The Trouble with Photos

trusts, wills, horse lawI don’t know about you but one of the fun things about owning a horse business is that I get to look at horse photos practically every day. I love to look at horses and to photograph them (the photo to the left is one I took of my rescue Mustang, Isuba). Whether it’s on our websites or social media, we need to use a lot of photos with horses in order to talk about our businesses. There are literally millions of horse photos online. Really. I just did a Google search for “horse image” and got 1,990,000,000 results in .52 seconds.

But wait. Whoa. Not so fast. Did you read the viral story about the hipster? Yes, this does connect to your use of horse photos. A hipster guy got so mad thinking a journal had used his photo without permission when it reported on a study about hipsters that he threatened to sue the journal. The funny part of the story is that the photo wasn’t him but it confirmed the study results that hipsters tend to conform to a certain look. What’s important for us is the story behind the photo.

The journal had bought the hipster photo from Getty Images. You have may have bought their photos or spent time looking at their horse pictures. The journal’s editor-in-chief contacted Getty, and it had a signed release from the model in the picture. That release was worth its weight in gold because it showed the man who emailed was not in the photo and therefore had no legal action against the journal or Getty.

You hopefully now see where I am going with this and your horse photos. A lot of horse people download photos from the Internet of horses and riders. You should not use these photos on your website or social media unless you or the company you bought them from have a model release. (Yes, I know…what about pictures from horse shows. I will get to that issue in a blog this week, I promise.) Chances are good that you are going to have to pay for high-quality horse photos that you can use legally. Places like Getty, which has some stunning photos, may be a bit pricey for your budget, although the photos are certainly worth it. Take a look at a site like PixelRockstar. You can get photos for about $1 a picture.

I know that copyright and horse photos is a huge topic. Stay tuned to my blog this week as I continue to explore how we can use horse photos with our businesses.

 

The horse industry is big business

Graphic courtesy of the University of Minnesota Equine Extension Program. Used with Permission and Credited.
You may have heard the joke about “How do you make a small fortune with a horse business?”  Answer: You start with a large one! For years now, I have heard people say you can’t make a living working with horses. When we say something repeatedly, we tend to start to believe it. But what if the story of not being able to make a living with horses is actually false? What if you can make a living?

Recently, the University of Minnesota Equine Extension Program shared the graphic to the left on its Facebook page. Contrary to what you may have heard, the horse industry is booming. And it’s doing so because of equine business owners. Think of how many businesses it takes to maintain horses. A short list includes vets, farriers, feed stores, hay producers, tack stores, equine dentists, equine chiropractors, equine massage therapists, horse trainers, riding instructors, clinicians, horse breeders, horse associations, and horse rescuers.

One of the keys to being successful as an equine entrepreneur is to realize that while you love working in the horse world, it is a business. That means it has to be run as one. You have to start with a business plan and the correct business formation. You need legal contracts drafted by an equine attorney. You need to protect your company with a trademark. You need a marketing plan. You may need liability insurance. You may need documents specific to your equine business, such as barn rules. If you have all of these things in place as you start your business, it is easier to assess where and how you need to make changes if something isn’t working right or if you want to expand your business.

If you feel passionate about horses, contact me so we can discuss how I can help you start, build, or rebrand your equine business with my equine legal and business consulting services.