One thing I don’t do enough of, is make a practice of using images in my blog. I admit, I’m lazy and don’t want to do the extra work, and there is all that confusing copyright stuff, and where do you find them?
Up to this point the images I had included were screenshots that I had taken to help illustrate a how to post. Since I created the image, I didn’t have to think about finding it or the attribution. But today that is changing, it’s the new year after all and I want to improve my blog.
What you need to know – Copyright issues
Yes, you can find images on the web to use in your blog. You don’t have to source them all yourself. But before you run off to Google Image search and grab the first cool image you come across, educate yourself about the copyright issues.
Public Domain and Creative Commons
For most of you, who just need an image to make your blog post more visually interesting and to get the topic across more quickly, public domain and images published under the creative commons license are the two sources of images you will be dealing with. However keep in mind that there are different licensing rules if you modify the image or use it for commercial reasons. I’m not covering those topics in detail here but read the rules and you should be fine.
Images from the Public Domain are free to use, with no strings attached. They have been contributed to the public for its use. The “thinking boy” image above, is an example of such an image. He is from The Open Clip Art Library and was contributed by Ryan Lerch. This is a great resource for illustrations.
If you use an image published under the Creative Commons License, in most cases you are expected to include an attribution to the creator as well as state that the image is licensed under Creative Commons. Creative Commons licenses give artists control on how others may use their work, for example they may or may not grant permission for image modification. A really popular source of images licensed under Creative Commons is Flickr. Flickr Creative Commons Search is a great place to look at photographs to use in your blog.
Free versus Paid Images
For Free images there are a number of resources. Generally you will need to create an account to download them and the images are free to use but often you will need to create an attribution/link back to their site. Sometimes you have to pay for the higher resolution versions. Here are a few sites to check out:
For images that you pay for, you have more freedom to “use them as your own”. While it can get expensive for the higher resolution images, low res images are fine for your blog and are cheap. For example $1-$2 is common at iStockPhoto. These royalty free images are a great solution for websites where an attribution would look out of place.
Want more? This post by PresentationZen has a more extensive list..
Useful Searches Here are a few ways to search for photos other than going to the sites above.
- Google Image Search – filter by usage rights in the advanced search
- PhotoRee – searches the Flickr database
- Flick Creative Commons
With all these great resources, it opens a new world of possibilities to make my blog posts more visually appealing. Although I’m still working on the “lazy” excuse.
Other fellow bloggers to check out:
- For some “nuts and bolts” info on working with images in your blog check out this problogger introduction post .
- Protecting copyrighted images from illegal use is a huge issue on web, especially for artists. A topic for a future post.