When I first started a blog, I wanted to find some great free photography websites so I could use pictures in my blog. Since I started this blog I have been asked several times “Can I use pictures in my blog?” and also where to get royalty free pictures.
Of course you can as long as you follow some simple rules. The easiest way to stay out of trouble is to take the pictures yourself. You then have the rights to use those images anyway you feel fit to do so. Of course if you are using a celebrity’s likeness to sell a product, even if you took the photo yourself, you could get in trouble without their permission. But for the most part if you took the picture you can use it in any way you want to use the photo.
There are two main types of licencing that you can get. One is called “Creative Commons Zero.” This type of image licensing means you can use the image anyway you want without needing any additional permission or attribution. Obviously that is the easiest to use and one you can begin your journey on in blogging and website development. It is a great starting point for building an online business. Then there is “Creative Commons with Attribution.” This is, well, just like it sounds, you can use the image anyway you like but you will need to add an attribution to the photo, generally in a caption. I will explain more on this later.
Pay for Rights
You can also pay for the rights to use photos. There are so many sites out there that you can buy pictures for commercial use. The important thing here is that you read and follow the rules of use from the website. These photos can cost anywhere from $1 on up to $20 each. They are great quality photos though so it might be worth your time and money to use them. For example Shutterstock is one of the pay for picture sites.There are very few websites that have free creative commons zero photographs. Some sites you have to ask permission to use the photo in a commercial setting. If it is unclear what you must do, better to error on the side of caution and just ask permission.
Others state you have to make an attribution to the photo. This is many times as simple as putting a caption under the photo stating “photo taken by John Smith”. Sometimes you need to add their website to the caption as well. Just read the individual rights on the picture and be sure you follow those rules.
Free photographs for Commercial Use
There are also sites out there that allow you to use the photos for free. Some again state you have to make an attribution to the photo, as I stated above this is very easy to do. Just follow the rules. Most sites will state the rules on each picture. Be warry of sites that give a general disclaimer on the pictures for all of them. It is best if they are very clear on each photo.
There are many free sites that allow you to not use attribution. Each photo is listed under the subject and it states exactly what you need to do or don’t need to do. Some of the best sites that I have found are Pixabay and PicJumbo.
I personally like Pixabay best. The reasons are very simple. You can easily navigate around the site. Click on a picture you like and easily see if attribution is required. You also have three options for each picture. I normally download the smallest one and then adjust for the size I need. It is one of the best tools out there due to the search. They are linked to Shutterstock so you will see sponsored images from Shutterstock on the site.
The other site I really like to find free images on would be PicJumbo. While they are just as comprehensive it is sometime a bit more difficult to navigate around the site than Pixabay. But really the images are very nice and easy to download. It seems a few more images need attribution but that is really not a big deal.
Once You Have a Photograph
Okay so now you have downloaded your photo and you are ready to use it in your website or blog. You can upload it directly to your site. But wait one second. You really should change the name of the file to help with SEO. Don’t keep that old name instead make it something that applies to your topic at hand, or make it one of your keywords. Also make sure that you utilize the alternate text feature on your image to give you that little bit more of a push on SEO for your post or page.
There are actually many places you can get images that you can use for free. Don’t just Google and use the images from there. This can be a time bomb waiting to go off. You maybe infringing on copywritten photos. So just use sites that show the individual rights to use the photos and follow those rules.
Please let me know what free royalty free photograph sites that you use. Or if you have any questions please leave them below.