If you are just grabbing images off the web, from google image search, other blogs etc, and think that there is no copyright!! Beware. A change to the copyright act some years ago means that there is always an implicit right on images. So……..Stop it!! Read on for the solution to this problem.
Creative Commons Licenses
One of the best ways to find free images is to use images licensed under the Creative Commons License. These are licenses that allow photographers to choose how they want their images to be used. Many websites offer such photos which are free to be used, as long as you abide by their licensing requirements. This usually means in the worst case that you have to attribute the photo to them, and/or you cannot change it. Their are varying requirements and you should check them when you use an image. The link below is to the licenses and their exact meaning.
Flickr Advanced Search
- a more useful link, this is the advanced search for Flickr where you can specify the type of license
* Note at the bottom of the search is this section, where you can choose “Creative Commons” or more specific parts of the license
- Still on the Flickr Theme, this is also a Flickr Creative Commons search tool/website, but the usability is a bit better than the flickr standard site
** I have since played with this a bit more and found that they are a bit sneaky and the images appear under a heading “Sponsored Images” and are not free, look below them (below the dotted line) for the free images
Obviously Wikipedia is a bastion of openness, and their section Wiki Commons has many images you might find useful
- the majority of images on Wikipedia have also been released by their owners for usage, just double check before you use it what license it has
Outside of these main areas are a range of other sites, some I find quite hard to navigate, others promoting paid images in the search results, and some that I find it extremely messy and confusing. Therefore, the following are the ones that I personally use as they are simple and don’t seem to have a hidden agenda.
- I have used this search a lot and found some nice images for simple meanings (Flickr on the other hand has a lot of photography you need to sift through)
* the other tabs on the search results clearly divide and show other results, which I believe are all pay options (Dreamstime, ShutterStock etc)
- Another nice interface with a great photo selection of Public Domain Images, but also shows some “sponsored images” so be aware of that
- a reasonable option, but you need a login
I am an Aussie Web Designer living in Switzerland. I spend a lot of my time blogging, podcasting and helping businesses grow online. I am a huge fan of the outdoors, I am often in the mountains. It's either that, or dabbling in magic. I stumbled across blogging while recovering from a broken leg I got skiing, and I have not stopped blogging since! Join me in reaching for the top!