There is often a lot of confusion, angst and misunderstanding when it comes to using images on the internet that you haven’t taken.

With the rise in social media usage, and as a result, billions of images being uploaded to the internet with easy access for all, where do the boundaries lie?

Well, really, the rules are simple, if you haven’t paid for it or been granted permission to use the image, either by the website providing it, or by the photographer themselves, then you can’t. No, not even if it’s all over Pinterest!

So, that leaves many business owners in a bit of a bind. Without the skills or resources to produce their own high-quality images, how do they make their websites, blogs, social media and advertising aesthetically pleasing?

I asked Samantha Thompson, of Frog & Field Photography and Pferd Images, to chat to you about your options.

Samantha and I first met a few years back, when she booked me for a shoot with her horse and dog, but Sam has since gone into business as a photographer herself and also now runs Pferd Images, which I fully support and commend her for. So, she’s definitely a great person to tell you guys more about this somewhat touchy topic…

Where to Get the Best Stock Images For Your Equestrian Business
By Samantha Thompson

Well I was very flattered to be asked to do this but also a little worried. I mean what do I know?

Then I thought about everything I’ve learnt along the ways and figured that actually I do have some knowledge to share. Based on the work I’ve been doing with Pferd Images it was only appropriate that I have a little chat about images. Plus, how to get them or use them without incurring the wrath of the photographer.

As a photographer, I have a perk of the job. Any blog post I write or advert I do I can simply pick up the camera and take a picture. Then I simply upload it, edit it and use it.

Simples.

But what if you were a blogger or journalist that needed a picture for a piece you were doing?

We all know images are vital. You only have to look at the popularity of Instagram to know that images sell.

There are a few options that I’ve seen taken over the summer. These include screen shots or saved from Facebook. These options however are not ok. It is effectively stealing and no one intentionally sets out to be a thief.

What else can you do though?

 

You could employ a photographer to attend an event with you. Whilst this can seem costly if you are clever about getting a range of images can work out better value.

You can also contact a photographer prior to the event or even after and ask to buy a specific image. Whilst this is a good option it can require leg work on your part. Many events will supply images to be used in press releases but sometimes you want something different.

Events are a little tricky because it all pivots around accreditation. If a photographer isn’t accredited then they cannot sell the images. No negotiating. Plus, to sell them when they are not accredited could create friction between them and the official photographers. So, in the case of events, often you are best to get in touch with the official photographer, if you haven’t already arranged something.

If you do find a photographer’s image you like then just double check they are accredited. It is also worth noting that with certain events even if accredited they may not be able to sell to you.

Also from a rider’s point of view, some of you have sponsored riders, even if they have purchased the image they cannot pass it on to you unless they purchased full rights. Often if you ask the photographer you’ll be able to share their post thus sharing good karma around.

So, with all of this in mind, prior planning is key with events and building up a relationship with a photographer you know and trust.

If using images for commercial use, for example on a feed bag, then you will need to discuss commercial pricing with the photographer. Prices can range hugely and often it’s turnaround time and rider profile that will influence the price you pay.

 

Now for the non-event images. Those pretty frosty mornings or maybe you just want to talk about show preparation… Images again are key.

This is especially true for businesses. On first impression, high quality images imply a high-quality business. So make them count!

Again, you could hire a photographer, many specialist country and equine photographers enjoy doing business shoots.

Alternatively, you could use a stock image site. One site designed specifically for equine businesses is Pferd Images. A range of images that are perfect for illustrating a point or that could be used in an article or blog post.

A little while ago in a small business group I belong too there was a bit of a moan about how hard it was to find good equestrian stock images. A lot of the pictures out there were great to the untrained eye but for equestrians they didn’t quite cut the mustard. For example, no hats being worn or the reins not being held correctly. Small details but they detracted from the purpose of the image.

 

As we’ve established above, there is definitely a niche for high quality, reasonably priced, equine specific images, ready for businesses, bloggers and journalists to use. Images that also fulfilled copyright and were being used correctly and with full permission.

So, I had a ponder and thought of all the pictures I have taken for friends and how most of them were just wasted.

I thought about the amazing access I had to a few yards and the willing volunteers I knew. Rhea Freeman and I brainstormed together during a coaching session and I talked through my plan. She gave me the confidence to go for and so Pferd Images was born.

Lucky for me my husband is an IT Guru (my words not his) and so I called upon his skills.

We hatched a plan about categories and I started recruiting some contributors. It was very important to me that we had not only excellent and specialist equine photographers but that they had different styles. The plan was outlined and so our team was created. It is worth mentioning at this point that the photographers are responsible for their own work and still have their own individual careers. This has a number of positives. Firstly, no massive strain on them but also if a company buys and use a stock image and likes it they can book them for a business shoot.

Many of the images on the site are close up and quite ‘arty’. Meaning there is often no identifiable features or people. Perfect for those pictures with a text overlay or a blog post. These images are all saved in galleries with tags. The search option then means terms such as ‘eye’ can be searched and images will be found. It is worth noting that Pferd (pronounced P-ferred) Images has only been up and running since the summer so the library is always expanding.

 

Equally many of the photographers on board with Pferd are accredited at events and so where accreditation rules permit, there are images from events. The idea being that we can bring images to the masses.

Imagery is vital in good advertising but can be costly. Pferd Images tries to help with this. Our social media images are just £10 per image and can be used on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat. As long as they are not used in a negative way, text can be added and used, within apps such as Canva.

We offer high-resolution images, that can be used in print and for blogs, as well as images to be used commercially. And if if you can’t find the image that you are after, we will try and get it for you! We are keen to build relationships with companies and publications as we move forward with this new venture.

So, I hope that this has been helpful for you. A little more information about how you might obtain images to use for your business, in the correct and legal way, as well as a little about what we can offer small equine businesses at Pferd Images.

 

Follow Pferd Images online: Website // Facebook // Twitter

Specialist UK equine portrait photographer and country lifestyle blogger & vlogger.