If you’re a beginner blogger then you might be wondering how all the blogs that you read have such amazing photography. Whilst many bloggers take it upon themselves to learn photography skills and invest in a ‘proper’ camera as I like to call them, there are also those of us who make do with our smart phones and a bunch of websites that offer free stock photos!
If photography isn’t your thing, or you simply don’t have the time to invest in creating your own images, then finding free images with no copyright is a great way to keep your blog’s imagery looking professional.
There are lots of mistakes that new bloggers make when it comes to finding images on the internet and I am to answer some of these questions in this blog post, such as whether all Google images are copyright free and where you can find free stock images to use on your blog.
Can I use any image on my blog?
No you can’t. You can’t just take any image you like online and use it on your blog. Many images belong to the owner and they hold the copyright. If you use the image then you are technically stealing the image and using it without permission.
You could end up with a bill from the owner for image use and a big fine. You always need to make sure you have permission to use an image or that you have sourced a copyright free image from a reputable stock photo website.
Many people think as long as they add an image credit then that’s fine. This is wrong. It’s not enough to copy any image you like and simply add the source, unless the image is ‘royalty free’ or you have permission.
Some other bloggers and websites will be happy for you to use the images if you credit them with a backlink, but unless this is explicitly clear then always ask for permission first.
I have often been given permission to use images from brand websites or tourist attractions when I have done a review. Most of the time they are happy I am doing a review and send me some press images I can use.
How do I search for copyright free images on Google?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that it is legal to use an image from Google Images on a blog, but this is not true. These images are sourced globally from all sorts of websites and the copyright often belongs to the owner.
You should therefore always assume that any image you find is protected by copyright and is not free for you to reuse. But, there is a way to find images that are labelled for reuse on Google Images.
You can search for copyright free images on Google Images by using the advanced search options. Simply enter your image search and then click on ‘Tools’ > ‘Usage Rights’ > ‘Labelled for Reuse’.
You can then browse all the images that should be free to use. I still advise clicking through to the website and checking the copyright just to be sure. I always state the website I source my images from under each image or at the bottom of a blog post, just in case. Better to be safe and to know who told you the image was copyright free in case there ever are any issues.
Where can I get free pictures for my blog?
· Take them yourself
To get the most original photos for your blog, take them yourself. Why not carry your camera or smart phone around and take photos when out and about to start building up your own collection of stock photos for your blog?
This way you can absolutely guarantee they are copyright free as they belong to you!
Of course, I always think of doing this, but life gets hectic and I do sometimes prefer the easiness of searching for a relevant stock image online as I’m typing a blog post. So here’s how you can get free pictures for your blog online:
· Sign up to Canva
My current favourite place for professional stock images is Canva. I use Canva to create my Pinterest and blog graphics, so it makes sense to use their free stock photos too as they are all in one place. They have loads of royalty free images and if you pay to be a pro member then you have access to even more.
You can sign up for a free account, but I pay around £10 per month which gives me access to even more images and many that I’ve never seen on other free stock photo websites. If you use a lot of stock images then it’s definitely worth upgrading your Canva account if you can afford to.
· Use free stock photo websites
Before I got so hooked on Canva and had access to their huge library of images as a pro user, I always used royalty free image websites like Pexels and Pixabay. I’ve even Wikimedia Commons, but not all the images here are free to use so you need to check the image licence description.
My favourite website, however, for free blog pictures is Unsplash who offer really unique and beautiful high resolution images that are perfect for bloggers.
These are all the places I need to search. I can usually find what I’m looking for on Canva if I don’t have my own image, and then my back up go-to places are Unsplash followed by Pexels and Pixabay. There are lots more sites out there, but I nearly always find what I’m looking for on these.