We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, but on websites and blogs that is, even more, the case. For example, not only does inserting images into your content help readers to visualize the ideas you are communicating, but it also helps build traffic via SEO and image searches on Google. That being said there are some very important considerations to keep in mind when acquiring images for your content.
Free Images – Not Always Free
We recognize that a big stumbling block for website owners is the uncertainty over whether an image can be used or not. One, in particular, is the possibility that you may receive a letter from a legal firm requesting the removal of a photo. I am sure that you do not want a threatening letter of being sued!
Let us take a quick look at the most common licenses that you will see for images:
- Public Domain – These are Images where the intellectual property rights have expired or images in which the owner has released them to the public domain free of charge.
- Creative Commons – Can be one of several available licenses. Creative Commons has some licenses allowing you to use and share the image if it is unchanged. You may also be required to offer some form of credit, such as a link to be displayed on your website. We strongly recommend you read the Creative Commons license that an image has before using it on your website.
- Royalty-Free – Royalty-Free does not mean that an image can be used free. It means that once you have purchased the image, you can use it as many times as you want. In other words, you do not pay every time you use the same image.
- Rights-Managed – This allows the image to be used a limited number of times. If you want to use the image more than the allowable limit imposed, you will need to pay for the privilege of reusing it past the limit.
Our advice to anyone that is unsure of the license relating to any photo you want to use, do not use it until you have emailed the owner of the image, or service selling it, and have them clarify how the image can be used. For individual photographers who are not part of a stock house or photo service, get permission is writing (ALWAYS).
Sources to Find Amazing Photos
Before we list out amazing sources of photos, people have asked where we get the images we add to our blog posts. The quick answer is Pixabay.
There are many sites that offer free photos, but you also have paid stock photo websites that give you millions of pictures! There may be times when you need something specific and premium stock houses will give you that choice. The popular ones are Getty Images (millions of images) and Shutterstock (millions of images). Ultimately, these premium sources of photos and other media are ideal for larger companies.