Anyone who has either had their own blog or been responsible for managing the content on a website before will know, getting hold of good quality images can be incredibly difficult. However, there are plenty of online resources which will help you find great images when starting a blog or website.
Thanks to the incredible power of social media and Google, finding images online is easier than ever. Millions of photos can be accessed with just a few clicks of the mouse, be it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or through Google image search.
However, be very careful when using images for your blog. This is because by using an image without permission, you immediately open yourself up to potential copyright violation. Photographers or authors can then prosecute you for this, or demand you pay large sums of money for the usage of their intellectual property.
It’s a minefield, but there are some options that are both free, easy and offer you real peace of mind. Here are just a few:
- Getty Images
If you know anything about photography or journalism, you will almost certainly have heard of Getty Images. They are arguably the biggest commercial image agency in the world, operating in just about every single country with photographers spanning the globe. Their rates are usually incredibly high, however a couple of years ago they did something huge. And incredibly cool.They introduce an embed option for their images, meaning that webmasters can now search their website for photographs and for many of them, there is now an option to embed these within your blog. No payment. You don’t even have to sign-up for an account. The only down side is that you have to use the code as provided, and so this will bring some caption information over – a small price to pay for world class imagery!
- Free photo stock websites
A quick Google search will find a handful of great websites offering a limited number of professional photographs for free use on websites. Subject areas can be hit and miss, and choice within those areas sometimes a little thin, but they’re well worth checking out. Try to steer away from stock photography that looks just that – stock. Don’t forget, your trying to make your blog genuine, so if you’re going to use photographs that aren’t yours they need to be artistic or a little bit different. Do not use an image for the sake of doing so. Make sure it adds something to the story.
- Creative commons imagery
A great resource for photographs for you to use on your website free of charge is the likes of Flickr and Wikipedia. Now before continuing, please note that NOT ALL images on these two sites can be used, let alone for free. Instead, you’re looking for images that have a Creative Commons license.On Wikipedia, click any image and beneath the large version of the photo will be the license and copyright information. On Flickr, you can perform an image search which enables you to filter results that are on a Creative Commons license. Also pay close attention to the usage information with each image, and how you should caption that photo on your website. You will almost always have to give credit to the photographer or source of the image when published it on your blog.
Okay, some people will see nothing can be as good as free, however there are some websites which offer massive libraries of photographs and graphics for a small cost. The likes of 123rf.com have an enormous library of images that are different costs for different sizes. It’s also useful because images are sold in credits, so you buy a stock of credits (e.g. 10) and then purchase images from that credit, usually around 3-4 credits per image if you want a file that is a good size for web use.