Do you have a licence for that?

……. picture?
My whole motto on images for a long time has been to create or use your own and take them yourself.
I pride myself on being original, and any of you who have read my website will be familiar with the paragraph asking:
Are you comfortable using a photograph on your project that everyone else could use on theirs?
Do you have the photo editing skills to create your own?

But in the end it comes down to time, money and resources. So we all have to use the inevitable image library sometimes.
And that’s what it came down to this last week or so with a couple of clients.

There are plenty of libraries out there offering very competitive pricing, and some free images available, if you are willing to give a credit and a link when you use the image, and most of the pictures are royalty free.

But what does that really mean? well you can use it as much as you like on whatever you like, you pay once and then its yours….or so I thought

but wow! such a minefield, when I started looking into the licensing – there is a bit more to it – so just be careful to understand what you are doing, so you get it right.

I am reliably informed that if you try to buck the system with an incorrectly licensed image, there is software out there just trawling the web to check – and the first we here about it is the surprise invoice letter on the doormat.

The particular image site I am using is, ( )
who have some great images, (at pocket money prices).
So even your kids can buy them for their school project or homework, or a christmas card for their friends. (Just make sure they don’t put them on anything they want to sell – and avoid images with
corporate logos on too).

As a designer, when I purchase an image to use for a client, I input purchaser details ( so usually my clients name, address etc) when I buy my credits or download limit, and those details go onto the invoice for that payment. And those details are binding for the ownership of that payment.
Then when I use those credits or downloads to pay for my images, the purchaser details (my client) are transferred to the license of the image. I can view all of the licensing details linked to my image downloads.
So it is the name on each particular invoice that is the owner of the image, and that is the person who is allowed to hold the image file and use the image* as many times as they like on their own projects and only pass it on to other parties who are handling their projects for them. (like their designer).

And if, as a designer I buy an image (in a clients name) I cannot use it for another client.
To do this I have to buy it in Wild Ideas name, then I can use it for any of my clients projects, but not give the image file to them.

*This is just the tip of the iceberg for standard usage of royalty free images – if you want to do tens of thousands of print runs, or put your image on a product to sell on, or etc or etc, then there are lots more licenses to buy at varying prices. ( please check from the site you buy your images,
to make sure you buy the correct license for your own requirements).

So now I pretty much have my head around it, I am OK, but I still favour doing your own, if you can.

Which is just what my son is doing.
He is a real chip off the old block, and has finally worn me down, after asking many times – and we have set up his ‘wild books and pictures’ website so he can upload his drawings. And possibly even sell them with an online shop – a project for another rainy Sunday.
We have even ordered some printed business cards too.
(The printer I use does really great prices)

He would love it if people had a look and added a comment.

I have a potential project coming up which may need a child type themed design, and I am sure he would be thrilled if one of his drawings might be suitable to be adapted into a logo.

So despite feeling like I am cheating myself by using an image library sometimes, as a creative, I pacify myself in the knowledge that I am always able to make an image my own, by modifying it enough from the original (if necessary) with skilled control of my photo software editing tools.

so it’s not the end of the world.

And I do take my own images too, whenever I am out and about I try to get creative with the camera – in this digital age, where 300 shots are as free as 24, then it really is a no brainer, and you don’t need a licence to take a photo………

and incidentally, you can even upload your own photos to the image library and start getting paid for them – so that’s something to think about!

Happy snapping!


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