A picture paints a thousand words and putting one on your blog post can not only save you hours of gruesome writing but can also improve your reader’s user experience. And heck, in this new age of social media and search engine optimization (even for images), having a good and appropriate photo can mean shares, pins, tweets and likes which ultimately mean links and traffic.
Images are important; that’s not up for discussion, but what many bloggers and publishers don’t know is the manner they can properly use images for their articles, posts and content. So here’s Creative Commons guide that you should memorize if you don’t want to go into an (future) image copyright trouble like in the case Pinterest.
Copyright Free Images means images that are free from copyright and therefore can be used however you like it (that includes editing it, altering it and yes, posting it in your blog).
Royalty Free images are different from Copyright Free Images or Free Stock Photos. Don’t be confused with the word Free. Royalty Free like those implemented by websites like Getty Images iStockphoto, Shutterstock and many others mean that you can use some of their images with limitations, and for further use you have to pay for certain license which again, are not absolute ( again with certain limitations / conditions).
It all depends on who owns the copyright. In a really bad case scenario you can get your blog or website taken down via a DMCA complaint or you can get sued (here is a special case of content / image copyright legal case for you). Worst, the world will call you a thief.
There are a lot of websites that offer photos without copyright that you can use. Check some of them below:
Stockvault currently has over 31,000 no copyright images. Register now and be among the 49,000+ members who can use images, totally free of charge.
FreeDigitalPhotos has a good categorization of photos and illustrations. All images in small sizes can be used freely, provided you will link to the owner of the photo. Versions of the images with high resolution and size are available for $5 and $10.
ImageAfter has an intuitive image color search feature. Images are free to use. The site also accepts photo donations from contributors.
Another good source of free pictures is Photl. Small and Medium photo sizes are free to download and use while Large and Extra Large photos can be purchased for around $2.
EveryStockPhoto is a good resource for every blogger. There are millions of photos on its database and it ranges from regular photos to high resolutions to those shot in High Dynamic Range.
Freerange is one of the best website that holds copyright free images. You can use Freerange images both for personal and commercial purposes.
If you’re a photographer, whether amateur or professional, you can upload images and take a share of the website’s Google Adsense revenue sharing program.
PhotoExpress can answer your blogging photo needs fast. The website hosts millions of images and are available for free use with lifted restrictions for paid options.
Don’t mistake the website’s name for something gory, MorgueFile is a decent source of free images for blogs. The site’s blog is also a good resource for artists and photography enthusiasts.
SXC.hu has one of the largest collections of copyright free pictures in the Internet. Thousands of photographers share their images on the website.
Yahoo’s photosharing and image hosting website Flickr will always be on this kind of lists. There are millions of images that you can use provided you will abide by Creative Commons (CC) License. Be sure to check individual photo licenses so you won’t go into any trouble.
If you want to dig deeper into copyrights and images, you can check VintagePhoto’s page. If you know of a good source of copyright free images that your fellow bloggers and publishers can use, share it via comment section.