This final part in our series on using images for your business explains different ways to provide access to images.
Image use plays an important role in delivering the message of a company’s brand. When used consistently with the company’s brand guidelines in mind, photos, illustrations, and graphics can be powerful for the marketing of the company’s brand. So powerful, that with one look at a photo people can begin to associate it with the brand and therefore the company, which is brand recognition. When the company’s brand guidelines outline the proper use for images within the business, one of the best ways to ensure these guidelines are followed is to provide access to the approved images. When people are able to access readily available sources for images, it is more likely that they will follow the guidelines as there has been a path of least resistance laid out for them to follow. In this article we explain 2 great ways to provide access to images for employees to use within your business.
For more information on image use check out Part 2 for maintaining brand consistency, and Part 3 for copyright and legal rights of image use.
1. Stock Photos
Stock photos are one of the most popular sources for images used by businesses for promotional purposes. These are photos, illustrations, infographics, videos, and graphic designs that have been taken by professional photographers or created by designers that are then sold to stock photo sites where they are available for anyone to license for creative and business use. The licenses are generally purchased by signing up for a paid subscription to the stock website. Otherwise, each photo is available for purchase with a license fee attached to it. The different stock photo websites will detail the legal use of the images and what rights the company has when using them.
There are typically 3 main types of stock photos, each with their own licensing rules:
- Royalty-Free – Can be used multiple times once the license is purchased with no time limit. The number of uses is typically built into the license and is called “print run.” These images have no right to exclusivity, meaning other companies could also purchase a license to use the same image.
- Rights Managed – Fluctuating value in the marketplace based on usage, exclusivity, and image size along with many other factors. If the business desires exclusivity, meaning no other business can use the same image, they can purchase the license with this agreement.
- Public Domain – These are images that are free to use for any purpose without the need of a license. There is also no limit to the number of times these images can be used.
Rather than hiring a photographer or a graphic designer to take photos and create illustrations, businesses can search a large database and instantly download a photograph. This saves time as images are instantly accessible, and also saves money as stock photos tend to be less expensive than hiring a professional. Generally the websites have folders or “boards” that can be created within user accounts where the different photos can be saved for use. This allows the company to save approved photos that can be used in various labelled folders with categories for example, or could be used as a system where employees can save wanted photos that are then reviewed for approval or rejection.
2. Image Library
Another great option for businesses is to have an image library accessible for employees. This image library would be photos taken by a professional photographer that are approved for use within the company. These photos don’t necessarily need to be from a professional, it could be from an amateur such as an employee with a passion for photography or someone who captured a beautiful photo. With that being said, it’s important that the photos are high enough quality to be used within the business, and that they also represent the company’s brand by following the guidelines. Photos could be of people, places, landscapes, products, items etc. Beyond solely using photos, the image library could also include other forms of images for use such as illustrations, infographics, icons, videos, and graphics that have been created for the company.
This form of images also has benefits. Any of the photos and images saved within the image library folders would be solely created for the business. This means the business has the rights to these images, and that no other companies are using them. This ensures that all the images used are unique. Another benefit is there is complete creative freedom, which can help in creating images that are entirely in line with the company’s brand and will relay the exact message the company is wanting to accomplish with the image. For example, rather than settling on a photo of a landscape from a stock photo website, a photo could be taken of the exact landscape the business is wanting to display, such as the rolling plains of Saskatchewan with a beautiful sunset from our land of living skies.
Access to Images
The different forms of access for approved images to use within a business each have their benefits. Stock photos provide easy, instant access with low-cost solutions, while using a photographer or graphic designer can create unique images solely for the business that perfectly represent the company’s brand. There can be great value in using both of these methods in a business, as the more options for employees to access approved photos, the better.
This concludes our series on image use for your business. After reading this series, it may be a great time to consider the image use within your business and what options are best suited to meet the branding needs of your company.