A few weeks ago, I sat in on a weekly Twitter chat with several association professionals. Because it’s a group of association professionals, the chat lends itself nicely to the name #assnchat. (It’s okay, we laughed too.) The chat was hosted by Association Consultant and Social Media Leader, Kiki L’italien, and the topic was “Using Images in Social Media.”
Throughout the chat, several association professionals discussed the challenges associated with finding online imagery for their organizations. If you’ve ever looked for images online, you can probably relate. There’s the issue of time, money, legal rights, etc. - the list goes on and on.
To help, we’ve put together a list of commonly asked questions regarding online imagery and a few possible solutions for each. Do any of these questions sound familiar?
I’m having trouble collecting a large library of photos for my association. It’s time consuming and expensive. Any advice for small-staff associations?
There are several tools out there to help you find appropriate photos for your organization. If you’re looking for free stock photo locations, we recommend using Pixabay, Free Images, and Photos Public Domain. Here you’ll find thousands of high-quality photos that are available for commercial use.
If you’re willing to pay a little money for your photos, we recommend using Shutterstock or iStock. These are both great locations for finding high-quality, royalty-free stock photos. You can buy monthly subscriptions to these sites or buy one-off images as you need. Sometimes it’s worth paying $10 for a really good image if it’s going to make a really big marketing impact.
When pulling images from the web, I’m worried about whether or not I have the rights to those images. How can I be sure I’m not violating any rules or regulations?
If you’re using any of the royalty-free sites listed above, you don’t have to worry about violating any rules or regulations. Similarly, if you purchase an image online, that image is yours to use as you please.
What you don’t want to do is just go on Google and just grab a random image you found. This is a BIG no-no that could land you in some serious trouble.
I’m tired of using “blah” stock photos, but my organization’s photos aren’t quite as polished. How can I find some sort of balance?
We get it. No one wants to use the same old stock photos as everyone else. If possible, try hiring a professional photographer. Don’t assume that a professional photographer is out of your price range. There are many photographers out there that actually specialize in non-profit photography, so run a quick Google search and see what you can find. You may even find someone who’s willing to “donate” their time and photography skills to support your organization’s cause.
Another option for acquiring new photos is to crowdsource them at one of your big fundraisers or events. Most smartphones have high-quality cameras, so if your members are already tweeting or instagramming great pictures, why not share them yourself? But remember – you must always ask permission first and credit that person if your post.
I’m thinking of hiring a professional photographer. How can I make sure I get the most bang for my buck?
Photographers aren’t cheap, so if you’re thinking of going this route, you’ll definitely want to be prepared. Sit down with your photographer prior to the shoot to discuss what images you absolutely have to have. It’s also not a bad idea to go over your “end-goal.” Where are you planning on using these photos? What is the overall message you’re trying to convey? By sharing this information, you might actually trigger some new ideas.
Pictures are great, but they aren’t the only way to engage your members. If you’re looking for alternative methods, check out our free member engagement guide below!
And remember, if you’re an association professional and want to join in on these weekly #assnchat discussions, they take place every Tuesday at 2 p.m. EST on Twitter. Hope to see you there!