I was reading an article on the pitfalls of using stock photography recently. Basically a Chicago based online pet business bought a stock photo of a pet to use on their website only to discover:
I bought a stock photo of a dog for my website and it has become our unofficial mascot. Recently, I discovered that another pet site is using the same photo. Can I stop the site from using it?
Unfortunately unless you have an exclusive license or have contracted a photographer to take the photo for you you have no exclusivity to it and anyone can use it. And therein lies the rub. What may seem like a cheap option (stock photos can be bought from as little as $1) can end up being an expensive lesson.
More and more businesses, including large corporates, are going down the stock photography path and are being embarrassed by finding images they’ve used in campaigns being used by competitors, making it difficult for consumers to tell brands apart.
When using photographs in your website or marketing materials it often pays to spend a little money and have them done by a professional photographer. Not only will they look better, you are guaranteed that all the hard work you’ve spent in building and promoting your brand can’t be undone by a competitor simply buying the same image/s and muddying the water.
Uniqueness is important in business – don’t drop the ball by making it easy for others to copy you.