Image sourcing for portfolio projects

hello! i am a graphic design student, about 1 year away from graduating but unfortunately a bit behind because i switched my major late (my senior year is gonna be insane…). recently, we learned how to make magazine layouts in class and i found myself really enjoying it and i am considering making one for a personal portfolio project.

i was looking through people’s projects on behance out of curiosity, and noticed a lot of them used images that didn’t look like stock images to me. i know that i cannot just use images off the internet, espcially if it’s for monetary gain. i am just a little confused on how people use images of, like a specific band persay, and are able to include it.

to be honest, i am not a 100% sure of what im asking, i am just very confused on image sourcing.

Bands or any kind of entertainment organization typically have many promotional photos that they’ll gladly share with any publication willing to write about them. It’s a win-win for everyone. In addition, many publications have staff photographers or hire freelance photographers for specific shoots.

I get the sense that you are looking for photos to use as content in your portfolio project. Is that the case?

If so, my word of warning would be to proceed with caution.

When it comes to licensing stock photos – and, yes, you can license a stock photo of a famous person – there will be a big difference between “editorial use” and “creative use.” What you are talking about doing is using a famous person’s image to promote yourself. I believe that would fall under creative use and would likely not be covered by a license.

My suggestion would be to look for another idea for the content for the magazine. Does the school you go to have a photography or illustration department? If so, what about partnering with a student from one of those departments? It would be a win-win. You get original content for the spread, and the other student gets tear sheets of their work.

Alternatively, you could use stock resources, but look at creating a collage or combing stock sources in some way that would create something unique to you.

If you’re stuck on the idea of using a band, I’d suggest reaching out to a local band. You might have more luck getting the okay to use their images and names than you would be trying to get Bono’s approval.

This is how one US university provides guidance to its graphic design students.

In the US, you have some latitude as long as the work stays in the classroom. But it you make it public, like on Behance, that’s where you might run into problems… if the copyright holder takes issue.

For portfolio is not for monetary gain.
Putting the image on a mug and selling the mug is a monetary gain.

You’re selling a product with a persons image on it that you don’t have the right to sell. Ergo, they’re buying the mug because of the famous person it - not because you made it.

There’s nothing stopping someone uploading an image of their favourite band to a Mug printing service - and having a mug printed with their favourite band - as long as it’s for Private use.

Even if they got that image from the internet.

If you’re making a fictional magazine for your portfolio - I see no problem with this - using images from the internet or from stock images.
As long as you’re not selling the magazine.

For me it would fall under ‘fair use’ or ‘fair dealing’ - at least in a lot of countries.
It’s for non-commercial purposes - you don’t need the copyright owners permission if you want to showcase your skills in a portfolio.

You can and probably should credit the original source and the copyright owner if taken from the internet.

But for stock images - I see no need to credit the original source.

You can use images that you create yourself, that you find in public domain, or things like Creative Commons licenses - and other forms of ‘open licenses’.

You may get an objection from a copyright owner - and the worst that will happen is a cease and desist order - probably.

Keep in mind - using images of famous people and painting them in a bad light will get you in trouble. You couldn’t use a picture of a famous Band and then put them next to an article that they are responsible for some heinous crimes or other things that put them in a bad light.

Be very careful. But all in all should be fine for a portfolio for a school project.

I don’t think it’s so much an issue of monetary gain as it is an issue of promotion or implied endorsement. Granted, this is a gray area in this case, but the ultimate use of piece in question would be to promote the designer.

As long as you’re clear that you credit the sources (addendum to say it’s fictional), as said earlier it shouldn’t be an issue. But as I also said, you could still be asked to remove it.