A blog post is nothing if it doesn’t have images. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
When it comes to the finding the images there are generally three options – using your own, using ‘stock’ images, or searching the internet. I’ll show you how to do all three but before I do let me first say…
YOU CANNOT USE IMAGES YOU FIND ON THE INTERNET
Yeah, that was in all caps and red. It’s important. Using images you ‘found’ on the internet is illegal for one, and sucks the life out of the people who create them.
General Statement: For those that don’t know, the person who took the image is the copyright holder. Copyright is always implied. It doesn’t matter that the image was on a public website. It doesn’t matter if there was no watermark. It doesn’t matter that there was no copyright wording at the bottom of the site. If you really want to use a picture you found on the web you’ll need the expressed permission of the copyright owner first. The person who took the image is the copyright holder. Period.
“Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”
— U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ
Are we clear on that? Crystal? Ok, moving on…
1. USE YOUR OWN IMAGES
The easiest and best way to use images in a blog post is by using the images you have taken. Seems easy enough right? It’s also the best way to make your site standout because nobody will have the same images. Just in case, here’s a post on doing just that WordPress 101: Adding Images. Guess who got in trouble using their own images? That’s right. Nobody.
2. USE A STOCK IMAGE
When I say stock image you’ll naturally think about the sites where you can purchase the right to use images like iStockPhoto.com or ShutterStock. These are great sites for spectacular images that you can purchase (for a few bucks) to use on your site. They are copyright protected but by purchasing them you have permission to use them. That beautiful family on the right. I bought them over on iStockPhoto! Yay for capitalism, eh?
3. CREATIVE COMMONS
If copyright is automatically implied and you need permission from the copyright owner to use an image how does anybody get any work done? Wouldn’t it create a bureaucratic log jam? Yes it would. “Creative Commons” to the rescue! In their words…
Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.
There are several different licenses that an owner can choose from. Watch this video for an explanation of each.
Creative Commons doesn’t just cover an image – it can cover an entire site.
Ok, but how do I find these Creative Commons Licensed Images?
Good question. If your site is on WordPress (shouldn’t every site be?) I really like the PhotoDropper plugin. With a few clicks it’ll find the images you want in Flickr and insert the proper credit for them into your post. What does the proper credit look like? See that Blood Sucking Vampire Bat picture? (eek!) – that was from PhotoDropper. The credit is at the bottom of this post. PhotoDropper is fast and it’s free!
We can do it manually too. The Flickr Advanced Image Search will get you to the manual search in Flickr. You’ll have to check the CC box and insert the credit manually. Did you know you can also search Google? It has a box called “Usage Rights”. Want to search even more sites? Creative Commons also hosts a fabulous search on their website offering 13 different platforms for images, video, sound and so much more!
That’s it. 3 ways to add images to your blog posts and not suck.
* not to confuse the subject but there is also what is called ‘fair use’ (which plenty of people will tell you is a misnomer). Google it.