Finding the perfect image to use for your online marketing can be difficult. You want it to be something that accurately represents your brand. If it’s going to go on your website, then you also want it to go with your design and colour scheme. You also want it to look natural and not like a tacky, posed stock image (see photo to the right)…
… But you also don’t want to breach copyright laws.
It can be tempting to just hop onto Google Image Search when hunting for a new photo to go with your next post on Facebook. It’s so quick and easy to do. There is also no shortage of beautiful images to choose from. But Google draws these images from many different websites and they are often owned by other people. They are the result of a photographer or graphic designer taking the time to carefully creating that perfect image. Not only are you not acknowledging them for their work, you are also breaching copyright laws. If busted, it could result in a nasty letter from the artist, or at worst, a lawsuit.
In this article, I will focus on where to go when searching for an image to use on your website or social media. If you want more information on what to look for in a photo, read our article here.
Finding Copyright-Free Images on Google
The good news is that there are many awesome stock image libraries online that can provide you with royalty free images to use on your website… and you can still use Google to find them.
To do so:
- Go to Google and search for an image like you usually would.
- Click on the Tools tab under the search bar.
- Change the Usage Rights to Labelled for Reuse.
This will mean that Google will only show you images that are free to be used for commercial reasons.
Once you’ve found a suitable image, it’s still important to click through to the website to check the usage rights. Quite often images will be labelled for reuse but will still come with a caveat. For example, some images can be used for commercial reasons, but only if acknowledgement is given to the photographer or artist.
Many images within Google search come from Pixabay which is a great source of royalty free stock images. There is no need to link back to the artist. Unlike many stock image libraries, it’s also possible to search the website using a particular keyword. Other websites include:
If you can’t find what you’re looking for or are happy to spend a little money for the artist’s hard work, there are also plenty of affordable stock image sites. Some of our favourites include: