The ever-present blogging headache: images for blog posts.
I remember when I first started blogging some 4 years ago, we all would just… hit up Google for images. Yup, hit up Google Images, do a quick search and slap an image onto a blog post. Sometimes with a quick “source: Google Images” link or sometimes not.
And then the horror stories started rolling in.
Why You Should Stop Using Google Images
This seems to be widely known, but the thing is? I still come across bloggers pulling images from Google Images without really knowing about the possible consequences.
And boy, are there consequences.
Did you know that you could be fined $8,000 for an image pulled from Google Images (or other sources) due to copyright infringement? Yup. Even if you cited and linked back to the photographer.
Maybe you’ve missed it, maybe you’ve seen it but there’s an itty bitty notice on Google Images (and Bing Images and other services) that tells you – this image might be copyright.
You could have the best of intentions, not have known you were infringing upon copyrights, you could’ve linked back to your resource, had a nice disclaimer on your blog regarding images, and have a blog that’s not monetized (that is, you made exactly zero money from using the image), and you could still get sued.
So what can you do?
Well, for one – stop using images from Google images or other search engines. Stop using images that you didn’t take yourself. Assume that anything and everything is copyrighted unless it is clearly marked as fair used. This include images found on Pinterest, Tumblr and other blogs. If you’re linking to other blogs, make sure you check with the blog’s owner or check their policies.
So now that I’ve sufficiently (hopefully) warned you against Google Images, you might be thinking but Fran, I don’t always have time or the skills to take a picture for every. single. post. Then, what? I can’t afford stock images!. FRET NOT. There’s a lot of sites that offer free use photos, below are my top 4 favorites.
Top 4 Free Stock Images Resources
Death to the Stock
Death to the Stock is my personal favorite source for images on my blog that I don’t take myself. I used Death to the Stock on my blog all the time and also use it on demo blogs for my premade themes. They work as an email subscription service – every month you get a set of images you can save on your computer and then access anytime and use in just about any way you like – there are some restrictions [“Plain English” license] regarding redistribution, you may not claimed the images as your own or claimed that DTTS is endorsing your brand. Images also must not be used in pornography, hate speech, etc. If you want access to previous sets, you can pay $20 a month and have access to ALL their images anytime, plus extra images each month.
Unlike DTTS, Unsplash is a website and you can access ALL their images anytime without paying. They’re my second go-to resource. Their style is a little more varied than DTTS since the images they shared come from a multitude of photographers. They publish 10 new photos every 10. My only gripe about Unsplash is their lack of a search bar on the site. They do have an easy browse option, which makes it much easier to find photos. Images found on Unsplash may be edited and used throughout the web for both personal and commercial purposes, without permission or attribution.
Pixabay works much closer to a traditional stock photography site but again – free images to use on your blog. In addition to photos, they also have free vectors and illustrations, which is awesome for designers! Images found on Pixabay may also be edited and used throughout the web for both personal and commercial use. However, they do specify some limitations, especially regarding images with identifiable people in them.
Creative Commons allows you to do targeted searches on sites like Flickr and even Google Images for images that have been shared under a creative commons license – meaning, you can use them on your blog without fear of getting sued or having to pay thousands of dollars on fines. If you must search Google Images, do it through Creative Commons.