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3 Photo Licensing Options

Remember when it was easy enough to snap a photo on a FAM trip and use it in your next newsletter?

Remember when, back in the "good ol' days" of travel marketing, there were only a few sources for images—and only a few reasons to use them?

Now, we're so dependent on visual marketing! Seventy-four percent of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing.

Where We Use Images

Picture all the ways you use images every day! Some of the most common are here.

RS18471 Mar 18 image-uses

Fact or Fib?

"I can just Google and use any image from my search!"

If you said fib, you're absolutely right! Just because you can search the internet and physically copy and save an image doesn't mean you can legally use it. Like travel consultants, artists, photographers and designers are professionals and need to be paid for their expertise.

True story: A travel agent in California found a great image on a Google search, copied it and used it in a marketing piece. The photographer contacted the agent and a legal battle ensued. The travel agent was fined $10,000! That kind of coin isn't in my marketing budget and maybe not in yours, so consider what we can do instead.

Finding images and using them without breaking the law is a challenge.

Understanding Photo Licensing

Let's break down photo usage rights and focus on how we can find and manage our image libraries.

There are three types of photo licensing. While we'll explore each briefly and highlight the details, please click on the links to learn more.

Rights Managed Images
This license gives you exclusive and time-specific rights to use an image.

Royalty Free Images
This license gives you full freedom to use the photo wherever and whenever you want.

Public Domain Image License
Images in the public domain are free from copyright restrictions and are free for commercial and personal use.

Where will you look for images for your next creation?

CatherineHeeg-HeadshotUpdateWritten by Catherine Heeg, an international speaker and trainer who focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at and socially.


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