Should You Use Free Images for Blogs?

free images for blogs

Whether you’re a blogger or a business owner, creating new content to publish is only part of the process.

Even if you’re a great writer, you still have to come up with what you want to write about. Then you have to focus on adding in some photography.

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After all, photos are just as important in capturing the attention of your readers as the written part of the content is.

The next problem is where to find images to match your words. If you’re a great photographer, it’s not a problem.

It’s also not a problem if money isn’t an issue. But if you’re trying to get started, you might feel that free images for blogs are the best solution.

Keep reading to help you decide if free or paid images are best.

Why Free Images For Blogs Aren’t Always A Great Choice

Let’s start by examining why free stock photos for blogs aren’t always a smart choice.

One reason not to use free stock photos is that everyone is in your situation are using them as well. Which means those generic office people are probably being shown on every other blog around.

And while a female hand making a heart symbol used to be unique, now it’s just boring and overdone.

Free images force you to run the risk of being boring, trite, and uncreative. And you certainly won’t stand apart from your competition if you’re all posting the same photos.

What You Need To Know Before You Use Free Images For Blogs

If you do decide that you don’t have the time or budget to find other photography, then you should at least understand how to use free images properly.

First off, make sure that your stock photos are copyright free. You MUST have gained permission to use the image before you post it.

You also must attribute where you got the image from as part of the restrictions of use. If you don’t comply then you run the risk of copyright infringement.

And while you might think no one will notice, think again. There are people out there seeking to enforce copyrights.

That’s to protect the artist who worked hard to provide you with that image. They deserve to be recognized for their work.

Circumstances Where You’re Liable For Copyright Infringement

If you think you can come up with a good excuse to squirm out of getting in trouble if you’re caught, think again.

Even if you did it by accident, you’re still liable. Even if you immediately take down the photo after you receive a DMCA takedown notice, you’re still liable.

Don’t bother trying to resize the image, it’s still copyright infringement.

And while you might think that if the picture is licensed to the web developer that you can use it. Unfortunately, you can’t. Getty Images requires you get your own license.

Linking back to the photo source and citing the photographer’s name isn’t good enough, either. And it doesn’t matter if your site isn’t commercial and you’re writing for free.

A disclaimer on your site won’t help matters, either. Nor will embedding the photo rather than saving it on your server.

And just because you find photography on the Internet, it doesn’t mean you can just grab it and use it.

How To Use Free Images Properly

When you’re on a stock image website, you’ll first see the most popular images. While they are popular, they are also overused.

Focus more on the weird stock photos that still pertain to what you’ve written, but aren’t the same images everyone else is using.

Keep scrolling past the first page of search results when you’re looking for stock photos. Taking the time to do a little digging will result in a unique photo that attracts the right attention.

Keep searching because it’s always best to use photography rather than opting out altogether.

Make Slight Changes To The Photo To Personalize It

The great thing about free stock photos is that you can make slight changes to them to personalize them for your own use.

Don’t be afraid to crop your free images, make them black and white, or use a filter. Anything you can do to make changes will help make your photography appear to be different, even if you’re still using the most popular photos.

However, just be sure the owner allows alterations through his or her license before you get creative.

Make Sure It Connects With Your Content

While weird stock photos will stick out, especially on your landing page. If the picture doesn’t connect with your content or doesn’t mesh with the other images, it’s useless.

Your photography should help you tell your story. If it doesn’t seem like it belongs or isn’t adding value in any way, it’s not a good choice.

Say you’re writing about the new tax laws. It wouldn’t make sense to use a photo of a bear in the woods. Yes, you’d gain attention, but not in the way you want.

Don’t lose your audience by confusing them.

Headshots Aren’t Your Only Option

You’ll find tons of headshots available a free stock photos for blogs. In fact, you’ll often find the same model in slightly different poses on free stock photo sites.

They’re often boring and kind of cheesy. Get creative by using charts, graphs, or even illustrations.

And you don’t always have to use stock photos. If you’ve interviewed someone, ask them for their own photo to use.

Always Consider Your Brand

Your brand is what sets you apart from all your competition. Keep your brand in mind when you’re writing your blog.

But you should also keep your brand in mind when considering which free stock photos to use. Make sure each image you post stays within your brand.

Other Options

You don’t always have to rely on free images for blogs. You can also pay a photographer to take some for you.

And you can learn how to take photographs yourself to use in posts.

Don’t forget to keep coming back to our blog. You won’t want to miss out on our latest blogging tips.