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An image is worth a thousand words – that’s why strategic communicators use a good mix of lingual and visual elements in their work.  PR Daily recently outlined common mistakes public relations and marketing pros are making that are landing them in legal trouble, as well as how to avoid these common pitfalls.

One common mistake is the use of photos.  Just because a photo is easy to download from a search engine, doesn’t mean you have permission to use it.  An easy way around this is to use free photo sites such as Unsplash, Pixabay or Pexels.  But even then, we recommend saving a screenshot to capture in real-time that the photo is indeed available for usage.  Sometimes, photographers will change their usage rights permissions.

But if you are an avid Google user like me, you can select an image through filtering your search by usage rights.  This allows you to search for images that you can reuse both commercially and non-commercially as well as with and without modification.  So, if you plan on using a photo from a search engine, simply search photos by “Labeled for reuse.” But again, we recommend a screenshot just cover your bases.

Don’t disregard licenses, permissions and trademark infringement.  It’s always a good idea to double check the photos you use for proper licensing by verifying with your photographers that they have photo release permission. Also, always check photos for any recognizable logos before using - even if the photo is free to use.

As a rule of thumb, you should always ask a photographer for permission before using their photo.  Even if the person is a social media influencer, you likely won’t have permission to use that photo.

Searching through stock photos for your brand can get frustrating, so we made a list of the best places to find stock photos that aren’t so stock photo-y.  What is your favorite place to find photos?

Marissa Baker
Marissa Baker
Native to Phoenix, Marissa has recently moved back to continue her career in communication. On the weekends you can find her in the first row at a concert, or exploring hiking trails.

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