Understand that most photos on the Internet are copyrighted
As soon as I snap the shutter on my camera, I obtain the copyright to the image I just created. I own that photo and I can decide how it is used.
Copyright is an automatic right. I don’t have to file papers to obtain copyright to a photo I made.
I don’t have to use a copyright symbol or use the word copyright when I post the photo on my website; I still own the copyright to my photos.
Some people put the words copyright right on the photo to discourage theft. I don’t do that because I think it makes the photo less attractive for my readers. But I still own the copyright.
So when you see the word “copyright” or the copyright symbol ©, you’ve been alerted that the photo is copyrighted.
But when you don’t see a copyright symbol, the photo can still be copyrighted!
Ask permission before you use a copyrighted photo
If you want to use something that someone else owns, ask them for permission.
Some people who post their photos to the Internet might be flattered that you like their photo so much that you want to use it. They may let you use it for free if you to give them a photo credit or to link back to their website.
Others will allow you to use the photo if you pay them.
Others won’t allow you to use a photo at all.
How do you know whether you can use a copyrighted photo from someone’s blog or website? Ask them.
Find sources of paid and free photos
Rather than taking a photo from someone’s website or blog, you can find plenty of wonderful photos that you are allowed to use.
Some you have to pay for. Some are free, but you have to credit the photographer and/or credit the photo website.
You must read and follow the conditions carefully!
Here are some sites where you can find photos:
All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash. One drawback to this site is that it isn’t easily searchable. (There is a search box to the left. You have to look very hard to find it.)
The images are free as long as you stick to the rules in the Image license Agreement. Also, in some cases you may need to notify the artists about using the images and sometimes you need to give credit to them. The quality of the images varies.
A morgue file is a newspaper term for the place where they store files after production. morgueFile says its purpose is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits and to be the morgue file for the Internet. In addition to offering free photos, this site links to other paid sites. You can easily find yourself on one of the paid sites.
Photos8 is a paid site with more of a worldwide flavor rather than an American flavor. Photos suitable for the Internet cost $2 each.
GraphicStock.com is a subscription-based website that provides members with unlimited downloads of stock graphics, stock images, icons, buttons, backgrounds, textures and more. Instead of charging per download, they allow members to download as much as they want. You can subscribe by the month for $49 or by the year for $588. There is a seven-day free trial.
This is a paid site, but it has lots of photos that are geared for blogs and websites. You can buy credits or buy a subscription.