Ask LH: Where Can I Find Images For My Blog?

Dear Lifehacker, I'm trying to start my own blog but am finding it difficult to find images I can use. Any ideas? Thanks, Picture Imperfect

Photo: flickr.com/photos/uppyphoto/

Dear PI,

While it's tempting to grab any image online that takes your fancy, you could be violating the rights of the author and/or company that originally produced it. (In most cases, nobody is going to notice or care, but that doesn't make it any less illegal.)

This is where a Creative Commons (CC) license can help: this is one of several public copyright licenses that allows copyrighted media to be distributed and shared freely.

If you decide to respect your fellow artists and play by the rules, there are still plenty of readily available images that fall under the above category. Indeed, we sourced this article's photo from Flickr and it only took a few seconds to find something that was relevant and reusable.

Some of the most popular sites for free website images include the aforementioned Flickr (click on Advanced Search and select "creative commons"), Wikimedia Commons, the creative commons aggregation website CC Search and Google Image (to remove copyrighted material from Google Image, head to Advanced Search and adjust the usage rights filter to the appropriate setting).

You can also download apps specifically designed to provide creative commons licensed images such as CCFinder. Many people who share their own pictures on Twitter or Instagram will also be happy for you to republish them — all you need to do is get permission via a polite email or message.

The important thing is to make sure you give proper attribution to the author in the manner requested. This flowchart will give you an idea of how to credit rights holders under the various copyright licences out there.

If any bloggers have additional suggestions of their own, let PI know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    There are also a bunch of free stock photography sites like sxc.hu, which is a shill for the more expensive Getty Images (i.e. they have a crappy pics for most keywords, but display all the really good matches that you can get from the paid service in an ad above your search results).

    Buy a camera. They've become increasingly popular since the 19th century for acquiring images.

    You can waste a lot of time looking for the "right" free images online, or it may be pragmatically more efficient and cheaper use of your time to consider a service like Shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com/ either as ad-hoc purchases or subscription.

    I just did search for "happy purple hippos" and got plenty of great results. Same for "rich banker" and "indian food".

    Last edited 03/07/13 7:15 pm

    While it sounds like an individual who is blogging in this post, for anyone considering blogging which may be aligned with a business (govt, corporate or otherwise), you should be particularly careful of using copyrighted material as your business is a more worthwhile target than suing an individual. Lawyers have heart attacks over this stuff (though unfortunately not the lawyers who will sue you).

    Personally I actually like seeing blogs or whichever giving credit to pictures & other solicited material as I think it gives the blogger more credibility. They understand the Internet is a wealth of resources designed to be & kindly shared by other individuals, giving credit where credit is due is just ethically right.

    One of the hardest things when giving credit is not accidentally editing or removing the credit during the editing process. Too often I've accidentally deleted or stuffed up the credit while editing a blog/whatever as I'm too focused on the main content. In thinking about it it's a shame Blogger & similar don't give separate fields for listing credits.

    Finally my favourite free photo website is http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/. Seems everyone has a preference on these services though.

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