Sourcing Free Photos

Autumn Mums Deborah Lee Luskin

Autumn Mums
photo: Deborah Lee Luskin

So many people responded to my last post about fair use of images on the internet that a follow-up post is in order.

Many readers didn’t know anything at all about copyrights, and many of you reblogged the post. Thank you; this is information we all need to know. As I learned, ignorance is not a defensible excuse, so keep spreading the word and be sure you have permission to use the images you find. This permission comes in three basic categories:

  • Out of copyright and free to anyone to use.
  • Free to use with permission and credit.
  • Available with permission for a fee.

Since most bloggers don’t earn money from their blogs, few of us can afford either to pay for images or pay fines for using images without permission. But there are a wealth of sources for available photos as I learned from readers who included links to their favorites in their comments. Crowd sourcing information is one of the great benefits of the blogosphere. In return for my readers’ collective kindness and generosity, I’ve compiled their links below. “hi resolution photos with royalty free license” “high resolution and high quality free stock photos” photo editing “amazingly simple graphic design for blogs” “free high quality images you can use anywhere” ten free photos sent to your email every ten days

I recommend checking out each site to see which has images you like and reading the fine print before signing up.

Another source of potentially terrific photographs are those taken by people you know. I have several friends who are accomplished photographers. The one friend I’ve asked so far is happy for the free publicity of having her photos appear on my blog with credit and a link to her website. I’ll ask others as opportunity permits.

photo: Kathy Lena

Finally, I’ve relearned how to use the camera we bought for a trip to Utah in 2011 and haven’t used since. I’m now creating my own file of images for my personal use.

I have a long, personal, history with photography, going back to the days of developing black and white film and photos in a basement darkroom. But after I bore three children in four years, I resorted to snapshots that I still haven’t sorted. My digital files are even more of a mess – until now.

One of the unintended consequences of my own lesson in fair use is a resurgent interest in documenting what I see in a format other than words. It feels good to flex my visual muscles and to relearn the physics of light. Since I started following The Artist’s Way again, I’ve been taking my camera out on my weekly Artist Date and seeing the world around me in an entirely new way. This post is illustrated with a few of the images I’ve captured in the past few weeks.

Two-Toned Maples photo: Deborah Lee Luskin

Two-Toned Maples
photo: Deborah Lee Luskin

Thanks to all the readers who replied to my last post and inspired this one.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and this post contains no explicit legal advice, just this admonition: learn the rules and follow them.

Deborah Lee Luskin lives, writes, and takes photos in southern Vermont.

Buddha in the Woods photo: Deborah Lee Luskin

Buddha in the Woods
photo: Deborah Lee Luskin



34 thoughts on “Sourcing Free Photos

  1. New blogger here… Thank you for this information in your photos are great! A friend of mine did the artwork for me for my blog site in my avatar you just made me think perhaps I need to publicly acknowledge him for the same. What’s a good way to do that.

  2. I’m new to blogging and have pulled photos off the internet…I may have broken some laws! Will be very careful from here on in. I’ve been trying to take my own photos for the most part and edit in picmonkey. Thanks for the good information!

  3. I’ve used Wikimedia Commons as well. I’m not aware of restrictions on the images, although I do always try to put the link for the original image in the publication as well. If I do a PowerPoint that uses images, I list the URL with the image and then cite the images in the References section.

  4. Thanks for the info. Its always good to have as many sources as possible. I supply most of my own artwork, but you never know when you will need that one elusive image. Thanks again.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this information with us. As a new blogger, I’m one of the people paying quite a lot for images to use on my blogs, so your post has been really useful to me,

  6. Very helpful links! I’m always shooting a photo of something interesting or ordinary. My pictures often prompt a post topic that the photo naturally fits with.

  7. Reblogged this on Living Life Day by Day and commented:
    A picture is worth more than a thousand words but be careful! You may end up paying a dearer price if copyright issues arise when you use a photo that’s not your own. Great post on free pic resources (yes, in addition to walking around with your own camera)!

  8. Wonderful post ! As far as possible I always try to use my own clicks but there are times when you require pictures pertaining to a topic that you don’t have. Thanks for posting all the links.

  9. Reblogged this on Plasweld's Blog and commented:
    This is some thing you need to take into account when blogging. We produce all the pictures we need to illustrate our posts. By doing so we don’t need to worrie about any copyright issues. If in doute use your own.

  10. Pingback: Blogging With Photos | Live to Write - Write to Live

  11. The Artist’s Way helps a lot. After all you do not really need other people’s pictures 😉 Why not be creative yourself?
    And if not… I’ve got loads of pictures of France/Spain (El camino/Saint James Way, le chemin de St. Jacques)Kenya/the Netherlands. you can send me an email and find out how to use them for free 🙂

  12. Pingback: Creating images for blogs and other social media sites | Live to Write - Write to Live

  13. Pingback: Is Blogging Worth the Effort? | Live to Write – Write to Live

  14. Pingback: Sourcing Free Images 2.0 | Live to Write – Write to Live

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s