Using images to boost your business

Vintage open sign on old wooden door
Andy Fletcher / Alamy Stock Photo

Make your business stand out and save money by using imagery to connect with your audience.

Using images in your marketing materials, on your company website and on your social media pages can help to improve audience engagement. This study from SocialBakers shows that 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook are images! But if you’re new to using images there are a few important things you need to know before you buy including information on image licenses, file sizes and model and property releases. Using images without the right license and permissions could result in costly legal issues down the line.

To help you avoid the most common issues we have answered 5 of the most common questions from our business customers…

1. Why do I need to buy an image license?

When you’re using an image that is copyrighted, it’s a legal requirement that you license the image. Buying an image license from a stock photo library like Alamy simply means that you are buying the rights to use that image in your projects.

It’s really important to make sure you buy the right license, the license you need will depend on how you are going to use the image. Without the correct image license you could find yourself in legal trouble

To find out more, check out our blog on why buying an image license is important.

2. What does rights managed (RM) mean?

Rights Managed (RM) is a type of image license. If you buy an RM license you will need to specify exactly how you are going to use an image including how, when, where and for how long you’ll use the image for, and you will pay for the exact usage.

On Alamy there are also popular pricing packages available  that cover some of the most common ways images are used, find out more in our blog ‘choosing the right pricing package on Alamy’.

3. What does royalty free (RF) mean?

Royalty free (RF) is another license type. If you buy an RF license you choose the size of image you need for your project and pay a one-off price.

An RF license is perfect if you want to use an image across multiple projects as you can use the image as many times as you like, for as long as you like. It’s also a good option if you don’t know how long your project is going to last as you buy the image license once and can use it for as long as you need to. .

4. How do I know what size image I need?

The size of the image you need will vary from project to project, but there are industry guidelines you can follow to help you choose the right size image for your needs.

The image size you need will depend on how you’re using it.

Some handy things to remember:

  • Choosing an image that’s too small could make the image appear pixelated and look a bit blurry, which doesn’t look professional
  • Trying to increase the size of an image will negatively impact the quality and appearance of an image and make it pixelated
  • Using an image that’s too big on your website, email campaigns or social media channels could result in long page-load times, and this could put off your visitors

On Alamy, if you buy a rights-managed license or one of our popular price packages you’ll always get the largest file size available, so you can easily resize the image to suit your project without affecting the image quality.

When you buy a royalty-free image, it’s important to make sure you choose an image that’s big enough for project. Take a look at our great file sizes infographic to help you pick the right file size.

5. What is a model or property release?

Model and property releases are signed documents which ensure that the people or property (works of art, trademarks, brands or buildings) featured in an image or clip are safe to use. To use an image you just need to know that a release has been signed, you don’t need an actual copy of the release.

Not all images will need a release, but if there are recognisable people or property in an image, then a release will need to have been signed for you to use the image in your commercial projects. If you are planning to use an image editorially then you won’t need a release.

Here’s a quick overview of what we mean by ‘commercial’ and ‘editorial’ uses:

Commercial use – when an image or clip is used to sell a product, promote something or raise money for a cause. This includes use in advertising, marketing, promotion, packaging, publication covers, advertorials and consumer or merchandising products.

Editorial use – when an image or clip is used to illustrate a newsworthy article, a critique or an educational text.

You can easily find out if an image has any releases by checking the image page on Alamy to see if there is a ‘yes’ next to the relevant release option. In this example, this image contains recognisable people and there is a ‘yes’ next to ‘model release’:

Model and property releases

For more help with model and property releases, check out our great infographic.

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