Having quality images on your website, blog and social media posts is essential. (Want to know why? Check out Why Using Images in Posts is Important.) Finding the perfect image can be difficult, particularly when you’re navigating through the complexities of copyright laws.
In this post we’re going to look at how to determine whether or not you can use an image, and I’ll share with you a few places I use to find images for my websites and posts. But before we get started, let’s discuss why it’s important to follow copyright laws.
Why You Must Obey Copyright Laws
The simple answer is this. You must obey copyright laws because, well, they’re laws! If you don’t and you get caught, you are legally obliged to compensate the copyright owner.
Imagine this: You’ve finally found the perfect image for your latest blog post, so you upload it, publish it, and share it. You hear nothing for 6 months. In fact, you’ve forgotten all about that blog post. Then, you receive an email. It’s from the owner of the image you used, and they want compensation.
Yep. You’ve violated copyright laws, and it’s going to cost you thousands! (This isn’t always the case. Some copyright owners are happy for you to remove the image. But don’t risk it!)
Photographs and images are protected by different kinds of copyright laws. Here are the three most common:
- Public Domain: Public domain images have no copyright owner. They are free to use by anyone, for any purpose. Government websites often have images in the public domain, and some photographers choose to put their photos in the public domain.
- Rights Protected: The photographer determines which rights are protected. For example, you may be able to use an image, as long as you do not modify it, and include image credit in your post.
- Royalty Free: You purchase royalty free images, and once paid for, you can do whatever you like with them. Remember, multiple people can purchase the same image, so royalty free does not guarantee uniqueness.
Where to Find Images for Your Website
There are hundreds of stock photo websites, but here are some of my favourites.
Flickr is an image sharing website free to use for everyone. You’ll find some fantastic, high-quality photos, but ensure you check the usage rights. Flickr allows each user to determine the usage rights of their images. After searching, select the ‘Any license’ dropdown menu on the left of the screen, and select the appropriate license. ‘All creative commons’ is a good place to start.
MorgueFile.com is a mixed bag. You’ll find some great images, as well as some low-quality photographs. All photos are free to download and use.
Pixabay.com is a great site for free stock photos and graphics. All photos are free to download and use, and are available in a range of sizes.
123rf.com is a site with both free and paid images. Head to 123rf.com/browsefreeimages and search from there.
If you’re ready to give your website a makeover, we’d love to hear from you. You can check out our web design services, or give us a call on 1300 554 495. You can also send through an email, if that’s easier.
Image credit: Maria Elena