Social media is quite flexible when it comes to sharing images. The spirit of social media is to share and cure content and people using it don’t have high expectations regarding usage of images.
On social media images go viral overnight and there’s a chance the images you shared belong to someone else. You cannot take that post back and suffer the agony of being sued by the original owner of that image. You don’t want to go through this hassle over an image.
A point to keep in mind is that just because it’s possible it’s not necessary to go ahead with it. It’s a fact that photos are easy to find and easy to save and edit without giving the credit to the original artist. As a matter of fact, there is not much possibility of an artist suing you over an image. Artists are not that resourceful either to go fight a legal battle over an image.
If you used the image for just a blog post, you can go and change the image replace it with a copyright free image and you’re good. On the other hand, if you’ve used an image for your marketing, let’s see you’ve printed it on your brochures you will have to get rid of all the brochures and print new ones. It’s going to cost you a lot of time and money. If you have used an image on your label, same thing goes. If you don’t do it, it’s going to cause a lot more problem.
So it’s best not to steal images, you can find tons of free images on internet that could be put to use. Tweak them a little bit to your taste and you have all what you need. These days editing software are easy to download and use. Change a bit of colors and you are safe.
There are different kinds of free images you can use on social media. There are completely free images that are posted openly under licenses which permits them to be used, distributed, edited and generally adapted.
Then there are Creative Common images which are licensed but each image has certain restrictions on them for being used and distributed. Attributed images are free to be used anywhere on one condition that the creator should be given credit of the image.
The Public Domain images used to have license but by the passage of time that license expired and never got renewed. This condition applies to the images that were around 20 years old.
Enough of the free images, there are images you can pay for.
You can buy a license to use images already on internet. You can exclusively buy a license or it can be a license that other people on internet can also buy.
You can also hire someone to create and tweak images for you like a photographer or graphic designer. They don’t come cheap but it’s really worth the effort of putting originality in your brand.
Now let’s head back to how you can get free images.
How to Search
The Right Images
What do you do when you’re looking for an image?
I know what I do, I open Google’s Image option and grab the images I need to use.
You can do that too, there is one little modification when you type in search words and see the results, click on the ‘search tools’ button. Now you’ll see an expanded menu, there will be one option that’ll say ‘usage rights’. Click on it and select the set of right that suit you the best. If you need the image for just a blog post you can click on the reuse options. If you are planning to use it as a background on your printed label or as cover of a book you will have to mention that you’re using it commercially.
Flick is a great source to find images if you’re looking specifically for photography. Flickr is more of a friendly site for photographers to show case their work under a common license. They have creative commons search which is very helpful.
Plug your keyword search into the Flickr creative commons explore portal. Flickr has more than 56 million images under a simple credit license and over 78 million for attribution with no permission to be used or distributed in any way.
There is a compilation site of images to be used freely all over the internet called Wikimedia Commons. Mostly these images are being used in Wikipedia’s articles. There are more than 20 million images with complete permission to be used anywhere. This number is growing a lot because anyone can upload their image to this site. It’s like a database of free images.
Best one yet: Create Images In-house
It is extremely creative and feasible to create your own images for your brand. You just require a professional graphic artist or a photographer with a really good camera, you cannot use distorted images. Nobody can take really perfect photos; you have to take help of photoshop like everybody does. Even the top photographers need to hire a photshop artist to fix and edit their images. This can turn boring images into really appealing artwork. You just need a professional artist to do this to your images.
Stock Photo Sites
There are so many websites out there all over the internet with stock images you can use free of cost and some come with giving credit and some are even free of that. Some sites work around a theme and some compile a lot of images from every genre. Some are of good resolution and some are not so good. You have to look for right image on Free Images, Morgue File, Stockvault, Ancestry Images.
Hubspot Media Packs
Zip files of free stock image are provided by Hubspot loaded with images that you can easily use. There are different themes of these images. There are so many option with stock images that it’s almost useless to steal an image.