Photos are the foundation of a great website. A high-quality picture of you interacting with a horse, teaching a student, or riding in an action-packed setting will attract a visitor’s attention. Next time you go online to shop, look at how the website relies on large, eye-catching pictures with minimal text to draw you into the site. You’ll want to create a similar impression on your site.
Before grabbing photos and uploading them to your website (or your social medi), you need to know if you have the proper permissions to use them. Professional photographers offer written releases that explain how you’re able to use the photographs when you purchase them. When photographers are hired to take photos for marketing efforts, the permissions are typically included in the contract. However, if you hired a photographer for a horse show and later decided to use some of those pictures on your website, it’s best to reach out and confirm permission to do so.
Being granted approval to use the photos is only one piece of the equation. If clients appear in the photos, you’ll want to use a photo release form. The Rocket Lawyer says, “a signed Photo Release form (also called a Model Release) essentially releases the model's ownership of the images captured to you or your company.” It’s especially important to have a signed release form when children appear in the image. Their parents have the right to accept or decline having their child included in the photos.
Photo Release forms are important whether you’re snapping your own photos on a cell phone, taking pictures with your own camera equipment, or you hire a professional photographer. The Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have a right to privacy.
If you feel uncomfortable asking clients to sign a release form, there are a number of photographers who specialize in photographing horses and riders. Many of them offer access to a stock image galleries. You will have to buy the photo, but the photographers have already done the legwork of securing the appropriate permissions. Try using “equine photographer stock gallery” or “horse photographer stock gallery” to get started finding some great images for your website.