Using images in your blog posts makes them more visually appealing. On social media feeds, posts with images attract more attention than those without. If your blog post is long, then images break up the text.
When you use images on your blog or website you must ensure that you do not infringe copyright. Copyright infringement can lead to legal action and even criminal prosecution.
Photographs, images and illustrations are automatically protected by copyright. Unless the creator gives permission for their image to be used, you are not permitted to share, copy or distribute that image.
For more about copyright of digital images check out this official notice from the Intellectual Property Office: Copyright Notice: digital images, photographs and the internet
Using images for your blog may sound like a minefield but the good news is there are plenty of images you can use without fear of copyright infringement.
Public Domain images are free for use. These include images where the copyright has expired or the creator has waived their rights. You can use these images for personal or commercial use. The only exception is where the image includes a recognisable person as you may need permission from the model to use the photo.
Creative Commons licences
Creative Commons licenses allow creators of images to waive some or all of their copyright rights. There are six different CC licences. Look for images with a CC 2.0 licence which means you can use the image if you give attribution or a CC0 licence which means the creator has relinquished all copyright rights to the image.
This means that you pay a fee for the image and are then allowed to use it without paying additional royalties and fees or giving attribution.
When attributing images, you should include the title, details of the author, the source and details of the license. You should also include details of any modifications you have made to the original image.
Check out this article from Creative Commons if you want further information on best practices for attribution.
Sourcing free images
Fortunately, there are hundreds of websites offering public domain, CCo and royalty free images that you can download and use for free. Here are just some of the more well-known and popular sites:
Pixabay offers royalty free and CC0 licensed photographs, illustrations and graphics for you to use for free. You can search their images by category, tags or even colour.
Unsplash offers a large collection of high-res images all available for free under their Unspash licence. Search by collection or category.
Pexels images are available under the CC0 licence so you can download and use for free without attribution. You can easily search photos by category to find suitable images.
Public Domain archive offers a range of images available for free download.
Stokpic was set up by a sole photographer and now hosts a vast collection of beautiful free images available under the Stokpic licence.
You’ll find a range of public domain photographs available for free on Skitterphoto. You can browse photos by category and download quickly and easily.
Canva is a great tool for designing unique graphics. You can create infographics, social media banners, blog headers and document templates as well as many other graphics. Canva is extremely fun and easy to use.
Foodiesfeed is a collection of photographs all related to food. The images are downloadable for free under the CC0 licence. Ideal for food-related blogs.
Check the terms
It is your responsibility to ensure that you use images in line with the permissions that have been granted. If you use a site offering free stock images, check their T&Cs or licences before sharing any images that are not your own.
As long as you choose images that you have permission to use, you can include these in your blog. Include at least one image in every blog post, even if it is just as a header.
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