Recently, there has been an increase in the number of images we license through Alamy for use in presentations and in newsletters. (Presentation/Newsletter is considered one category of use by Alamy.) This  makes sense given that there are a lot of video conferences going on and people need imagery for their presentations using PowerPoint or Keynote.

There are some important things to keep in mind when using a stock image in a presentation or newsletter.  Use in a sales presentation is considered commercial use. If you’re using the image for an internal company presentation, the use is generally considered editorial. Most newsletter use is editorial, unless you are specifically using the image to sell a product or service.  An article in an insurance company’s newsletter giving winter driving tips is editorial, however, an article or ad in the same newsletter touting why you should patronize that insurance company is commercial.

What difference does it make? If you use an image commercially and there are identifiable people  in the image or there is identifiable property, you need a model release or property release or both as the case may be. Unreleased images can be used editorially, although releases are still good to have if they’re available.

If you use an unreleased image commercially, you put yourself at risk of being on the wrong end of a nasty lawsuit. Look at it this way, would you want a photograph of you appearing in a sales promotion for a product you may not like?

We make sure our images uploaded to Alamy featuring people or property are properly marked as being either released or not released. Here’s an example. The image of Lurie Gardens and the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago at the top of this post was recently licensed for presentation/newletter use. Here it is on Alamy. Notice that in the image info below the photograph, it is listed as having neither model or property releases. If one were to use this image commercially and any of the people in the image recognized themselves, it could be a problem. Additionally, the Art Institute won’t be happy about it.

If you need an image for internal corporate presentation use, an unreleased image is generally acceptable. If you need to use it in advertising or other commercial  use, make sure you don’t use one of our unreleased images featuring any people or property. Photos of state and national parks are fine to use commercially if there are no identifiable people or private property (for example, automobiles) in the image, since these locations are publicly owned. 

Keep in mind that items such as laptops, tablets, cars or other products not only belong to the user, but their design is the property of the manufacturer, so this counts as identifiable property and images of these should not be used commercially. Also bear in mind that device screens showing software also can get you into trouble as well, if you use images of them commercially.

Another important point is that stock photo libraries, Alamy included, have clauses in their license agreements that hold them and the photographer harmless if you use an image marked as having no releases for commercial purposes and you get sued. 

And as always, check with your attorney if there is any doubt on whether your intended presentation use requires the use of released photos. I got my start in stock photography working as a photo researcher for a medical and scientific stock photo library in the ’90s, but I am not an attorney.

If you have any questions regarding stock photography, or there is a specific image you’re looking for, please contact us. We’re happy to help.