Frank Johnson (no url provided) asks – “Darren – my question is how you find product photography for your product-related blogs. Do you 1) take photos of the products yourself; 2) grab them off the manufacturers’ websites after asking for permission to use them; 3) grab them off the manufacturers’ websites without asking for permission (assuming it’s fair use); 4) do something else? Thanks!”
I generally take the approach of using a companies product shots without permission (if they’re the original producer of that content). In reality I am generally emailed press releases when a new product is launched which includes a product shot (or a link to one). Most major manufacturers also have press sections on their sites which generally have image galleries specifically designed for use in the press or online media.
The key is to compile a list of the official sites and keep an eye on them (hint: don’t just look at the US sites, often products are released in Europe and Asia before the US).
When I can’t find these I also have relationships with a couple of other blogs and sites in my niche where I have reciprocal agreements to use pictures that they’ve used (and they can use mine).
In a last case resort I’ve asked for permission to use other site’s shots if they’ve specifically taken them but it rarely comes to this – manufacturers are pretty good at getting pictures out pretty quickly once a product is released.