Why You Shouldn’t Use Google Images to Find Photos; Issue #236 May 24, 2011

PowerPoint Tip: Why You Shouldn’t Use Google Images to Find Photos

In my workshops, whenever I speak about using photos in a presentation, someone always asks about Google Images. It is so easy to find pictures using the image search function of Google, why don’t I recommend it? Because in almost every case, it is more risky than presenters could imagine. Why? Because photos are copyrighted and you can’t use them without permission. Let me share with you one of two examples I shared in my webinar in March to illustrate the risks.

An advertising firm was creating a blog post for a client. They needed a photo, so they did a web search and found one that would work perfectly. The blog post got uploaded to the client site and everything was fine. Until their client received a letter from a lawyer informing them of the copyright infringement. The client was not happy. It ended up costing the advertising firm $4,000 to settle the case when they could have purchased a photo for around $10. If you want to read the whole story, click here.

If you believe that you will never get caught because your presentation isn’t on the web or not that many people will see it, this example should change your thinking. You never know if an audience member will recognize the photo and tell their relative or friend about it. You may not post your presentation to the web, but someone you send it to might. In today’s connected world, you are fooling yourself if you think no one will ever find out.

And there is no need to take these risks when there are so many great sources of photos you can use legally. Microsoft makes tens of thousands of photos available for your use in presentations and you can search this library from within PowerPoint. Stock photography sites sell professional photos for very reasonable prices, as low as $7-8 for a photo that can be easily used in a presentation. And some photo sharing sites allow their members to grant a license to use the photo in commercial presentations.

With so many ways to stay legal, why take the risk of using Google Images to find a photo for your presentation? If you’d like to learn more about finding and using photos in your presentation, including specific sites and techniques for finding great photos legally, check out the recording of the webinar I did in March, just click here for all the details.