Let’s talk stock photography for a minute. I’ve written before about the dos and don’ts of using “free” images from the Internet. It’s a daily concern for most modern professionals. With the ubiquity of social media and the increased emphasis on storytelling as marketing, content is undoubtedly king, and producing and enhancing that content is a constant concern. I’ve listed legal options for obtaining free images in the past, but your options are always changing and improving.
Enter Getty Images. The stock photography giant has just implemented a new embed feature that allows users to embed stock images for free on their websites, blogs and social media sites. Once you find an image you like, you simply click on the embed icon and Getty automatically generates a little snippet of code that you can copy and paste to the platform of your choice. The image shows up complete with an attribution and link back to the original photo.
While there are limits (about 1/3 of their images are available with this feature, and it’s limited to non-commercial use only) this is a huge move, and pretty fascinating. Effectively, Getty is admitting to the futility of pursuing legal action against individual copyright infringers and trying instead to regain control of their market by creating a legal way to use images for free. While there are clear indications this service will be somehow monetized in the future, for now you have a golden opportunity to use high-quality stock art legally and at no cost.