Copyright is a word you’ll hear a lot as an online writer. It’s not just about the copyright of your own articles, but the copyright of images that you decide to use. Before you even think about taking an image to use in your blog posts, you need to make sure you can legally use it. Here are five tips to find great looking images you can legally use.
Use Free Image Websites
There are a lot of websites that offer free images, and many of them don’t even require an attribution in your post! One of my favorite places to find great looking images is Pixabay. All images are in the public domain, but they are great quality. You can also adapt them to make them unique, which is something I do for featured images to share on social media; it means my website URL is always on show.
Other great free image websites include MorgueFile and FreeDigitalPhotos.net. The latter does require an attribution in your post, but it is all detailed on the website itself.
Find Creative Commons Images on Flickr
Flickr can be excellent for good quality images, but you do need to make sure they can be used legally. I view all sites that are making money as commercial sites. It doesn’t matter if you’re promoting a business, have advertising revenue or make money through affiliate marketing. You’re making money from your content in some way.
There are two types of “creative commons” images. On Flickr, you’ll see one has a $ sign with a line through and the other doesn’t have this. The line through the $ sign means you can’t use the images on commercial sites.
The great thing about Flickr is you can easily sort your search. Use the drop down menu to select commercial use allowed images, and the creative commons license will be allowed for your needs.
Attribution is required for these images. Usually it is a link to the image and a link to the creative commons license. Check if there are any specific terms set on the image page and in the license.
Opt for Wikimedia Images
I don’t often like Wikipedia, but the images section can be useful. Some of the images are taken from Flickr, some are in the public domain but the majority of them can be used for commercial needs. But do check the license before using.
The best thing about Wikimedia is there is usually something that suits your needs. I find it useful when it comes to searching for history related images or when looking for something to do with a specific celebrities.
When checking the license, look for any special requirements. Some state that there must be a link to the photographer’s website, while others state that the image attribution must be near the image rather than at the bottom of the blog post.
Sign Up for Stock Images
Stock image websites are all over the place. Shutterstock and ThinkStock are just two that come to mind right now.
These stock images usually need a payment, but it is often a small amount. You will find great looking images that suit the majority of needs. By purchasing the image, you can use most images without attribution.
Another option is to purchase licenses from larger sites, like Getty Images. These subscriptions are extremely expensive, though. If you’re a professional business owner, you may have the funds for it. If not, then it could be out of your price range right now.
I only use Getty Images for one site because the site has a subscription to some of the images. There are different subscriptions depending on your needs.
Take/Make Your Own Images
If you’re still struggling to find great looking images, you could always opt for your own. You don’t need an expensive camera to get a good blog post image. I use my cell phone when it comes to craft or baking photos.
The trick is to make sure your image is clear. You could always use some editing tools to make it look better.
Making your own images is another option. Open paint and add a word to a background. This is my go-to for images for YouTube stills when I do reviews. It’s quick, simple and makes it clear what the video is going to be about.
The benefit of this option is you get exactly what you’re looking for. You can take a photo of a building to get a company name or snap a photo of a sign in a local area. Your images will definitely link to your post.
Don’t take photos of something on your TV or laptop. There is a grey area, and you’re taking a photo of something copyrighted. You can, however, take a photo of a book or DVD cover if you’re doing a review of said book or DVD etc.
Just a quick note, if you are selling an Amazon product, you can use the Amazon image in your posts. You will need the link to the Amazon product, but you should have that anyway if you’re selling it! Make sure you include your Amazon Associate ID so you’re credited for the sale.
There are lots of options to find great looking images you can legally use. There’s no need to run the risk of breaching copyright—and that can be a very expensive mistake. Don’t fall foul and think ahead right from the start.
Where do you find great looking images for your posts? Do you have a favorite stock image site or a preferred method? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.