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Stock image best practices

When you need the perfect image for your site and don’t have the time, budget, or expertise to create your own, you may need to use a stock photo or illustration. While it might not feel ideal, it’s okay to use a stock image rather than nothing at all if it'll make your design feel complete. However, you should only use images that aren't yours if you have all necessary rights and permissions and that don't infringe on a trademark or license.

To find stock images and add them to your site, use our integrations with Unsplash and Getty Images. These integrations save you time searching other sites and include curated image selections that are more likely to work with a Squarespace site.

  • Use of our Unsplash integration is subject to the Unsplash Terms
  • Use of our Getty Images integration is subject to our Image Terms
Note: This guide is available as a resource, but shouldn't be construed or relied upon in any way as legal advice. Per our Terms of Service, Squarespace doesn't provide advice or recommendations about laws applicable to your site or business.

How to use stock images

Our stock image integrations are available almost anywhere you can add images to your site.

When adding an image, click Image SearchSearch for Images or the + icon and select Browse Stock Images, depending on where you're adding the image. Next, search for Free or Premium images. For detailed steps, visit Searching and adding stock images.

Be aware of trademarks in images

Ensure your image doesn’t include a trademark that could confuse visitors about the trademark owner endorsing or sponsoring you, your website, or your products. Brand names, logos, and even a few famous buildings have trademark protections. 

For example, if you have a website about running marathons, don’t feature the Nike swoosh in a way that could make someone think Nike is supporting or endorsing you.

Look out for copyrights in images

Ensure your image doesn’t include copyrighted materials which you don’t have permission to use. Even if you own a license for the image itself, parts of the image may have their own separate copyrights.

For example, if you post a photo that includes a copyrighted painting, you could have permission from the photographer, but you might not have permission from the painter.

Be careful with photos of people

If you need an image of a person or people and didn't take your own photo, first see if you can use something different. For example, to show employees in your office, it’s better to take photos of your real staff with their permission. Alternatively, you could use images of your office that don’t include people or stock images related to your industry.

Identifiable people in images may have rights to prevent their image from being published. Before you publish the image, ensure that everyone in the image has given consent to having their image used publicly.

If you’re using an Unsplash image, you can contact the photographer to ask if the people in the photo have signed releases. This requires signing up for a free Unsplash account through their site, which isn’t required to use the integration within Squarespace.

If you’re using a Getty Image featuring a person in a way that most people would find offensive, unflattering, or controversial, our terms require that you included a statement saying the image is “for illustrative purposes only" and that the person in the image is a model. You can also see model release details by clicking the link for licensing details wherever you've added a licensed image.

Get creative

Even if you’re not using your own, it still helps to use images that match your site’s tone and brand. For example, if you're advertising your suburban real estate firm, you probably don’t want to use images of city skyscrapers. Images that look more authentic will make your site more welcoming to your visitors.

Similarly, it helps to choose images that are more unique and unpredictable. It’s common to show smiling people in business suits to represent closing a deal, but going deeper with your search will help you find less common images.

If you’re using our built-in image search, try adding adjectives to your search that match your look and feel. Maybe you sell “minimalist” furniture or run a “calming” yoga studio. Use words that make the most sense with your content.

Credit the artist

Consider if you should credit the artist. You can add a credit using an image caption or a text block with the proper wording.  If you didn’t get the image from our stock image integrations, find the original source of the image and review its licensing details. Some content, including stock imagery, is covered by terms that might require you to credit the artist.

To learn more about Getty Images credit requirements, review our Image Terms.

More tips

  • After adding a free Unsplash image or licensing a premium Getty Image, you can edit it with our built-in image editor. Cropping, changing colors, or a new angle can help a stock image blend in with the rest of your content.
  • If you’re the site owner and you’re working with a designer, you’re responsible for all images on your site. Take time to review all images your designer adds and ensure you have permission to use them.
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