When you are writing a tutorial article, you can always take a screenshot and use it in the blog post. But when you are writing a generic article, it’s better to use a more “traditional” photograph.
Did you know: Legally, you are not allowed just to use any image from the internet on your blog?
If you don’t have permission, using copyrighted images can land you in serious legal trouble. In particular, if you are earning money from your blog, copyright image holders can file a DMCA complaint, and your blog post (and blog) could be removed from search engines.
But beyond the royalty-free image collections, there are many websites where all you have to do is give a source link back to the original poster.
- One of those sites is Flickr.
All you have to do to use an image for commercial purposes is give credit to the original photograph.
How To Use Flickr Advanced Search To Find Free Images For Blogs
Flickr is an image sharing website where people upload their images and add in a license.
Using the Flickr “advanced search” option, you can find images based on these licenses.
We want to search for images with a “Creative Commons (CC)” license. This will give us the photographs which are legally allowed to be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
Now, I’m not a lawyer, but it’s my understanding that “commercial purposes” means a direct monetary gain. For instance, if you use the picture in a banner ad (enticing people to click), it is “commercial use”. But if you use the picture in a blog post as a means of enhancing that post (and there’s no direct monetary gain from that post), then it’s not a “commercial purpose”.
That said, there is a legal gray area between what is considered “commercial”. It can be argued that a blog post with affiliate links or AdSense ads is indeed a “direct commercial purpose”. But again, this is a gray area with no legal precedent. If you want to play it safe, you should only search for images that allow “commercial” usage.
- Please read through the CC’s legal definition of “non-commercial” and make your own informed decisions.
Note: Even for images that are not for “direct commercial usage”, you can only legally use pictures in your blog posts that are under some kind of Creative Commons license. Most images found on Google Search are NOT under a Creative Commons license.
Here is what you need to do:
Go to Flickr and add the keyword to your image search.
Click on the drop-down behind “Any license” and select “All creative commons”.
Doing so will give return every image that you are allowed to use if you provide a backlink to the original picture.
If you wish to use an image for commercial purposes (or want to play it safe), you need to select the option that says “Commercial use allowed”. If you wish to modify an image (like adding text), you need to select the option “Modifications allowed”. And if you wish to modify an image for a commercial purpose (e.g., turning it into a banner ad), you need to select the option “Commercial use & mods allowed”.
But if you’re using the image to make your regular blog post more exciting and attractive, all you have to do is search for the ones that are under any Creative Commons license and give credit (the photographer’s name and a link) to the source. This is the only way you are legally allowed to use this image.
Using the image without inserting a link back to the source can have legal repercussions.
This is how Creative Commons defines giving “appropriate credit”:
- “You must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material.”
So here’s an example of what to do (see below the image for credit):
Again, please make sure you understand the full legal implications before you start using Creative Commons licenses. Don’t ever use a “non-commercial” image for a “commercial” purpose. Read the Creative Commons FAQ for more info.
Here are some more articles you should check out:
- How You Can Use Flickr To Drive Huge Traffic To Your Blog
- 20 Awesome Tools For Creating Engaging Visuals For Your Blog & Social Media
- 5 Best WordPress Plugins For Finding Images From Dashboard
- How To Create Awesome Images For Your Blog Posts Using PowerPoint
- Where Should You Host Blog Images Without Affecting Load Time?
What other sources do you use to find free images? Let me know in the comments below!
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