Knowing where to find high quality and legit images for use with your website( Both free & paid) without breaking any copyright laws and getting sued can be quite challenging especially when you’re first getting started online.
There are a gazillion places where you could acquire images for your site but they could get you in trouble and possibly destroy your online business instead of help build it.
You want to make 100% sure that your imagery is licensed for use and that you aren’t breaking any copyright laws.
Within the following post, I’ll be showing you the do’s & don’ts of how to find images for your site as well as showing you where to acquire them.
I’ll also be showing you the free way as well as the paid way to acquire imagery for your site so I advise you to continue reading as I’ll be going over all of this below.
Like always, follow along and ask me any questions you may have in the comments below.
Why Are High Quality Images So Important?
High-quality photos are an essential component of any online content.
Photos make your website more professional and captivating.
Your audience will jump to conclusions based on your photos, and poor or no photos may make them doubt your credibility.
In addition, images provide breaks in long articles making sure your readers don’t get bored. Armed with this knowledge, you should strive to sprinkle strong photos on your website and catch the attention of your readers.
3 Ways To Get The Perfect Photos For Your Website
There are three main ways that you can legally acquire to use on your website and I’ll be listing these for you guys below.
Take or create your own images
If you have a good camera or a smartphone with one, taking photos will not be a big challenge.
This is the best method if you want a simple photo like a working desk with a computer and cup of coffee on it or of someone in a park.
You can even use already existing photos from your camera roll if they are nice. Edit them and give them a nice final touch.
For animated images, use Adobe’s Photoshop Techsmith’s Snagit, Windows Paint, Google’s Picasa and many more to create your own.
Get and use free photos
Free images, also known as creative commons, are found on the internet for free for you to download and use on your website.
When using a free image you are supposed to give credit by either citing its source or the photo’s owner.
More often than not, free images are random, creative photos and can be considered more artistic than the paid ones.
Note: just because you found a photo on Google does not mean it is free. There are sites for that.
Purchase images from paid sites
Paid images require you to compensate the owner for using them.
Unlike with free images, you have a wider range to choose from if you choose to go with paid images.
You can get photos for just about any purpose.
Paid photos are mostly used in business websites or advertisements because they are best suited to serve commercial purposes. They also tend to be boring and generic.
Where To Get Free Images
Flickr: this site was started in 2004 and billions of photos have been uploaded since then. It might actually be the biggest source for free images. As you can imagine, you will have so many options here.
Most photos on Flickr are of good quality and are more natural.
People are allowed o share their photos on the platform and you can find images for any purpose.
Unsplash: this is another common source for free photos.
However, the number of photos you can get is limited to only 10 for every 10 days.
This means that if you get 10 photos you will have to wait 10 days before you are allowed to have others.
On the brighter side, you might not really need that many photos at once for a website.
Unsplash photos are known to be of outstanding quality.
Rawpixel: if you are looking for beautiful photos that can be used for any website, go to Rawpixel. One thing that makes this site unique is that it is easy to find contextual images here than it is on other free sites.
You can find realistic photos that tell a story. You have to sign up before you can use the photos, though.
Pixabay: this is another popular site with tons and tons of high-quality photos, drawings, and other graphics.
There are images for any context and you can choose as many as you want.
Many people like Pixabay because you do not have to cite the source when you use the images on your website.
The downside is probably the fact that the images are likely to be very common.
Where To Find Paid Images
Shutterstock: it’s a very popular site for paid images, mainly because the graphics are excellent and affordable.
There are so many photos on the platform and you can be sure to find exactly what you are looking for, almost every time.
On Shutterstock, you purchase credits and select any images to use for the credits. There is the option of monthly subscriptions or buying packages.
The subscription option works best if you need a lot of images.
Learn more about Shutterstock and create your free account here
Getty Images: This might not be your most cost-effective option but there is a reason for that—the photos are fantastic and suitable for commercial use.
If you have a business website (any business) Getty will work well for you.
A huge advantage of this site is that you can find photos that are exclusive to them so you will not find them anywhere else.
Bigstock: This site allows you to create a monthly plan depending on the number of images you may need every month.
What Happens If You Use Copyrighted Images?
Although the internet has made it possible for people to use any photo they find online, sometimes that innocent act can cost you all that you are worth, and some.
You will be guilty of copyright infringement and you might be required to pay a lot of money for damages and profits.
If you are caught using copyrighted images without permission, saying you had no idea will not let you off the hook—so you had better have an idea and use the correct methods of obtaining photos.
Always ensure that you use high-quality images on your websites to show your readers that you are knowledgeable in your area of expertise.
It is very sad when you have great content but readers dismiss your website because of poor photos. Taking or creating your own photos might be the best option because you can take pictures that suit your specific needs.
Free sites are also great if you do not have the money to spend on photos.
Paid images tend to be of high quality and you will have a wide variety to choose from.
Even if you hire someone to work on your website, be wise and find out where they get the images.
Your website should not have questionable photos.
The “I didn’t know” line will not save you when you get caught. Ignorance is bliss; just not in all cases
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, finding the proper and relevant imagery for your site plays a vital role in how long your site will ideally be around for.
All it takes is 1 time getting busted with images that you don’t legally own the rights to put you out of business before you even get started.
This has always been a grey area for me and I never really understood the importance of this until a couple of months ago.
We all start out with free images and many of you may have even resorted to Google images when you first started(I’ll be the first to admit that I did this as well in my early days)
This is definitely a NO NO and not something that I recommend you do.
My only suggestion to you if you are doing this is to at least crop the image so that you aren’t taking the whole thing, just a portion of it.
I really hope this article has helped you guys out and showed you how to stay on the legal side of things and avoid getting shut down or sued for having unlicensed photos on your site.
Have you guys ever experienced any legal issues regarding the images on your site?
I would love to get a conversation going on this topic and would love to hear what you guys have to say about this in the comments below.
Until next time