Pictures for Blogs – How to Select Them Safely

July 8, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                  return to JayVee Media Link LLC

camera side viewHubspot’s Pamela Vaughan recently posted some information that addressed a fear every blog writer carries: being accused of using pictures without the permission of their owners.  The consequences of doing that, even innocently, can be severe enough to heavily strain our businesses…and our reputations.  Let’s get it right from the start:

**Finding pictures on Google Images does NOT mean we are free to use them.  Most of them belong to their posters, and using them without express permission will run us afoul of their ownership rights.

**Merely giving attribution to pictures we find on the internet is not enough to keep us out of trouble if we get caught.

**Remember trust but verify?  Trusting that pictures have Creative Commons licenses just because they say they do can also land us in hot water.  Take a look at what HubSpot experienced when the company used pictures clearly but incorrectly labeled under Creative Commons licenses.

camera self portraitThe safest way to post a photo is to create or take one ourselves.  Of course, that is much easier said than done.  We can also sign up for stock photo services. But buying the rights to use such pictures can cost a small fortune.  If budgets are tight and original work is out of the question, then due diligence must dictate our choices.  We need to research good sources for quality images that are free to use.  Most fall under the category of Creative Commons licenses, an easy way for their creators to allow sharing of their work.  Often the only requirement for using such licensed photos is giving proper attribution. Sometimes there is a request to include a designated link as well.  There may be additional requirements, so attention must be paid to the details.

Lilach Bullock recently posted a wonderfully informative article listing multiple sources of free-to-use and inexpensive photos.  Her post is a great resource and well worth reading:  “How to Find Free and Cheap Images for Your Blog.”

Harking back to Pamela Vaughan’s HubSpot horror story, we need to remember to use due diligence even when pics we wish to use are labeled with Creative Commons licenses.  We need to be sure the labeling is accurate.

Above all, we must remember that merely giving attribution may NOT be enough – especially if we can’t locate the licensing of the photos we wish to use.  We need to try locating the owners of the pictures so we may obtain express permission first.

How do you find safe images for your blog posts?  Which sites do you use?  Please share your experiences in the camera piccomments section below!

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