Is that photo you’re posting legal?

camera-1191286-1279x850Photo courtesy of freeimages.com/mustafapisirici

How do you look for photos to post? Do you simply do a Google image search and hope for the best?

You may want to rethink that strategy.

Random Google photos may well be copyrighted — whether or not they say so — and you could get in trouble (i.e. sued) for posting them.

But never fear, as there are great ways to get photos legally, and most are free.

FreeImages.com is one of my favorite ways to get free photos. You search for a photo based on theme, as you would in Google, and all you have to do is download and attribute (to both freeimages and the photographer). As you can see, I use a lot of freeimages.com photos on this blog. They have a decent selection and they’re pretty high-quality too, though you probably won’t find too many (if any) celebrity photos here. Freeimages.com also plays host to a stock photo site, so be careful when searching that your photo is actually a free image.

Flickr’s Creative Commons is another good and fairly well-known source. There are several different types of copyrights here, so check the photo to be sure you have the right to use it. You can find celebrity photos here, though the selection may not be too fabulous.

Press photos are the best free way to find celebrity photos on the Internet. You simply go to the website of the artist you’re interested in and click on the press section. You should find a variety of photos to suit your purpose, but be sure to credit the photographer, and if you are feeling especially nice, send a link to their press person, with the article.

The safest option is to take your own photos, of course. Even if you don’t consider yourself a great photographer, you can take decent pics on a mobile device or cell phone, and you don’t even need to take fancy photography courses to do so (though it wouldn’t hurt). If you enjoy it, you can always upgrade with a digital camera. Content creators like to think of themselves as writers primarily, but we live in a digital age, and that can’t be ignored. If you can bill yourself as a photographer in addition to a writer, you’ll be all the more valuable when you market your services.

Death to the Stock Photo is an interesting, though less convenient site. Technically they are free, but to really get the most out of their service, you have to pay. For free, they occasionally send a packet of photos with a certain theme, once a month. It’s a good idea to stockpile these photos for future use in your media library. Hubspot also recently offered a bunch of free photos, and they’re a good site to follow as well.

Finally, you can always pay for it. Sign up for a photo service like Getty Images, and you’ll find high-quality photos you can use for your site.

What you choose depends on your budget and individual needs. Whatever you do, don’t think you can get away without using photos on Twitter or other social media. Your audience is expecting them.

And now, you tell me, my faithful readers. Is there a free or low-cost photo service I missed that you rely on regularly?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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