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When you own a small business you are likely to want to save as much money as you can when it comes to running that business.

One area that many businesses decide to cut corners is with their website and in particular the images that they use. After all, how much trouble can you get in if you take an image from Google images?
Here at Cude Design we know the importance in correctly sourcing or purchasing images for your website, so with this in mind we have put together our guide to the world of images and how you can not only stay on the right side of the law but also do so cost-effectively too.



Copyright is legal protection that is applied to something as soon as it is created. If you take a photograph, then you own the copyright to it. There is no need to register this ownership or add any legal notification to the image. It is down to you what you do with it.

Just like anything else you own, an image that you have the copyright too can be sold; which is often the case with professional photographers who make money from their images.


What can happen if I use an image that I do not own?

When using Google Images to search for pictures there is a temptation to simply right click on the image and hit “save as”. Pinching images from Google may seem harmless, especially since they are in the public domain, but these images are likely to be protected by copyright which means that you could come across issues if you choose to lose it.

One of the largest stock photo suppliers in the world is Getty Images. Getty Images provide a variety of images that when purchased can be used on your website or marketing material. A large amount of pictures that can be found on Google Images will have copyright owned by Getty Images and as a company they have been known to issue fines to those who use their images without purchasing them first.

It isn’t just fines that can be applied for using an image that is copyright protected. There is also a chance that the person (or company) who owns the copyright will take out an injunction against you and it has been known that these cases are taken to court.


What other options are there?

So now you know the dangers of using images that you do not have the rights to have on your website; but you still need pictures to bring a visual touch to your site. Where do you go? It should be assumed that every image on the internet has copyright attached to it which means that it can’t be used by you.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to create your own images or have none at all.

As we have already seen Getty Images is one of the largest suppliers of stock images, however despite the large variety you will find on their site you may also find that their images are expensive to purchase.

Thankfully there are alternative websites out there that allow you to purchase licensed images and avoid any fines that you could face by using a protected picture.



Shutterstock has a pretty impressive database of millions of photos, vectors and illustrations and it appears to be topped up every day. They offer a free to browse account, however to download the images you need to sign up for a subscription. The subscriptions offered by this site vary in image amounts, download limits and of course price so you can pick one that fits with your budget.


With IStock you have 2 options for purchasing images from their large database. One option is to purchase credits, these credits then in turn allow you to download images as and when you need it. As well as this you can also opt for a subscription basis (essential and signature) and pick how many images you are likely to need per month.


PhotoDune is part of the Envato Group, a website that allows you to buy images directly from the person who created them. They are offered at low prices and there is a real variety and depth to the images on this website. Best of all, as you are buying directly from the source you can be sure that they receive the royalty for the images that they have created.

These websites show that having quality images for your brand identity doesn’t have to be expensive. So get out there, source yourself a great image and avoid any fines or injunctions.

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