Finding images and avoiding the copyright police
I’ve had a few people asking me recently about finding images for your blog. If you look at the sites I’ve done you can probably see that one of my favourite tasks is finding a groovy image to bring a post to life.
Now you might have heard horror stories of people who have been chased up by companies that sell images because they have inadvertently placed a copyrighted image on their site.
So you need to find a reputable and trusted source of photographs or illustrations that you can use without fear of litigation and claims for thousands of pounds for using someone else’s precious work.
When I first started my first visit was usually to Microsoft Clipart. That is now not possible as the resource has been removed. The market has changed over the last 8 years and what was acceptable then is now out of fashion.
There are many places where you can get a free image. My favourite one currently is Unsplash.
6 sources for free images and graphics:
- StockSnap – great photos mostly covering people and landscapes. Search via keywords and categories.
- Unsplash – my favourite site and many photos on this blog were sourced from here. Great that you can see other people’s collections and create collections of photos as you browse. Attribution is not mandatory. However I like to say thank you to the photographer by leaving a credit for them.
- PicJumbo – again lots of talented photographers contribute to this site – sometimes you’ll see the same shot on two or three of these sites.
- Pixabay – not my favourite as it had stock images, vectors and art illustrations which do not always fit my blog style now. However if you’re looking for something specific this can often throw up something that fits.
- Death to the Stock Photo – a slightly different approach as the free images are sent on a monthly basis to your inbox. Quite quirky and arty too but I’ve found a few that fit beautifully in a blog post. This one on my personal development blog worked for me.
- PICWIZARD – have over 100,000 completely free images on their site and over 20,000 of those are exclusive to them. They are also adding new images to the library daily and their ultimate goal is to have more than 1 million images available. Lots of good people pictures too which are often hard to find. Pretty impressive.
So you need to decide if you want a photo or graphic. I am not sure what the decision making process is for choosing which one. It depends on the context and mood of the post.
For instance for my blog about personal development I chose a graphic illustration as it felt right to depict the content this way. A somewhat intangible subject about personal growth seemed to warrant the graphic rather than a photo.
Sometimes it is very clear cut. In my post Falling into Blogging about The Red Horse Blogs it was obvious that a picture of Beth and Chelsea was a good move. Pretty easy to ask permission for a photo when you are showcasing someone. Also in the Work from Home Wisdom ‘Home Working Style’ and ‘My Home Office’ pages getting photos is not a problem (although some have to tidy their office up first!)
The trick here is in the keyword you use. Sometimes people tag things differently to how you might tag them. Sometimes the words you use will need to be more tangential to find the right image. It can take time to find an image that feels right, makes sense and looks perfect for your post.
On most of the above sites you can search by categories and filter your search to just photos or illustrations. The photo of the beans with an eye in it for the post How scary is that? is a good example. It was found by using the keyword ‘scary’ and then filtering by clicking ‘Photo’ for the media type. The image just popped out for me!
The time invested in finding images is often worth it. Plus you get more skilled at filtering and finding the right image the more you do it. Mind you, I have spent hours over the last 8 years finding images for my websites and blogs. Sometimes a good image is hard to find.
I’ll be sharing other ways of finding images in future posts so stay tuned by subscribing by email on the top right sidebar.
And if you know a good source of images please let me know.