So how do you know what you can and can’t use, whether you have to attribute all images or not and where to find the best pictures without getting yourself into any trouble?
Want to know how to find images for your blog, the legal way? Read on:
Images for Blogging Using Your Own Camera
How good are you are taking your own photographs? Other than selfies of course!
When you create images for blogging using your own camera, you own the photos, so there should be no legal issues, just as long as you haven’t snapped a shot of something that’s protected in some way, like a company logo.
These days just about everybody has access to a camera on their smart phones. Of course the quality of photos taken can vary a lot depending on how powerful your phone camera is. Always make sure your pictures are clear and of a quality that is acceptable to readers.
Depending on what you blog about this could be tricky though. Easy enough for travel and food bloggers, where access to your subject matter is all around you, but a little more challenging if you’re blogging about celebrities, unless you’re also moonlighting as a paparazzi photographer.
If you have an interest in photography, you like the creative challenge and have the time, this is still the number one way to get unique photographs for your blog.
Use Free Images for Blogs
You can also free images for blogs which is probably one of the most popular methods, especially when you’re just starting out. You may also see these referred to as stock images.
There are a great many websites that feature thousands of pictures under what is known as the Creative Commons license CSO. These can be used freely and legally, even for commercial purposes. You don’t even have to attribute the image which means reference back to the original owner of the photo.
Some more popular free image websites you may want to use include:
A fellow blogging friend of mine recently wrote a post titled, 57 Free Photos Sites for Your Website. If you’re looking for more resources then I definitely recommend you visit his post.
There are also some writing platforms that include access to royalty free pictures from within the application. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to go to other websites to find photos so it makes your job a lot easier.
If you’ve read many of my other posts, you will know that I am a firm supporter and user of the Wealthy Affiliate business platform. In my experience it offers the best value training, tools and support for bloggers. The platform is especially ideal for beginners although the site caters for all levels of expertise.
As a WA member, one of the tools you have access to is called SiteContent. This is a writing creation tool where you can write and publish your posts directly to your WordPress blog from within the Wealthy Affiliate website.
This makes creating content a lot easier, but what I most like about it is that you have access to thousands of usable pictures as you write. Another plus is that the images are all automatically optimized to be the best size for your post.
Check out my screenshot below to get an idea of how this works.
While free image websites make finding pictures for blogging much easier, you need to be aware that using these comes with a downside.
If everybody shopped at the same store and bought the same clothes as you, what do you think would happen? Yes an awful lot people would be wearing the same outfits as you. Not a great look if you want to stand out.
This is true of free images as well. Remember there are millions of bloggers who all have access to the same pictures. It’s not uncommon to see the same images used all over the Internet.
That means your blog could start to look the same as too many others which is not a good idea since your website must stand out if you’re going to ‘be seen’ and noticed.
There are two ways around this: Don’t select the first images that come up in search results. That’s what lazy bloggers do.
Take your time and work through the results. If possible choose images that are further down on the list. These are less likely to have been used as much.
The other way is to disguise and change the images which is what we will look at next.
An English language idiom states that ‘an image is worth a thousand words but only if it’s the right image and legal or you could be paying out thousands of dollars in legal fees instead.Click To Tweet
Dress up Your Free Blogging Images
One way of making your free blogging images look different is to use one of the many image editing sites and dress them up a bit so they are disguised or changed in some way.
You can do this by adding filters, using only part of the image or adding words. This is exactly what I did with the title picture for this post.
Three good sites I use and can recommend are:
If you’ve not used Canva yet, then I definitely recommend you head over to https://www.canva.com and take a look. In fact the best way is to have a play, but beware it can be quite alluring and swallow up a lot of time, but great fun nonetheless.
Another tool I use a lot and often prefer to use is Stencil, mostly because I find it easier and faster. Also, as long as you have a paid subscription, for as little as $6 a month, you don’t have to pay any extra for premium images or icons which is the case with Canva.
The title picture for this post was created using Stencil. There is a free and paid version. I always suggest checking out the free version first to see if you like it enough.
This website is similar to Canva and also offers free and paid versions. Check it out at https://desygner.com
Buy Premium Images
If you have the budget you can also buy the right to use images for blogs under various types of license. The advantage of this is that you’ll usually have a far better selection of images from which to choose. There’s also less chance as many people will have used the same image.
Although you can purchase images individually from sites like CanStockPhoto, Dreamstime and iStockphoto, it can work out quite costly if you do this frequently.
What I do which works well is to either buy a subscription or prepay for a number of image credits. Some sites, like DepositPhotos (the one I use), offer good deals once or twice a year when you can buy photo credits for a good price.
Once purchased you can redeem these as and when you need to. Just make sure that the credits don’t have an expiry date.
I tend to only use premium images when I’m looking for something specific that I can’t find as a free image.
Create Your Own Screenshots
Finally, another way of creating images for you blog is to take a screen shot.
This means capturing part of your computer screen as an image. This is particularly useful when you want to show people a visual of a computer program interface.
You can see an example of a screenshot I used under the ‘Free Images for Your Blogs’ section above where I took a screenshot of the Wealthy Affiliate SiteContent tool interface.
Most computers have a tool you can use, but you may have to search for it in your included applications. In Windows versions from XP onward you will find a handy, easy to use tool called the “Snipping Tool”.
Here’s’ a screen shot of what this looks like once activated.
You simply click ‘New”, capture the part of the screen you want to use and save it as an image to your computer.
It’s also handy to be able to add arrows and text to screenshots as I did with the SitContent image above. To do this, I use another free tool called Monosnap.
How to Find Images for Your Blog – Some Final Tips
Finding images for your blog that are legal and unique may feel like daunting task, but it’s actually quite easy once you’ve created a ‘toolkit’ of of your favorite resources.
Do this by bookmarking some of your favorite tools and websites shared in this post. Whenever you write a new post, decide why you want to use a certain type of image and what you hope to achieve by using it. Then you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for and the best method of finding it.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as an ‘arty’ person, the more you work with images the easier it gets to know what will work and what won’t.
Whatever you do, don’t be scared of using images. You now know how to find images for your blog the legal way. All it takes is practice and before you know it you’ll be an expert at spicing up your blog with visuals your readers will love.
Over To You
What is your biggest takeaway, after reading this post?
If you have any questions about this topic or have something to say please start or join the conversation below in the comments area.
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