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    5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Using Online Images

    Jay's Cake WorldImagine that you walk in a bakery and they offer you a taste of a cake. “Mmmm, so yummy,” you think. “I will take a piece when the baker is not looking and share this cake around with people on the street for free, because I love the cake and I’m sure now all the people will come to the bakery to buy it.”

    Now I will ask - will they? And how does this compare to online images. More specifically sharing them around without proper rights? Oh wait – it does not actually compare – here with the cake, the benefit goes to the people on the street whereas if you share intellectual property you get the biggest piece, the biggest attention.

    When we do this with other people’s photos, creation, images – you are more than likely to receive the biggest benefits of using the image. Whether you do so in your blog or social media, it’s connected to what YOU want to say or display, it is either you on the photo or you connect the artwork to your blog, thoughts and use it to grab attention to YOU.

    (On the image: Jays Cake World)

    So after reading the above, you might ask yourself the first question

    1. Should I refrain from using images?

    Picture is worth a thousand words. It is worth more than that – it’s worth is counted in likes, shares, reposts, retweets, tags and pins, conversion, the visibility and likability of the sharer. How to better catch the eye of the viewer and convey our message in a quick and compact way? 90% of what we perceive is taken in by our eyes, we are mostly visual creatures. So when posting on social media, blogs or just on your website, you should definitely use images to go with your story.

    The next question is bit of jump, but bear with me:

    2. Do I value time?

    People value time.  I have my business so I could have more time to do what I love. But do you value someone else’s time? Or is it just your own?

    Lot of people seem to think that intellectual property does not have value, because the creator hasn’t’ spent any money on creating the image, taking the photo, composing the artwork, it is JUST TIME. They haven’t built anything you can touch, nor have they spent money on buying the stock. This is the most controversial thought I have ever heard – we value time more than things, yet we don’t value visual things created only by time, not physical items.

    If you value your time, you don’t spend it by taking the images or creating the images yourself (unless you are good at it and like me really enjoy it). You spend your time on what you are good at and wish to do.

    Doing it yourself, however, is one way of getting around the intellectual property and copyright laws. There are several free options around to create your own collages – the most popular of which is Canva. You can also invest into camera, some photography lessons and take your own photos. If your business is online shop, it might pay off – rather than hiring someone each time you get a new product to your shop, you are now able to take the image yourself.
    The question “do you value your time?” remains.

    3. Did you check for copyright?

    You have decided, you don’t want to create your own images. You would rather use something that already exists. There are so many images online and mostly they are really accessible. Who hasn’t used Google images to find something they can use? Well, to simply download and reuse an image from Google is actually copyright infringement.

    But here we have one awesome tool to help us - Google image search has a wonderful extra search tool, called Usage rights. Make sure you choose the appropriate licence when searching images on Google and reusing them for your own purpose.

    Taking another person's image or graphic and giving them a "shout out," linkback, or any other type of attribution does not negate copyright infringement ...... Copyright law gives the copyright holder the right to decide where their work is published and maybe they don't want their work on your site, in your book, included in your newsletter or distributed to your social media network. It's not for us to question why they wouldn't want "exposure."

    GoogleSearchPeopleThe common saying “Ask and you shall receive” may apply here. Ask the author, ask the designer, the photographer – they might be happy for you to share their images. Without asking though, using other persons image simply on the assumption they are OK with it, is stealing their work.

    4. Is it a good quality image?

    Now it is time to think how the image will affect your article, advert, post etc. We add images to our posts to grab more attention, so we want this attention to be positive and we want to be remembered by our viewers.

    Funny portraits 1

    A good quality image speaks to the viewers’ subconscious of professionalism, skills and clarity in what you do and the message you wish to convey. Low resolution, blurry and out of focus image will definitely negate your efforts in promoting yourself.

    This should take you back to the idea suggested in the end of point 2 – doing it yourself. Besides time you should also question, if the image you create will achieve the same, as an image created by a professional.

    5. Is the image relevant? Does it capture attention?

    People judge you, your post or your advert in 3-9 seconds. The image needs to be catchy and relay the message you wish to get out there. Don't be afraid to use something quirky or controversial. If it raises conversation it's good – it means you are getting noticed.
    Use something creative that might not say straight away everything about the article and leave some mystery.

    Good way to capture your audience is to create another post with a question which image do they like, that also creates a connection with your upcoming article and raises interest.

    Hope these 5 tips have helped you with your visual journey in the internet image maze and you can now navigate to get to your destination.

    As a photographer – I suggest to start creating your own image bank:

    – go to a photo session, talk about your goals and plans with the photographer and let them help you create images to use
    - talk to a graphic designer and have some basic images designed for your business that you can use to play around with in Canva
    - of course, you can always hire someone to manage it for you, but make sure they are aware of the copyright laws


    Author: I call the ShotsPille Repnau (Qrabat)  - “ I call the shots”

    “Let me help you create images that speak for you in a positive way connecting you to your ideal customer”

    Pille Repnau


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