What images can I use for my online marketing or website?
Just use Google!!
WOoooo…. STOP RIGHT THERE!!!
BY using those images that Google shows, could cost you a pretty penny.. I had a client in the past week that received an invoice of $3000 for the usage of an image that he got from Google search.
Yes those images aren’t free!!! If you type in “free Elephant photos” it doesn’t mean that all the images that you see will be free, in fact only about 1% will be free.
Remember that Google searches for images that has all or one of the words in their description , that you typed in the search box.
So in effect if you see an image there, there is a 99% chance that that images doesn’t have the word free in its description.
AND if you use it you could be using an image that has copyright on it.
It doesn’t matter…
- if you link back to the original source and list the photographer’s name
- if the photo is not full-sized
- if you did it innocently (didn’t know)
- if your site is non-commercial and you made no money from the use of the photo
- if you didn’t claim the photo was yours
- if you’ve added commentary in addition to having the pic in the post
- if the picture is embedded and not saved on your server
- if you have a disclaimer on your site
- if you immediately take down a photo if someone sends you a DMCA notice (you do have to take it down, but it doesn’t absolve you.)
NONE OF THAT releases you from liability. You are violating copyright if you have not gotten express PERMISSION from the copyright holder OR are using photos that are public domain, creative commons, etc.
So what PHOTOS can I use?
- Creative Commons-licensed pics — You can search for photos that are free to use (with some restrictions) through Creative Commons. Usually this means you have to attribute the photo to the owner and link back to their site. (And there are actually really great photos available.)
- Wikimedia Commons offers free media files anyone can use. (Creative Commons license rules still apply if they attached to an image; however, many images on Wikimedia Commons are in the public domain and therefore copyright-free, meaning anyone can use and modify them for any purpose. You need to look at the description for each image and abide by those rules.
- Buy a subscription to a stock photo site — This can be pricey up front but then you have access all year. There are also sites that you can pay per pic.
- Get a professional Photographer to take the photos you need.