Using Photos: Don’t Just Grab Them from Google!Feb132017

Categories: Social Media

Using Photos: Don't Just Grab Them from Google

Photos are one of the greatest tools we have at our disposal when making a brand-new website, blogging, and adding new life to a social media page. But many people fail to understand that there are laws and regulations governing how photos can and can’t be used. Typing your desired subject into a Google search and simply copying the images from Google isn’t exactly legal. To be specific, it isn’t legal at all.

It doesn’t matter whether you knew about the laws or you didn’t. Even if you link back to the source and list the photographer's name, this doesn’t necessarily release you from liability. If you use an image without getting express PERMISSION from the copyright holder, you are violating copyright.

Luckily, there a few things you can do to obtain pictures and use them without breaking any copyright laws. Many of them are even free! However, if you want access to highly specific or quality photos, chances are you might have to pay a few dollars for the right to use them.

  1. Use Creative Commons Licensed Pictures
    You can usually use photos through a creative commons license with very little limitation. Generally, this means that you use the photo as long as you attribute the photo to the owner and link back to their site. There are many different sites out there that have search engines built into them to help you sift through all the free photos you can use. Sites like and offer thousands of different free images that you can use without limitations. The selection of photos on these sites are pretty high, so you should have no problem finding the right image. Just keep in mind that sometimes, depending on the specific subject of your photo and how specific your needs are, quality images might be somewhat difficult to find.
  2. Wikimedia Commons
    Wikimedia offers hosting and sharing of free images that fall under the Creative Commons License. At the given moment, they have over 36,795,000 free usable media files. Images from this site can be used by anyone and can be contributed by anyone. The Wikimedia Commons website is a bit difficult to search through. Rather than spitting out a bunch of images that are relevant to a search tag, the site has categories under which each image falls. So if you are planning on looking for a photo of “cookies”, you might have to be a bit more precise and state additional criteria relevant to the type of image you are looking for.
  3. Stock Photo Sites
    If you are looking for unique, high quality images, then subscribing to a stock photo website might be your best bet. These sites usually offer a certain amount of image downloads depending on your subscription type. Some of these sites also offer pay-per-pic options where you only pay per each image you are interested in. If you use images and photos frequently on your website, blog, or social media page, then subscribing to one of these sites is a very good idea. and are the two most commonly used paid stock image sites. Both of these sites have a huge number of files which can be easily found through their search engines.

Overall, finding images online isn’t that difficult. But sometimes if there is something very specific you are looking for, you might have to pay a dollar or two for that perfect image. Play your cards right and you might be able to snag a deal on sites like Alternatively, you could also try and take the images yourself with a good camera. After all, there is nothing wrong with using your own photos and you own the rights to them.