Using Images on Your Website

Photography, charts, diagrams, and other images enhance your website and help readers visualize your message. Is it possible to capture accounting and tax in images beyond calculators and bar charts? Definitely. But there are some rules that need to be followed as well.

The Best Images to Use

Your own original photographs and drawings are the best to use, as long as they are professional-looking.  You can also use photographs that you have hired to be made for you, as in professional headshots and portraits. Some ideas include:

  • Photographs of your entire team
  • Photographs of your office building
  • Photographs of your team at work
  • Headshot, portrait, and lifestyle photographs that have been professionally done
  • Well-lit candids of you at a business event or of you speaking
  • Drawings or caricatures of your headshots or pictures of you and your team
  • Photographs of landmarks in your city (these can also be purchased through a stock photography agency)
  • Drawings of processes that you have created yourself
  • Infographics that you have created or hired to build

With most of these photographs, you own them so you do not have to make any disclosures with regard to copyright.  One exception is if a photo was shot by a friend or co-worker, technically it is their copyright so they may want a byline.

Badges and Membership Logos

If you have earned a certification, you typically have the right to proudly display the badge that represents your certificate.  The same thing can be true for memberships. Some organizations will create a special Members badge that you can add to your website. And payment-related companies such as credit card companies allow use of decals they provide.

These can typically be used without issues as long as you follow any guidelines for use.  Items that fall into this category include:

  • Badges for professional certifications
  • Badges for software certifications, resellers, affiliates, and partnerships
  • Memberships in organizations you pay dues for
  • Accreditations you pay for, as in Better Business Bureau or a technology seal of approval
  • Sites with services you use that allow you to market your connection, such as Thumbtack, Angie’s List, and UpWork
  • MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, shopping cart, PCI compliance, and other payment-related decals

Stock Photography

If you don’t have the perfect graphic, you can purchase them from stock agencies.  These companies offer not just photographs and illustrations, but video clips and audio clips too.

Prices vary from company to company.  Sometimes, you can get a monthly subscription which allows a certain number of downloads. You can also pay individually per graphic.  Good quality stock graphics are roughly $10 per graphic per use.  Beware of free stock photography; it usually requires a copyright disclosure or an advertising link, and that can make your site – and your company — look cheap. The stock agencies we use include:

We use stock graphics for page illustrations that show small to mid-sized business scenes involving people. While we have our share of tax forms, calculators and charts, we prefer using people shots for a better client connection. Other ways we use stock graphics include a guarantee badge and local landmark photography.

You typically don’t have to display the graphic’s copyright when you purchase it.  Stay away from a graphic labeled editorial, as its uses are limited.

I’ve found that stock photography sites that have an excellent search feature are worth paying more for; plus, they usually have the highest quality graphics as well. A LOT of time can be taken up searching for the perfect image.

Free Images

If you absolutely don’t have a budget for graphics, we recommend you don’t use them.  But if you insist, there are free graphics available.  You must honor the copyright of the artists that supply these graphics by following the site’s instructions.

Some graphics have a creative commons copyright.  This is a special type of copyright where artists donate/share their work to the public and the public can use it.  Some artists appreciate a byline.  Again, follow the instructions on the site where you got the graphics so you’ll be in legal compliance with their requirements.


Google image search can be a treasure trove of graphics files. Never use an image you get this way because it is someone else’s copyright.

Using Graphics Wisely

Graphics definitely enhance your site visually when you use them correctly and wisely.