So, a few weeks back, a blogger made a post about how she was sued for using an image of a green pepper she found on google. She wasn’t using the image to sell a product or anything-she simply mentioned green peppers in a post, googled to find an image, and then got sued by the photographer for using it without a license. Seem harsh? Sure. Seems rare? Maybe. But, you, as a blogger, need to be aware of this. While it might never happen to you, it COULD. And you would have to pay!
Whats a blogger to do? Stock Images. Yep, stock images! That doesn’t mean you have to pay for an image to use. There are TONS of free stock images out there. You just have to know where to look. Because I am uber paranoid about everything (serious OCD), I was always worried about using images from a google image search. The only exception for me is search for book covers. Sometimes the author didn’t send a cover image, or the image I receive from the tour company isn’t big enough to use, etc. But for everything else-I use stock images. My blog image, background, teasers, etc all are stock images that I downloaded from sites that give you the rights.
What kind of license is given when you download these stock images? There are LOTS of different licenses. Here is an example of one from unsplash:
This means you can use the photos on this site for anything really. Use them for teasers that you make and then sell to an author, use them as images on your blog for various reasons, and you do NOT have to give credit to the photographer.
There are other kinds of licenses. Some say you can use them for anything as long as you credit the photograph. Some say you can use them for personal use, but cannot use them for products you sell to others. Its critical that you check and document the license for all your stock photos from free sites!
So, what about sites where you PAY for stock images? Again, there are still specific licenses to look at! Just because you paid for it doesn’t mean you can do WHATEVER you want with it. Here is an example:
Creative Market is a website where you can buy all kinds of graphics (fonts, images, vectors, etc). You can get these items in 1 of 2 licenses. 99% of your purchases will be the ‘standard license’ which means you can use it in anything EXCEPT for things you sell. If you want to use it in something you SELL (Teaser, designs, etc) you have to purchase an extended license. So, even though you bought it, there are still restrictions on it unless you pay more for the extended license. Bottom line? When it comes to stock images, check the fine print or you could be sued!
Now, where can you get these stock images? I have a pretty good list of free, 1 time fee, membership, and pay per picture sites I use. Remember, check the licenses to see what you can use these images for!
- Unsplash (Free)
- Gratisography (Free)
- Splitshire (Free)
- Superfamous Images (Free)
- Picjumbo (Free)
- Deposit Photos (pay per use or monthly)
- Graphic stock (yearly fee)
- Adobe Stock (pay per use or monthly)
- Canva (can buy elements individually)
- Canva also has a list of LOTS of free images you can find HERE
I am sure there are SO many sites out there. So, when looking for stock images to use, make sure you check the license. Can you use the stock image for ANYTHING? Can you use it but you have to credit the photographer? Once you pay for it, what are the limits on its use? I know it seems like a LOT to do just to get a picture to use. However, once you get familiar with a few sites and their rules, its really not any extra time at all. I use graphic stock and adobe stock the most so I am aware of what the limitations on my licensed products are and therefore I know what I can and can’t use them for. I don’t have to check the license each time.
Where do you get your stock images from? Have you ever had to remove images due to license issues? Share your thoughts in the comments section so we can all learn!
This is so informative and thanks for sharing these sites. I use canva quite a bit for my designs. But any other images I get from goodreads as far as book covers and stepback covers. But this can be very useful. I will have to try some of these sites out. I do make sure I make a disclaimer on my blog of where I find my images.
I use Canva and pic monkey frequently for editing. I haven’t purchased anything from Canva though-I forgot you could do that! Thanks for the reminder!
This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.
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[…] Book Disciple has a great post about Stock Images, different kinds of licences and what bloggers need to be aware of when using images on their […]
This is a REALLY excellent post!! and I saw that post about the blogger and the green pepper too and omg, I can’t even believe that happened. Actually reading it made me feel quite sick…when i was a newbie blogger I did a lot of “stealing” photos because I JUST DIDN’T KNOW AGHHHH. I haven’t for years, but I do intend to go back through my hundreds of posts and make sure I did delete them all. *gulps* it’s not worth the risk. Plus it’s stealing? Like I take a lot of photos…and it really pains me when I see people “using” them without permission. Artists deserve recognition. THEY DO. I do love those free sites you’ve linked to (particularly Unsplash1) although I do take most of my own photos these days just to be totally safe. XDXD
Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!
Yes, I felt a bit sick when I heard her story too because I know when I first started blogging I wasn’t careful! I thought it didn’t matter because I wasn’t selling something. And your right-whoever took the pictures deserves to be given credit! If I could take my own pics I would but I have like 0 artistic talent! So, I am glad there are people out there who do have the talent and they deserve the credit! Thanks from commenting!
I hadn’t heard of the blogger and the green pepper, but it’s true that we need to be very, very careful! I usually don’t use a lot of photos in my posts, but if I do, they are most likely my own photos. We can never be too careful, and I think it’s also important to emphasise that the artist who has taken that original photo really owns the rights, even if there is no (c) on the photo.
I’m a new book blogger. This is very informative. I am very careful about what images to use that’s why I’m hiring a designer. The list of free sites in this post is really really helpful. Thank you so much. Keep sharing. I love it. You help a lot of bloggers. Thank you so much.
In my very early years of blogging (10 years ago) it didn’t even occur to me & I used google images and just added a link to the original photographer. Luckily, no one ever said anything but yikes! I didn’t know. Now I mostly use Pic Monkey, PEXL or my own photos.
Karen @ For What It’s worth