Whether you love to take your own photos or not, most bloggers need to find free stock images or free photos for their blog at some point. But as a few recent horror stories have shown, how to find free and legal images for your blog is NOT so simple. Here are three things you need to know!
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Before I get to the tips on how to find free and legal images for your blog, I want to share the horror stories. You MAY have already read these, but they are scary. The first is from Allison Puryear who shares that she was sued for using an image that she got from a stock photo site. (Language warning in case that offends you!) Her malpractice insurance saved her, but the interesting thing to note is that the lawyer she spoke to said that this is COMMON. Because photographers are doing this on purpose as a cash flow. That stinks. But it's legal.
The second post is from Chrystie of Living for Naptime and she shares how several years ago, she used a photo from a Google Search (hey- a few years ago MANY of us did that ignorantly) and lost $7500. She also explains that this was an intentional practice of the photographer.
You might think that this won't happen to you, but there are three key things that everyone need to consider if using an image that they did not take. Let's get into it.
Often people stop at permission. We KNOW now that we shouldn't use an image we find on Google. But we may NOT consider the fact that we still might have to put a line underneath the image that tells where it came from and who took the photo. We also might assume that because we find a free photo or even PAY for a stock photo that we can use it on the cover of our book or sell t-shirts using the image.
But PERMISSION does not mean that you can use an image without attribution or anywhere you want. You MUST consider all three.
Every site for stock photos is different, but you want to look for the licensing and attribution information. It may help to email the company itself if this is unclear. This may vary from image to image on ONE site, which is the hard thing. You might get used to no attribution on a certain site because most don't require it and then not realize that ONE of the images does. Pay attention!
Or use a site like Pixabay, where all images fall under the Creative Commons 0 license, where you can use it for commercial purposes with no attribution. Be sure if you are searching for Creative Commons photos that you STILL read the license, as there are several different kinds of Creative Commons licenses.
Be sure that even if you are PAYING for a photo, you read the fine print. You want to be as careful as possible, especially considering that some photographers are intentionally using this as a means to make money. Smarmy, but they can. WE need to be the ones doing our due diligence on our photos!