Use of photographs and images

Do you want to use photographs and images of other people in your teaching material, article, thesis or presentation? In this quick reference guide we provide more information about the most important aspects of copyright.

Use of material

Do you want to use other people’s photographs and images? Then make sure you use:

  • Open access material with a Creative Commons licence. The options for use are more or less extensive depending on the CC-licence used. For more information about CC-licences, also see the Quick reference guide for finding terms of use.
  • Search engines that help you find photographs based on Creative Commons licences. For example:
  • Photographs and/or images free from copyright. For instance, you can find these at:


  • Right to quote; when quoting copyrighted material, permission is not required from the copyright holder(s) and no fees have to be paid to them. The condition is that specific requirements must be met. The quotation must:
  1. serve a purpose; the quotation must be used as notification or review in an academic paper or for a similar purpose;
  2. be proportionate; you should not quote more than necessary;
  3. state the source and creator’s name;
  4. come from a published source.

In addition, make it clear that it is a quote, for instance, by adding “image quotation” or putting a frame around it in the same way as you use inverted commas when quoting text.

Permission for use

  • Do not use any photographs or images unless permission has been granted by means of agreements or licences with Stichting UvO (Stichting Uitgeversorganisatie voor Onderwijslicenties formerly the Reader Regulations section of Stichting PRO), PictoRight and/or other image banks or databases. Links to photographs and images on the Internet is always permitted provided that these have been lawfully published.
  • Only use photographs that have been commissioned and that depict people if you have (written) permission from both the photographer and the person (people) portrayed or if you arranged it through a licence.
  • Only use photographs that have not been commissioned and that depict people if you have permission from the photographer to do so or if this has been arranged through a licence and the use does not harm the reasonable interests of the person (people) portrayed. This reasonable interest is defined as: a violation of privacy or of financial or commercial interests.

Higher professional education and university agreement with Stichting uvo

Higher professional education institutions and universities have concluded agreements with Stichting UvO. The use of photographs and images is also regulated thereby. For Higher professional education the reader scheme (HBO) of Stichting UvO applies. All graphs, tables, photographs and other images therein are equal to 200 words. In addition, up to a maximum of 25 images from the same source may be used for educational purposes.

Universities have the Easy Access regulation (Universities – WO)of Stichting UvO. This regulation applies until 2020. Stichting UvO inspects three universities annually to verify compliance with the regulation. Any breach of the agreements has financial consequences for all universities! The Easy Access regulation states that a correct acknowledgement of all copies is mandatory and that stacking copies is not permitted, i.e. spreading out sections of a publication across multiple readers for the same course.

Acknowledgement of sources

Always ensure the correct acknowledgement of sources. This is always obligatory. You can find a practical guide for the acknowledgement of sources in higher education on The APA guidelines explained page.

Questions? get in touch with your Copyright Information Point (AIP)

Do you have further questions about this quick reference guide? Please contact one of the members of staff at the Copyright Information Point (AIP) of your institution.

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Vuistregels gebruik van foto's en afbeeldingen
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Download this quick reference guide in PDF
Quick reference guide for the use of photographs and images
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