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Wyoming Business Tips for Oct. 4-Oct. 10

September 28, 2009

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Michael Lambert, Wyoming Market Research Center manager

"I would like to use some photographs that I found on the Internet on my Web site and in brochures, but someone told me that would violate copyright law. What should I do?" Alice, Green River

You should never use a photograph found on the Internet without the express permission of the person who owns the copyright. This is normally the photographer, but can be an organization or company.

Finding the copyright holder can be tough, especially since many photographs on the internet are not properly attributed. So how to find that perfect picture to make the point needed in advertising materials? The time-honored way is to hire a professional photographer to take the picture. This will give the best results, but can be pricey.

Another method is to take the picture yourself. Generally it means you own the rights to the image, although if the picture is of a person, make sure that a model release is signed. A Google search for "model release form" gives several examples of forms that can be used.

If all this seems a bit much, look to one of the stock photography services. There are many, but a personal favorite is Fotolia ( This site offers millions of images available for unlimited licensing for extremely low cost. The site has a great search feature and photographs can be purchased in different levels of resolution.

For use on a Web site, an "XS Standard" file is good and costs about one dollar. For larger images, the prices go up, but $4-$5 per picture is standard. Fotolia allows you to place images in a "lightbox" to compare images against each other. A free "comp" image can be downloaded that can be used for layouts and review. The site also features a selection of illustrations and cartoons that are available for similar fees.

Other sites are: iStockphoto (; Big Stock Photo (; and Dreams Time (

There are literally dozens of similar sites and millions of photographs available. Photography can now be a stress-free part of marketing materials design process for a local small business owner.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.


Posted on Monday, September 28, 2009

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