When you’re designing a website for your business, you want to make sure that the pages you’re focused on have visual appeal. If your site’s pages are packed with text and are completely void of photos, you’ll probably struggle to keep a visitor’s attention. Yet if you’re grabbing photos from any source you feel like and then repurpose them as your own, you could find yourself in legal trouble. Here’s how to give your website a visual pop, without dealing with legal woes along the way:

Know the rules

You may think that you can just link back to the image in question, cite the photographer’s name, or be prepared to take it down if someone files a complaint, but in reality these steps don’t protect you against legal action. Instead, you may only use licensed images when you have express permission from the original creator on your website.

Don’t just grab something from Google Images

Google Images provides you with an array of high quality photographs in a matter of seconds. However, just because it’s easy to find an image, doesn’t mean that these photos are available for use however you please on your website.

Always ask permission

Even if the shot has been repurposed by many other business owners and therefore seems “safe” to use, take the time to contact the creator and ask permission to use it. If they grant you permission, make sure to hold onto all written communication regarding the use of the image.

Take the pictures yourself

If it’s a shot you can take yourself (you need a picture of a stack of books, for example) then this approach is usually your best bet. This way you know you have the ability to use the picture on your site without fear of future repercussions.

Pay for a subscription to a stock photography website

If you have a significant need for various high-quality images, it’s worth it to invest in a subscription to a stock photography service. This way you know the photos you’re using on your website are available to you without possible legal issues, plus you’ll have a wide selection to choose from.