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6 Ways To Legally Use Photography In Your Content

Six little known ways to legally use photos in your content!

Today, I’m going to be talking through using photos on Instagram, social media, blog posts and little ways that you might not quite be complying with the law. But don’t worry, by the end, you will understand how to navigate some of those tricky legal blind spots.

And if you’ve ever kind of felt like some kind of legal issue out there that might come back to haunt me that I don’t know about…It’s that feeling of I don’t know what I don’t know, right? Stick around till the end, and I will tell you all about my new resource that will help you find those blind spots.

Tip number one always read the fine print.

Do you think that you can use photos on Canva for anything that you want just because you have a paid or a pro account? Think again! You always want to read the fine print on any stock photo platform because you want to look for what’s called that commercial use or commercial license. That basically means that you can use the photo in a business setting without any additional licensing required.

Tip number two, don’t post photos that you didn’t take yourself.

Photos you take or your property. Photos somebody else took are their property, unless they licensed them to you. Don’t post photos that someone else took without their permission unless it’s in kind of a platform permitted way like on Instagram where you can use that little paper airplane on a post to share it to your stories. That’s a little bit different. Users of Instagram, by using Instagram, are allowing for their posts to be shared that way. But screenshotting someone’s picture, cropping it, and then reposting it is a big no, no. Yes, even if you tag them. But they’ll find the infringement easier if you do tag them…so, don’t post photos you didn’t take is a safe ground rule.

Number three, please stop relying on disclaimers.

Saying, “I don’t claim ownership of this photo” or “This photo belongs to so-and-so,” doesn’t do jack. Copyright infringement is literally copying someone else’s work. You don’t have to make money from it in order for it to be copyright infringement.

Number four, forget about photos of celebrities.

Maybe you’re a photographer, and that’s part of your job. And, you have permission from a celebrity to use their photo. That’s a little bit different. But there are really two issues when it comes to using a celebrity’s image. First is copyright. Like I said, you own photos that you take, the photographer owns photos that they take. So a photographer owns the photo of that celebrity. Even if it’s a paparazzi photographer, whoever it is, someone owns that photograph, and it might not be you. Even if you found it on Google image search, even if you found it on Pinterest, even if somebody else is posting that same picture.

Then there’s a little thing called right of publicity. The right of publicity is the right that you and I and any other person has to control how your image is used in a commercial setting in a business setting. So a celebrity might not want to be associated with your business and you posting a picture of them kind of associates them with your business.

Number five, when in doubt, ask permission.

Canva is super responsive if you have a question on using, for example, one of their photos or elements in connection with one of your designs. And a photographer would much rather have you ask for permission or ask for a license before using one of their photos, then not ask at all and use it anyway. Ask they could say yes. Or, they could say no. Which would make you very thankful that you asked in the first place because if they say no, you know?

Number six, get Google image search and Pinterest out of your head.

Yes, even if you search Google image for royalty free image of blah, blah, blah, Google image search, we’ll just pull up whatever. Google image search images are not free of copyright. Pinterest images are not free of copyright. If you want royalty free images, if you want images that you’re able to use, look for a reputable stock photo company.

So let’s recap. Read the fine print. Don’t post photos you didn’t take. Stop relying on disclaimers. Forget photos of celebrities. When in doubt, ask permission and say goodbye to Google image search and Pinterest.

So I hope that helps you better understand some little known ways to legally use photos in your content, and I’ll see you next time.

Head to to find out what legal blind spot is secretly killing your business. I had so much fun designing this quiz, and I know that a lot of people feel like they don’t know what they don’t know. This is for you. This quiz will help you to identify that legal blind spot and then once it’s identified, help you figure out how to fix it again!