Why any old image just won’t do…

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Photo by: MikeBlogs

You just started blogging or have been doing it for a while and need images to make your posts stand out.

What do you do?

Do you simply search Google Images and grab whatever image fits your present need?

Well you could do that, but then you might wind up with a letter in the mail that looks something like this:

Getty Images Letter

[ Click here to download a full copy of the letter (PDF) ]

This letter (well one like it) was sent to one of my clients…

Of course the first thing you need to do in this situation is to remove the offending image from your blog/website and then consult an attorney or try and contact Getty directly and explain why you were using one of their images without proper licensing.

To avoid this in the first place you could just use licensed images from the start, from places like:

ShutterStock is the largest subscription based stock photography site in the world. They have plans that will fit any budget and they are always adding new photos. A simple search will find whatever type of photo you are looking for.

iStockPhoto is a one stop shop for your photo needs. Whether they be for the web or printing you can get any size you need from here. All you do is a simple search using keywords that are related to what you need and you will find a magnitude of images to use. Photos start at around $.95 cents each and are totally royalty free.

But what if you don’t want to pay or if you are only doing a personal blog?

You can search Google for sites that offer free stock photos, websites like freedigitalphotos.net or stock.xchng. This is usually time consuming and of little value. Not too mention how do you know that these sites are really using royalty free images?

Flickr to the resuce…

The best way I have found is to use Flickr and search for Creative Commons licensed photos, which allow you to use them without paying a licensing fee.

Most of the time the photographer would just like a link back or credit for the photo.

As you can see with the first photo above, I used it from Flickr and gave credit back to the photographer and also a link to their profile.

So what is this Creative Commons license?

It is a simple license that gives the user the ability to use something depending on the license without any compensation except for some credit. You can read all the different types of licensing and what you can and can’t do here: About the license.

So how do you find photos on Flickr?

Pretty simple really. Just go to the advanced search on Flickr here -> Flickr Advanced Search and type in the keywords you are searching for. Once that is done make sure you scroll down and find the “

Notice the other two checkboxes? You don’t need to check them unless you are using the image on a commercial site or if you plan to modify it to reuse.

After you hit the search you will be happy to find many images to choose from…

I hope this helps you to keep your blog legal and to keep you out of trouble.

If you have anything to add please feel free to comment below.


( If you are reading this anywhere but my blog, you can find the original post here. )

6 thoughts on “Why any old image just won’t do…”

  1. Very good information…a lot of people don’t realize that just because the image is on the web that doesn’t necessarily means they are free to use it without permission. Hope you will repost this article on BeingArtists.com in the near future. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for your comment Chris… I will certainly repost on the Being Artists site as soon as it is launched…

      So many people don’t realize that you just can’t copy other people’s work…

  2. Phil:

    Finally see your new blog post again. I was once notified by Getty Image about the same issues. However, the image was licensed and latter removed from the Getty Image for some reason. I would not recommend anyone to enable Getty Image on their Flickr account. That was the issues I had with them.

    I currently use BigStockPhoto.com, which is more expensive than iStockPhoto. I also use Flickr to find image too. Great tips!

    I would love to see more photos of yours. How do you like your new camera so far? :)

    Terence Chang

    • Hey Terence,

      Thanks for letting us know about Getty…

      I haven’t had a chance to take too many photos yet, but look for more soon when the weather gets nicer here…

      So far I love the Nikon D3100…

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