Unfortunately, not everyone is a professional photographer. So many of us get pictures from the internet to enhance our content. As a massage therapist, you might want to use photos or graphics in your business to make it look polished. Whether it’s for brochures, a newsletter, social media posts, or your website, having great visuals helps to enhance your customer’s experience.
But how do you know if you’re allowed to use a photo? Is it wrong to just take pictures off of the internet to reuse for your business?
Read on to discover how to make sure that the photos that you use will never get you in any trouble.
Pay Attention to Copyright Protection
Before you head over to the internet and grab several images to use on your site, it’s crucial to be aware of the following:
Copyright protections apply to pretty much all photography and graphics that you see around the web.
Unless that photo belongs to you, you should first assume that copyright protects it as someone’s property. Most photographers wouldn’t be happy if people could steal their art without permission. So besides being illegal, it’s not polite to take work that’s not yours (even if you link where it came from) unless it’s free.
If you post someone else’s photo that has copyright protection, you could face thousands of dollars in legal fees- even if you immediately take the image down from your website or newsletter! So you want to be cautious when searching for beautiful photos to make your business stand out.
That said, how can you be certain whether or not an image is safe to use? Here are 4 tips on how to legally use pictures for your massage therapy business:
1. Create Your Own Images
There are several resources online that can teach you how to take stunning pictures. So a great option is just to create your own tasteful images and edit them to your liking. You don’t need to purchase a fancy camera to do this either. Most of us have smartphones that already have fantastic cameras.
Photography isn’t everyone’s strong suit, but, luckily, taking pictures yourself isn’t the only way to create your own images. If photography’s not for you, you could trade with or hire a photographer. Draw up a contract with that photographer to make sure you can use the images that they take for you.
Additionally, if you decide to use a model for your photos, set up a contract with them as well. You’ll need the model’s permission to use their likeness when you post or print these pictures for your business.
2. Look For “Creative Commons” Photos
Sometimes, photographers allow universal usage of their photos by marking some of their images as “creative commons”. Luckily, there are many websites where you can access these types of pictures and use them without any issues.
(If you do decide to go this route, it’s always polite to credit the photographer- even if the rules of the site state that you don’t have to.)
And if you’re not sure whether or not you’re on a site with creative commons photos, do additional research on the website. This way, you can make sure that you’re never crossing any legal boundaries.
3. Pay For Stock Images
Unlike creative commons photos, stock images aren’t free. When you purchase stock images, you’re paying for the license to use that image. Some creative commons sites even suggest paid stock images at the very bottom of the page when they don’t have what you’re looking for.
Although this is more costly than using free images, there tends to be a lot more to choose from when you go this route. Some stock photographers even specialize in massage therapy and spa photos!
4. Use Intelligent Software
Another great way to access photos that are safe to put in your marketing is by using intelligent software. You can use these types of software to find, upload, edit, and design images so that they’re more in line with what you need.
Canva is our favorite graphic design software for creating material- without having to worry whether we can use their visuals! Designing on this website is free. But you can also upgrade to a paid Canva Pro account if you’d like access to more photos, graphics, and text options. They also offer premium photos that you can purchase separately.
Now that you know all the best tips to make sure your photo usage is legal, it’s time to make your business shine!
If you head over to Canva with our affiliate link, we may make a small commission at no additional cost to you.