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How Do Ecommerce Websites Get Product Images?

How Do Ecommerce Websites Get Product Images?

Product images are a crucial part of any ecommerce website. Without these pictures, customers would have to rely on descriptions and other content to make their purchase decisions. Great product images are just one of many marketing ideas that will help you skyrocket your sales!

But how does an ecommerce store get the rights to use these images? Luckily, there are many avenues that businesses can take in order to find the perfect one for them! In this post, we will discuss what type of licenses you need for various types of products and where you can find them.


Ideas for Getting Good Product Images

1.) Photos directly from manufacturers

If you are able to get in contact with the manufacturer of a product, then they may be willing to give you permission for your store’s use. In fact, making product information available to third-party retailers is in the manufacturer’s best interest because it often increases their own sales.

You can also track down their product in one of their catalogs. The image can then be scanned and digitized to be used for your online marketing purposes.

Mopeds lined up

2.) Stock photos

If the product is popular, then it’s possible for you to find it on stock image sites. These websites offer royalty-free images that businesses can choose and purchase the rights to use. A few include Image Resource Unlimited or Shutterstock.

Shutterstock logo

3.) In-house photography

There are times where a manufacturer won’t have any images of their products. This is usually because the product hasn’t been released yet or it was not possible to take an image at that time. This means you’ll have to take the photos of the product yourself!

If you’re sent products from the manufacture, then it’s not uncommon for the manufacturer to want copies of the photos you take, especially if they’re the first photos taken of the exclusive product.

If the product is already for sale in other stores, then you can also try going to stores that sell the product you want and taking pictures of it.

Person taking a picture with a camera

4.) Composite imaging

At times, a manufacturer may create an entirely new product that’s only slightly different from previous products it has made. For example they might take two older products and combine them into one or just make small changes to existing old models of the same type of product.

Composite imagine combines two or more photos to create a new image that can be used on your ecommerce store. It only takes a few minutes for a professional to create this type of image and it’s much better than having to ship products if the manufacturer doesn’t have images on hand.

Doctored images can save money for both manufacturers and ecommerce companies by authentically showing what an item looks like without having to spend additional capital on photography.

Person editing photos on a computer

5.) Schematic drawings

Sometimes, a manufacturer can’t supply photos or inventory to an ecommerce company. If this is the case, but you still have access to dimensions and other specifications for it, then this may be an option.

Unfortunately for many ecommerce companies, they don’t always get the outcome that they want, so you just have to work with what you’ve got.

It’s more common to see these images being used for non-standard products, like accessories and replacement parts.

a blueprint of a phone

What To Pay Attention To

First off, it is important to understand what types of license agreements exist so that your business has the best chance at finding out what ones they qualify for:

Royalty-free or rights-managed licenses – For royalty-free licensing, a company pays a set price upfront and can use the image as many times and in any way they wish. For rights managed licensing, there are usually set limitations on how often an image can be used or the types of uses that it is for (such as editorial vs commercial).

Image use licenses – These licenses allow a company to either purchase exclusive rights to an image or buy non-exclusive rights to that same image.

Photo credit disclosure – When using images with a copyright notice, you need to credit the owner/creator of the image. Failure to do so could result in legal ramifications, such as being sued for plagiarism!


Where To Find Free Images

Now that we’ve covered what kinds of licenses exist, we’ll move on to where you can find them:

Stock photo sites – Sites like stock.xchng and iStockPhoto offer images that are free of royalties, which gives your company the most freedom with how they want to use them!

iStock logo

Creative Commons Licenses – These licenses allow anyone to use an image as long as there is a credit given (either in text or through watermarking). This is a great way for smaller businesses or start ups without much funding!

List of different copyright claims

Flickr – With this site, users have the ability to upload and share pictures with other people. It’s important though not to forget about copyright when using these types of images because it could result in legal action against your business if someone decides they don’t like it and sues you.

Flickr Logo

Creative Market – This site offers both royalty-free images as well as stock photos with a cost upfront, which can range from $0 to $300+ depending on the image quality!

Creative Market logo

Final Thoughts on Getting Ecommerce Product Images

In conclusion, there are many ways to get product images for your ecommerce store! You can contact the manufacturer, take photos yourself, find images from stock websites, and make your own composite/schematic drawings. Don’t forget to shop around for the right ecommerce platform, you can learn more about the different SEO benefits to each platform in our post!

It’s also important to understand what type of license you need for your product images. It’s also critical to know where the best place to find these licenses are as well – whether it be stock photography sites, creative commons licenses, or one that charges a fee upfront! By doing so, a company can have peace of mind knowing they will not face legal action because copyright was breached.

Disclaimer: WebCitz, LLC does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the information found on this page or on any web sites linked to from this page. This blog article was written by Timothy A in his or her personal capacity. The opinion(s) expressed in this article are the author's own and may not reflect the opinion(s) of WebCitz, LLC.