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Bodywork Buddy Blog

Bodywork Buddy: business management software for the solo therapist that keeps you organized and makes tax time a breeze.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The REAL Price of a Photo

I'd like to welcome Ryan Hoyme as our guest blogger today.  Ryan (aka Massage Nerd) is a wealth of information in the massage industry - especially videos and photos.  He is now offering a service of stock massage images that are not only royalty free, but are very accurate depictions of real life massage.  (no heads turned to the side with rose petals strewn about!) 

It's very important to keep legalities in mind when using images for your marketing.  I spoke with Nick Borger, an attorney in Minnesota who practices in the area of social media law, and he pointed out that if not using images legally several things can happen.  Unlawful usage of images could result in judgments against the user and unwanted legal costs and injunctions. Statutory damages can be imposed, which can run the user of the advertisement thousand of dollars per use. Obviously, the bill can get high very fast.

For that reason, people who take images off the Internet for marketing should obtain written consent from the owners of the image prior to use. Usually, they can use those paid image galleries,but they need to make sure that the license they obtain specifically permits the use they are intending.

I highly recommend using Ryan's image services as he's a name we can trust in the massage industry.
*please note: this is different than sharing pics and posts on Facebook, etc.  Ryan and Bodywork Buddy often share posters for your social media marketing use (that include our watermarks) and our permission to repost and share them.  But if you ever aren't sure, just ask! 

The REAL Price of a Photo

I often see this response on the Internet concerning photos: Since it’s on Google images, or other places, it’s ok for me to use them. Well, that might be true in a few cases, but not for most.

Here are some things you need to consider when looking for photos for your marketing:

  • Is the photo copyrighted?

  • Do you have to give the owner credit?

  • Can you use it for commercial advertising?

  • Are you allowed to edit the photo?

  • Are you allowed to sell the photo, if you edit it?

  • Did the people in the photos sign a model release?

Those are just some of the questions you have to ask yourself, before using a photo on the Internet.

It can be really tricky, because some people take other people’s photos, and give them away to others for free. They even say they own the copyrights to it, but there is no way to be 100% sure in most circumstances.

First step: Make sure you are dealing with a reputable company (search the name of their business on the internet, to see if there has been any complaints).

Second Step: Read the Terms of Service, and see how you can use the photos. Do you need a lawyer to read over their Terms of Service (if you do, it probably isn’t a good idea to use the photo)?

Third Step: Even if you purchase them, it doesn’t give you the rights to plaster them all over the Internet (look into it more).

Forth Step: Contact the company via email or phone, to have them answer any more questions you may have.

I have people on a daily basis taking my photos and videos, and using them to market their business without my permission. It’s pretty frustrating to constantly go through the web and flag the photos and videos.

I made mistakes like that when I first started delving into the Internet, but I learned my lesson really fast, once I started teaching massage, and realized all the trouble people can get into. I even know people that were contacted by Getty Images, saying that they used one of their photos, and they are required to pay a fine for using it. Take a look are their rules:

So, the next time you see a cool massage photo on the Internet, and you want to use it to market your business, make sure you research it first.

Ryan Hoyme

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