May 3rd, 2011
Where can I get free images to spice up my blog posts, without violating someone’s copyright?
Get copyright free images from archives that curate public domain photographs and illustrations.
Start with the U.S. Government Photos and Images library, a categorized index with good searching capabilities. Also, checkout the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Wikipedia’s Free Images Resource Index has an extensive list of Websites to browse.
Unless an image is known to be in the public domain, you should assume that it is copyrighted content and that you need to get permission before you can republish it on your blog. That holds true even if there’s no one identified as the owner. The protections of copyright law are not waved by the omission of a copyright notice. A copyright holder can give permission in advance either by saying so explicitly or by using a public license such as those provided by Creative Commons organization.
Creative Commons licenses usually require that you provide a photo credit or similar attribution with your use of an image or illustration. Copyright holders can add additional terms and conditions for permission-free use if they want. Some licenses will allow you to modify or adapt an image if you agree to share and share alike with regard to your work.
How to search Flickr.com and Google for Creative Commons licensed images
On Flickr, after searching on a keyword, click on the link for Advanced Search. Select the options for Searching within Creative Commons licensed content, then click the search button below that:
Generally, you don’t need permission to “modify, adapt or build upon” if all you do is resize and/or crop an image without changing its meaning.
On Google Images, click on the advanced search link. Fill in your search criteria and choose an appropriate option from the drop menu next to “Usage Rights”:
You want to download the image file to your local computer and then upload it to your media library to insert into a post or page. While you can always link to an image file as an alternative to uploading your own copy, I recommend taking a copy so that the physical file in under your control. Do not try to copy the image from a browser window and then paste it into the WordPress editor. That rarely works. Since the download procedure on every photo/image site will be different, make sure that you are getting either a GIF, JPEG or PNG format file (file extensions: .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png).
Of course, the surest way to get a free image is to take/make it yourself. This thumbnail, used as the featured image for this post, was taken by me on my honeymoon in Aitutaki. It doesn’t have anything to do with this article but I’m using it just because I love it. If you’d like to use it in your publication—ASK ME.