Be careful about the images you use on your WordPress real estate website, or any website. I recently became aware of a situation where a Real Estate Agent and their Broker were sued because the Agent had used photographs (website image) from another website without their permission. Are you aware that this is wrong? Probably. But many of you still use this shortcut. Well, Big Brother may be watching. If you did not take the picture, you probably need permission to use it.
First of all, it’s wrong. Those photographs, like any you have taken or had taken professionally, belong to the owner and are not yours. So essentially, it’s like shoplifting and hoping you don’t get caught. Since you think that no one is watching, that might be true. But did you know that photographs can be watermarked to alert you when others use them? The financial repurcussions can be staggering.
Websites that discuss the different options of protecting your images:
Services that can help you with protecting your photographs:
And just in case you thought Pinterest was a good source of images, think again. You cannot download images and upload them to your website to use as your own. And pinning images to Pinterest is a completely different topic than using Pinterest images on your website. But you can see a recent response that Pinterest submitted to an article on the topic here.
So now that you know what you can’t do, understand what your options are.
There are several websites that offer free images for you to use. Some of them require linking back to their site, giving the site and/or photographer credit or other requirements, as well as rules on editing or altering the image, so you need to understand and abide by their Terms & Conditions.
- Stock Photos for Free
- The Morgue File
Flickr’s Creative Commons is also another resource for free photos.
And then of course, there’s your own camera. While you would need permission to take photographs of personal property or interiors of model homes, etc., taking pictures of scenery is a great way to gain practice for when you need to take pictures of listings. Keep in mind that if any people are in your photos, you would need releases from them in order to put the photo on your website, just in case.