In a number of our recent blog posts, “Looking for the Perfect Fit: Tailor Your Message” and “Let’s Keep the Ball Rolling: Tailoring Ads for Instagram”, we mention the importance of using great imagery to capture the attention of consumers and heighten their interest in your products and services. Since these posts went live, we have received several inquiries asking where this great imagery should come from. Today, we offer a few suggestions.

First things first, just because you can “right click” doesn’t mean you should! Taking images from the internet or any other source, in almost all cases, without permission, is a violation of copyright law. According to photography copyright attorney, Carolyn E. Wright, the moment any creative work is “fixed” it becomes copyrighted by its creator and this creator has exclusive rights to copy, reproduce, display or distribute the work – even on the internet.  Only that creator can grant permission or provide license for its use. When in doubt, simply ask. Most photographers desire exposure and will be happy to work with you.

If you find you need access to imagery on a regular basis, there are a number of sources available for stock photography or photography that permits limited use through non-exclusive licenses. iStock, now owned by Getty Images, is just one example of a site providing user-generated stock photography, illustrations, video and music clips for download to use in content such as websites, social media advertisements, and much more.

However, there are also a number of alternatives to standard subscription based stock photography sites.  Sites such as Stock Snap, who curate their own collection of images which you can download and use in your campaigns for free. The only hurdle to using sites like this one is that choices are limited but they are still worth bookmarking and perusing for the budget conscious business owner.

What happens though, if on the day of your blog, you find that a co-worker has gone into your stock subscription and purchased a number of images leaving you with zero downloads? And what if you have systematically gone through every free stock site you know and simply not found a match for your topic?

Take your own pictures!

What? You are not a photographer you say… Well, maybe not but every smart phone owner is carrying around a high quality camera right in their own back pocket! That iPhone has a whopping 8 megapixel camera which can provide images that can be clearly reproduced up to 45.3 inches by 34 inches. Additionally, taking your own pictures assures that the stock photo you just paid for is not also appearing in another businesses advertisement and you can be 100% sure you are not infringing on anyone’s copyright.

You just need to follow a few simple rules of thumb and you will be on your way to creating some of your very own compelling imagery. Here are some tips:

Follow the Rule of Thirds – Divide your frame of reference into nine equal squares. Some cameras have a grid option available in their settings. Then align the subjects of your photograph up along the grid lines for a more dynamic image.

rule of thirds

Photo by: Maarten van den Heuvel image courtesy of StockSnap

Here are just a few other methods for achieving more dynamic compositions; each taken with an iPhone with no additional enhancement:

Boonsboro Carnival

Cronise Market

Josie’s on Main
Take a close-up that fills the frame  Show depth by including a fore, middle and background  Use a diagonal orientation for multiple items
 Change your perspective:

Boonsboro Carnival
  Take shots from overhead  Take shots from underneath  Get on the same level with your subject matter

Still not feeling confident that you can nail the shot you need. Well, there are literally thousands of websites and blogs out there that offer in-depth tutorials for amateur photographers. Read up on the advice of others in the field and most of all, practice, practice, practice. One of the best things about digital photography is you can delete any images you do not like right on the spot.

Composing imagery and messages that capture the attention of consumers and heighten interest in your products and services is our specialty. Call Manning Media in Frederick, 301-620-7700 or in Hagerstown, 301-733-4500 or fill out our online request form by clicking HERE and get people focused on you.

A great big thank you to Bonnie at Cronise Market and Stephanie at Josie’s on Main, both located in the Historic town of  Boonsboro, Maryland who allowed me to barge into their businesses and take the shots for today’s blog.






Previous post

Episode Two: What Do I Have to Watch?

Next post

Launch Your Website Into Hyperdrive