Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to Find Pictures for Your Blog

When I first started blogging, I used Google to find pictures. I knew I might eventually run into copyright issues, so I stopped and looked for other options. Below are my notes from the research I did about sites that offer royalty free pictures.

One side note: Before creating an account on photo sites, I hardly ever received spam e-mail. Now I receive spam mail every single day. Make sure you have a good spam filter on the e-mail you use to register on these sites. I'm not sure which of the four triggered that: Deposit Photos, Fotolia, iStock or Dreamstock.

What's Royalty Free?
According to this article from Stock Photo Guide, royalty free is "a type of license that gives you permission to use a stock image in certain ways. Royalty free means you are not required to pay a royalty each time you use an image."

Royalty free doesn't mean we can use the pictures whichever way we want. Some licenses may not allow you to use the pictures for commercial purposes, for example. Others may specifically state that the pictures cannot be modified. Each site has its own specific rules, so make sure you read the license carefully before using any pictures, even when they're free.

Pictures on Flickr are free to use, but require you to credit the author by linking back to their profile.  This article on Skelliewag.org gives advice on how to find and use images on Flickr.

[The article mentioned above is no longer available, but you can find Flickr advice here instead. (edited 3/28/17)]

Users can search images within six types of Creative Commons copyright licenses.  To be on the safe side, search for images within the Attribution License, which allows you to modify the images and to use them for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. The other five licenses are more restrictive.

I never use Flickr, because I don't want to bother linking back to that site every time I use a picture, and I found the quality of pictures was generally lower than on paying sites.

MS Office Clipart
I occasionally use MS Office Clipart pictures when I'm in a hurry to find a picture.  I tried to find out if it's okay to use them for blogging, but every answer I find links to this contract, which is very tedious to read.  I'm assuming it's okay, since I'm not using them for resale or business purposes.

Deposit Photos
Most of the time, I use Deposit Photos to find pictures for my blog. This site doesn't offer free photos, but I always find a good selection of pictures on that site for only $0.50 each. I don't mind paying for getting exactly the picture I want. The minimum purchase is $10.00 for 10 credits, and all the pictures I bought so far cost 1/2 credit each.

Fotolia offers some free pictures, but most are sold for 1 credit or more. The minimum purchase is 10 credits at $1.30 per credit (cheaper for greater quantities). A bit expensive compared to Deposit Photos.

Dreamstime offers free pictures as well, but most of them cost credits. The minimum purchase is 8 credits for $9.99, which is good for up to 8 pictures. It all sounded good, so I registered and bought some credits.  There was a catch, though.  In order to download any of them, even the free ones, I was asked to update my profile information, including my first and last name and my mailing address. I became very suspicious of that site for this reason. Why would they need my mailing address? I'm thinking I'll probably start getting a lot of junk mail if I enter it. They'll let you create an account and buy credit by just entering your e-mail, but then you can't use it unless you complete your profile information. Hmm... Fishy.

iStock Photos
iStock Photos doesn't offer free photos, as far as I know.  The minimum purchase is 6 credits for $9.99. I found it a bit pricey, although they have a good selection of photos to choose from.

Articles About Finding Royalty Free Pictures
I know there are a lot more sites out there where bloggers can find royalty-free pictures. I haven't looked into them because the sites I've found so far are enough for my needs. For further research, I suggest you read the following articles.

Squidoo: Finding and Using Public Domain and Royalty Free Images and Clip Art Pictures
About.com: Top 6 Sites to Find Free Photos to Use on Your Blog
Mashable: 26 Places to Find Free Multimedia for Your Blog
Squidoo: Where to Find Free Images & How to Use Them

Where do you get pictures for your blog?


Jess said...

Wonderful links and tips~ this is super helpful! Thanks :)

Annie McMahon said...

You're welcome, Jess! Glad you found it helpful.

Unknown said...

Interesting. I wonder if anyone will ever find a pirated pic on my blog and ask me to take it down. Then at least I'd know someone besides my friends was looking at it. :-D

Marcia said...

This is terrific info, all in one place.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

such a great post and info, annie! i work online, and copyright is like the wild west all over the web!!

Anonymous said...

Great info Annie... so hard to find photos to use without issues... in my travels I've come across a few sites that offer me just that... Since you're so awesome and a great friend, I'll share them:

http://www.morguefile.com/archive/ These are free with no tag back to site required. They are not the best, but sometimes you can find good things in there.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ This has better quality photos, and all you have to do is credit the author and add a hyperlink back to the site on the photo. It's worth it.

http://www.freepixels.com/ Not too many here, but worth checking to see what's new and free to use.

http://www.stockvault.net/ Search in the free section as there are some nice photos here.

Also, if you love a photo on DevianART, by asking the artist, they usually have no issues with using it as long as you give them credit and link back.


Joseph Hollins said...

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