When using product photography on your website, be careful when copying photos from manufacturer websites or other online sources. Even if you’re reviewing that company’s product, the owner of that photo may not want you to use their photo without express permission, and you may face legal issues. Either get permission, shoot your own product photos, or hire a product photographer.
After deciding to write a review of a new product on your blog, you pop over to the manufacturer’s website and you see the perfect photo to use. Right-clicking on the photo, you save a copy, never for a second thinking you are doing something wrong. “I am reviewing that company’s product, wouldn’t they be happy that I am using their photo and not somebody else’s?” Taking property online is stealing too, and using someone else’s photo without their permission is illegal. Unfortunately too many bloggers learn this to their detriment every year.
Yes, these laws do extend to protect product images. The owner of the imagery is protected by the law, and this ensures that they have exclusive rights to their property or work and it cannot be misappropriated. They possess the legal rights to decide who can and cannot distribute or use these product photos. For the most part these rules can be hidden by the companies involved, making it is best to err on the side of caution. The most easiest approach to follow is, if you didn’t take the photo then it is not your property, so do not use it without the express permission of the owner or distributor. It is unlikely that your business would survive a negative ruling in a copyright infringement case.
Can you use product photos on your blog?
Yes, you can use product photos on your blog. But you cannot use images that are protected under copyright law without the owner’s permission. Most companies take the time and effort needed to produce high-quality photos for one reason, they want to sell the product. These are not just produced for their own sales and marketing departments, they want these images distributed to the press and other sellers too. Regardless of this, you should always seek permission before using an image from a company’s website.
One of the main reasons companies insist on you asking permission, is that they are trying to protect their brand and its image. They are obviously concerned by where these images may turn up and other brands that they might be associated with. They will want to be assured as to your intentions for the photo, and that you will use it in their best interests. If you can do this, high-quality photos can be sourced directly from the companies concerned. They would also like to ensure you are using the most up-to-date imagery at all times. For these companies, their brand name and image rights will always be put ahead of the needs of any potential partner.
Where to find product photos?
As we mentioned above some companies provide bloggers with high-quality product photos once you ask for permission. Unfortunately, this is not always as common as you might like. The easiest solution is to take your own product photos. For re-sellers who have thousands of SKUs though, this process can prove to be burdensome. In this case, they may want to hire a professional product photographer (like us!).
You could also use search engines to source photos that have been tagged free for commercial use, also called “creative commons”. Creative commons or “cc”, means a product has been licensed for free distribution. This can be another great resource of product photos.
How to prepare your product photos for your blog
Once you have legally sourced your product photos, naming and sizing them correctly is the next thing you will need to do before you add them to your blog. These are the four steps you should follow.
- Resize your image: If you know the width (in pixels) of your blog content, resize to that width using your favorite photo editor. Or, if you’re unsure, reduce the width to 800 pixels wide. If your image is too large, it’ll take extra time for the page to load.
- Use lots of different images: If you intend to use many different images of a variety of file sizes, you could use a tool called Blogstomp, this tool is great and helps with many different blogging issues. It can easily resize images to a blog friendly width and resolution. You can also easily create attractive collages with a few simple clicks. These look great on blog posts.
- Reduce your file size: The next step to take before uploading any image is to reduce its size. If you’re using WordPress, there are several plugins like Webcraftic Robin image optimizer plugin that’ll reduce the image’s file size . This is essential since a recent survey indicated nearly 40% of people are viewing blogs on their mobiles first these days. Keeping images as small as possible decreases page load times.
- Get the names right: The last step to take is to name the images correctly, as google currently allows its algorithms to search images as well as text. How many people have searched for a “123456_img_789” lately? Naming images to complement your keywords will increase your ranking.
How to add product photos to your blog
While bloggers use many different platforms, WordPress is by far the most popular but most of them operate using similar functionality. These are the steps you need to take to add a product photo to your blog.
Start by placing the cursor in the text where you intend to add the image.
If you want text to appear above or below, or even wrap around the image, you should start by adding a blank paragraph below where you want to add the image. Pressing enter will add a blank paragraph that will allow you to insert the image. If you want text to wrap around the image, either to the right or the left, place the cursor at the start of the line where you want to add the photo.
Insert the product photo.
There should be an option to add media, this button should be clearly visible in all blogging software. Right clicking at the point where you want to insert the image may reveal a menu that has this option. Once you select to add media, you will be redirected to the Media Library screen. If the image you want to upload is there, select it. Otherwise, you will have to upload it first. Click the upload tab and then the upload button found in the center of the screen.
Name the image.
Make sure your name is the image in a manner that reflects the keyword focus of your blog or at least of that post or page. This is very practical for the SEO (search engine optimization) of your blog, especially if your images have keywords inserted in their well worded keywords.
Get the size, link and alignment correct: For example, WordPress has 4 default image sizes, these can be converted to suit your needs as you wish:
- Thumbnail size: (these are square.):150×150 pixels
- Medium size: 300 pixels wide, the height can be scaled as you need
- Large: 1024 pixels wide, but these are popularly set at full width.
- Full: The largest size that your blog will support
Most bloggers use medium sized images since these will usually be about half the width of your text areas. Thumbnails are popular for inserting square images off to the side of your text. Sizes can be altered by clicking on the media tab and selecting settings.
Align your images.
Usually, your software will offer four default alignments:
- None: this will add the image below or above the text, no wrapping will occur around the image.
- Left: The product photo will align to the left of the test, text wraps around to the right.
- Right: The product photo will align to the right of the test, text wraps around to the left.
- Center: the image will be placed in the center of your blog post.
Link your photo.
Most photos will link to the media file by default but some bloggers choose to link their photos to other posts or sites. This choice is yours, leaving the link at its default setting is potentially a wasted opportunity since your blog’s ranking is influenced by how much time people spend on your site. Linking them to other products or information about products, could prove useful to prospective customers.
Insert your product photo.
The last step to follow is to click “Insert” and the image will be uploaded to your blog.
Balancing the need to use high quality product photos and doing everything legally can prove difficult for many new bloggers. When all is said and done, taking these photos themselves might prove to be the best approach for many bloggers. We hope that this article will prove valuable as you pursue your blogging journey, navigating the ins and outs of product photos on your blog.