Sourcing attractive images for your website or blog can be a difficult task for many. There are over 200 million blogs online today and a heap more websites, many of which use beautifully shot professional images, featuring models and celebrities, catwalk shows and commercial images. But how do they get permission to use these images? Images are often expensive so, they can’t all be paying for them surely?
Well, the truth is, a lot of people are using these images illegally whether they know it or not. Often people think their little site won’t get caught, or genuinely believe that if they credit a picture or source, that they have permission to use it on their site. This is huge untruth and one that can cost you dearly.
Copyright laws can be tricky whatever part of the world you’re from, and you could be financially liable for posting copyrighted images, regardless of the circumstances. Pleading ignorance or simply taking down the images when instructed can still result in hefty four figure fines. Finding images on the web does not lawfully mean they are in the public domain or available for use without first paying a fee. Even images found and shared on sites such as Pinterest and Tumblr are copyrighted.
If you want to use copyrighted images, you’ll first have to licence them through a Stock Photo site such as iStockPhoto or Shutterstock. They licence royalty-free images, which means you only have to pay for the image once, and can use it multiple times without having to pay royalties every time you use it. There are different costs involved depending on the size in which you download the image, or whether you plan to use the images online, or in print or for commercial use, so do check these conditions carefully.
A great site we recommend you use is the Dollarclub. Each picture costs, you guessed it, $1, making it excellent value. You may have to search around a little, but there are some fantastic, modern images for you to use on this site, so do check it out.
We advise you to invest in good images, as attractive and well presented websites and blogs will will attract more visitors, and will make you more money. People want to see high quality images and visuals so do consider this when designing your site and choosing your images.
Of course the cheaper option would be to use your own photos, but unfortunately, for many of us, that isn’t a viable option, so if you’re only after a few images, do check out the list of free image sources below. There are loads more sites offering free images, but in all honesty, they pretty much all offer the same type of images, so we have selected the best sites in terms of being easy to use, easy to search, and for having a good selection of images.
Don’t expect too much from these sites however, as a lot of the images are very cheesy so you’ll have to spend time searching and sifting through.
Each of the Stock Photo sites below gives you access to a large catalogue of free images, in return for crediting the owner and linking the image back to their site.
Stock Vault – Great for background images
Morgue File – Their images are very bold
There is of course a high possibility that you won’t get caught for using copyrighted images, after all, everyone else seems to be getting away with it. But the question is are you willing to risk losing all of that money if you do get caught?