Guidance on using images

Consider image rights, image quality and accessibility.

Image rights

  1. If you didn't take the photo, make sure you have permission or the license to use it. Attribution is not enough to avoid copyright infringement.

  2. If there is a recognizable person or private property in the image, you should obtain written permission to use their likeness or property on the website

  3. Credit all images

  4. All images uploaded to the site must have permissions to be used sitewide. The license can't be tied to a specific agency or organization.

  5. If you are using any images that are labeled Shutterstock on social media, read our license and use agreement.

Image quality

  1. Images should be well-lit and in focus

  2. Subjects in photographs should reflect "real," candid situations and should not look posed. In all cases, photography should strive for authenticity.

  3. Only use photos that were shot in Massachusetts for any images that include recognizable scenery

  4. Only use full-color images (i.e. no black-and-white, no sepia-tone, no filters)

  5. Include credits with the image if it is being sourced (with permission)

  6. Never use clip art

Accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO)

You should optimize content for individuals who use screen readers or users on low-bandwidth connections that prevent images from loading. Alternative text isn’t a caption. It replaces the image for users who don’t see it. Alternative text should provide the same information as the image, so be sure it clearly captures the message the image conveys.This increases the number of individuals who can access information and helps improve search engine optimization (SEO).

See the Assistive Technology Group's wiki for more detailed information on creating alt tags for different types of images.