Images and the proper use of them online are touchy subjects fraught with legalities.
Many people mistakenly believe that a Google image is a free image that’s just there for the taking.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This is why: Google ranks images in a similar way to how it ranks webpages.
This means that the Google images that come up when you search under the “images” tab are actually from a variety of personal and commercial websites across the internet.
There are copyright issues with a vast majority of them.
The main point to remember is:
Many of these images and work are from the websites of photographers, graphic artists, painters and other types of artists. These people have a vested interest (monetary interest) in their work.
Normally, one might think that someone else would be happy if we helped to share their images. But if no one is paying for them or getting credit for them, then the creator of it is the one who loses.
If you carelessly use an image without proper research and credit, you can easily find yourself waking up to a nasty email from the owner of an image or a threat of legal action for continued use of it.
Search for “Free” images or “Royalty Free” images and always read the fine print of any image catalogue website to protect yourself from future problems.
What’s Royalty Free?
Royalty Free doesn’t mean free free.
It means you have the right to use the image without many restrictions based on a single payment. Each royalty free site will have their own conditions and rules. Read the fine print that goes with each image and the rules of the website that you found it on.
The murky legal waters of internet image use is very challenging and hard to understand.
So it’s best to keep it simple and use Wiki Commons and other completely free choices. It takes the million questions out of whether or not you can use an image.
Where to Find Images
This site has some decent images but has a challenging search feature. If you persevere you will be able to find some good ones. Read the details of each photo but most are free to use.
Be aware when you are searching that they offer paid iStock photos above their own. It’s sometimes not easy to see that you aren’t looking at an sxc.hu image.
These photos are free to use at will, they are part of the public domain. There are a lot of really nice images to use here.
This is a free image site whose images are free to use if you place a line with the photo giving credit back to them. A good example is saying ” Image courtesy of www.StockFreeImages.com”
This is a really good source of free images, vectors and clip art. There are images in many categories and are very high quality. Most images are free to use, even commercially without attribution but some require proper attribution.
As with all image sites they say “use at your own risk”. This is usually stated right after the two sentences that say that you can use the images without restriction and then next they say that some images may need attribution but it’s unclear as to attribute properly.
Vectors, photos, PSD, Icons and more.
This a free image source, with a few rules. They are free to use in a blog if you place a line under the photo with credit to the photographer.
Best Image Source
Purchase a decent camera and learn how to take your own photos wherever possible. This is a really good way to expand your creativity and build a gallery of your own images.
You can even build an inexpensive light box that creates professional looking images right at home. There are many videos on YouTube about building a light box, it’s not very difficult.
It can be as simple as taking a picture with your cell phone. Many phones, especially the newest Android phones have such great cameras in them that they take stunningly clear pictures for these purposes.
The image to the right is a perfect example: this is a picture of my home dictionary taken with an old Android phone. I downloaded the image and put text over it with this domain name using the Corel Paintshop Pro X5.
It gives it the stamp of ownership and source at the same time.
This ensures that your work stays your work and it promoted as such.
There are a few free tools online that you can use for basic photo editing if purchasing one isn’t an option for you right now. GIMP is a free program that’s favoured by many.
Once you have chosen a photo editing tool and familiarized yourself with it, I recommend that you take the time to put text over your images with your domain name on it. Make sure the domain name reaches completely across the image from side to side.
This way when a visitor comes along that likes your site and content they will likely want to share your images on Pinterest. They can share your images easily and your domain name goes with it automatically. Perfect.
There are many websites where you can purchase images of any and all subject matter.
The paid images are usually higher quality and you can choose from a much more vast selection. They start around $1 and increase from there for each image. You may be able to pay less if you have a membership to the image site.
The cost can add up so just choose the images you want to purchase and use them well. The rest can be filled in with free images that are actually free from Wiki Commons.
If you are just starting out and finances are a challenge, then stick with the free images until you get rolling. After you are making a little income you can choose to buy images at that time.
Paid Image Sites
Fotilia and Dreamstime are paid image sites. If you are going to build a professional looking website then investing in a few premium photos here and there along the way is a wise investment.
Always be wary of cost and do research on each company Some paid photo sites charge a lot of money, $150 per month is not unheard of as an access fee to the database of photos.
Most new internet marketers cannot afford that, this is why it’s more cost effective to spend a little time finding truly free images or giving due credit to an image creator right from the start and save yourself a lot of problems.
Do you have a favourite image source? Please leave a comment below and help other readers.
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