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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday Web Tools: Where to find free images for your blog or Facebook

I recently read a blog post that left me a little concerned. The post was written by a "mommy blogger", who was sharing a cautionary tale. Her blog was a personal journal kind of site, not a for-profit business site. To keep her blog visually interesting, she liked to put some pictures on it to go with her writing. Sometimes she would use Google images to find pictures to use. Makes sense. Its easy, very searchable, and easy to download too. Then something went wrong. She got a letter from the attorney of a professional photographer. Now you might think that since she was just running a blog as a hobby that an apology and removal of the offending images would take care of the problem. It didn't. In the end, she ended up paying several hundred dollars to the photographer for the unauthorized use of the images.

Scary story. The reason I mention it is because this did not have to happen to her. She could have used pictures that she took herself. Unless she is as bad a photographer as I am. So what to do? Luckily, there are some inexpensive options out there. Even luckier, there are some free options too. Here are some of my favorites of those free options:

  • Flickr Creative Commons-I think just about everyone on the internet knows what Flickr is. Any image on Flickr has the potential to be used, but make sure you have permission from the photographer to do so. Some photographers have already given you permission by way of a creative commons license. Make sure you read the license on the images page regarding its terms of use.
  • Wikimedia Commons-This is a hit and miss option. Images are public domain that are used in Wikipedia. Some good stuff here although often more of a historical nature.
  • Morgue File- I really like this site. They have lots of varied images available. The only catch is that images from here need to be modified if they are used.
  • FreeDigitalPhotos.Net-Several thousand images are available from this site. You are freee to use the small size images but larger versions require payment.
  • FreeMediaGOO.com-This site features an assortment of images, wallpapers and even some video clips. To be honest, I have not had the best success with their images matching my needs. Naturally, your mileage may vary.
  • Photo Rogue-This site offers a twist from most stock photo sites. In addition to their library of stock images for use, you can request an image. Photographers that frequent the site MIGHT respond with images to match your request. Obviously, this would give you the opportunity to have some more unique images than might be available from some other sites. 
  • stock.xchng VI-Over 100,000 images available here. The photographers set the terms, so read the fine print on an image you are interested in using.
  • FreePhotosBank-This site does have some free images available, but my experience is that far more images listed on this site link to Dreamstime.com, which is a good site for inexpensive, but not free, stock images.
  • Present Outlook-If you like the images with quotes like the kind we post on Motivation Mondays, then this site is for you. Lots if gorgeous photography with inspirational quotes. Oh and by the way, we make our own slides for Motivation Monday, so these will be different from the slides we have posted.

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