Free Images – Best Picture Practices | Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Firstly you may think what the heck am I doing posting about this being a photographer myself, well I’d rather see people doing this ethically than ripping off someone else’s images.

Recently I’ve been asked (for the umteenth time) can we download images from Google and post them on Facebook.  Well the answer is a simple NOOOO!!!

Here I’d like to provide the best practices to find photos for both Facebook and Blog articles.  It has been proven that image posts attract better engagement than those without.  Facebook’s redesigned News Feed which emphasises larger photos proves the point.

But how do you avoid violating copyright when using images? The general preference is to use a photo that you’ve taken yourself, but sometimes that’s not an option. With easy access to millions of photos it can be tempting to pull a photo from Google Images and use it to assist your blog or Facebook post. However, this is not a suggested or best practice. I recommend using images with defined licensing to save yourself a copyright-violations headache.

Use these tips for finding fantastic images for Facebook and blog posts:

1. Search under Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License are licenses that allow photographers to choose which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for their work.  Some websites offer photos that fall under the Creative Commons License which have been approved by the original creator to be used by a third-party.  The owners of the photos have chosen whether they want attribution or not when their photos are used, and these photos are available for use as long as you abide by the Creative Commons License. Flickr includes more than 17 million photos licensed under Creative Commons License.  There are several other Creative Commons Licensed images than can be found from a simple Google search.


2. Search Google’s Publicly Reusable Images

In Google’s Advanced Image Search you can filter your image search by licensed for public reuse. When you open the Advanced Image Search (that little wheel on the right) an option appears at the bottom to choose Usage Rights. You can use the drop down menu to choose how you’d like to filter your Images. You can choose from “free” to use or “share,” “free to use or share, even commercially,”  “free to use or share or modify,”and “free to use, share, or modify, even commercially.” You know exactly what you’re getting when you use Google’s Advanced Image Search and there are several million photos to choose from.

Google Image Licence

3. Search Free Stock Photo Sites

There are a variety of affordable sites where you can find quality (and legal) stock photography. A recent blog post from provides a detailed list of 13 free and cheap stock photos. You can read the article here. I’ve listed out the thirteen sites below in alphabetical order, but for details on photo prices and types of photos offered please reference the original article.

123RF – Royalty Free Stock Photos

Bigstock – Images for Everyone

Depositphotos – Royalty-Free Stock Photos, Illustrations and Vector Art

Dreamstime – Download Stock Photography and Royalty Free Images

Flickr / Creative Commons Attribution Licence

Fotalia – Royalty Free Images, Photos, Vectors and Videos

iStockphoto – Royalty Free Stock Photography

Media Bakery – Millions of Curated Stock Photos

Pond5 – The World’s Stock Media Marketplace

ShutterStock – Over 20 Million Stock Photos, Illustrations, Vectors and Videos

Stock.xchng – The Leading FREE Stock Photo Site

Yay Images – Great Images at Budget Prices

4. Create your own images

As mentioned earlier, my number one recommendation for photos is to create your own. Obviously this isn’t always an option, but self-created images hold several benefits. You don’t have to worry about copyright laws, they’re more personal to your business, and you won’t get stuck using the typical stock images that we all see far too often across the web. They don’t even have to be that spectacular – you can quickly create some great effects with your own iPhone and Instagram.

If you are a photographer or enjoy posting images and are not sure how to categorise them, then check out this great tool at Creative Commons. Just select the options in the left panels and it will generate the appropriate Licence.

Creative Commons Choice

So what do you think? I’d like to hear your comments where you get photos for your Blog and Facebook Page? Are there some other resources I should know about that you have found useful? Please let me know by posting a comment.

Jac x

About Jac C

Lover of Graphics, Photography, Family, Coffee and Friends
Gallery | This entry was posted in All, Free Resources, Photography, Tools and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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