is intended to share general information that can help you decide what content is best to share online (whether on your website, digital newsletters, or social media accounts). To determine whether you have the right to use an image, it is important to conduct research and, if necessary, obtain advice from your attorney.


Rights-Managed Photos

If a photograph is “rights-managed” or “rights-protected,” you must purchase it under a copyright license to use it. Depending on the specific image and where you buy it from, the photo may be used once or for a restricted amount of time. Often, these images must be used for a specific purpose; for example, an image listed as “editorial use only” can be put in a newspaper, but not on your website’s homepage.

Before purchasing a rights-managed photo, it is essential to carefully review the purchase agreement so you can use the image for your intended purpose. Additionally, these images can be expensive, so it is best to be entirely sure about them before buying any.


Royalty-Free Images

Similar to rights-managed images, you must purchase royalty-free photos to use them. However, these photos involve a one-time fee that covers multiple uses without additional charges. Before purchasing royalty-free photographs to use on your OKC web design or any other digital platform, carefully review the licensing agreement so you fully understand the allowed usage and restrictions.


Common Free License Photos

If a photograph is a “common free license,” that image is protected by copyright, but you are generally free to use it. There are still some restrictions regarding when, where, and how you can use common free license photos. Not all of these images are allowed for commercial use, and the specific license type determines how you can use the photo:

  • Attribution License: you can distribute, alter, and add to the work as long as you credit the original creator.
  • Attribute-ShareAlike License: you can distribute, alter, and add to the work if you credit the original creator and license the new image under identical terms.
  • Attribute-ShareAlike No Derivatives License: you can distribute the work as long as it remains unchanged and you credit the original creator.


Public Domain Images

Images in the public domain are not protected by copyright, have no usage limitations, and do not involve fees. If a photo is produced by a government or government agency, it is in the public domain. This group also includes photographs that are over 100 years old. Newer images may also enter the public domain if:

  • The work never had a copyright.
  • The copyright has expired.
  • The copyright owner waived their rights.

Because the copyrights either expired or never existed, the photos can likely be used for almost all personal and commercial purposes, including websites, but be sure to confirm the status of all images you wish to use before using them.


Professional Photography for Your OKC Web Design.

Our team knows the power that good images have. Because of this, each of our OKC web design projects includes a commercial photoshoot to create unique images that are perfect for your website, social media, and more. In addition to ensuring you have the right to use the photos, our photoshoot allows us to represent your brand authentically. In addition to these, any website images from other sources are carefully chosen to reflect your business naturally and have no risk of getting you in trouble with copyright owners.

Professional commercial photography is the perfect addition to any website design. Get in touch to learn more about our Oklahoma photography services.


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