Use Caution When Using Online Images





If you have a website or blog, especially one used for commercial use, you probably use your fair share of images. The world today is all about being visual, so online marketers don’t really have an option when it comes to using images or not. People just won’t read a plain text page anymore; there’s no patience for it.

With that said, it is important to take extreme caution when using images you find online. It’s very easy to use Google to find an image you need. However, when you use Google, you are putting yourself at the greatest risk of violating copyright laws. Many will use search sites that will give you images that are free for use. The catch with some of these sites is they are not 100% guaranteed safe.

Getty Images, an American stock photo agency, typically provides many stock photos seen online. When using Getty Images, make sure you are reading all the requirements that go along with each individual image, even the “royalty-free” images.

Also, remember that when you see “royalty-free” images, it does not mean that you do not pay for them. Royalty-free means you pay a one-time price for multiple uses of the image (price depending on the size). If an image is not royalty-free, then you can be charged for each time you use that particular photo.

You also need to read the requirements to see if you are still at risk for infringement if you use the photo in a certain way, or alter it in any shape or form.

Our Recommendation: 

The best option is to use your own images. Whether it’s an image you create, take or draw, it’s the safest option and the only one to guarantee to keep you out of a copyright infringement mess. The next best option is to purchase stock photos. Your risk increases, but as long as you keep proof that you purchased the image, you should be in the clear.





  1. Great post, CEL!

    I’d also suggest that bloggers can use Creative Commons images from Flickr, as long as they adhere to the requirements of the authors, usually attribution and a link to the photo. The trick is doing an Advanced search of Flickr and then clicking “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content ” and the two boxes below:

    You can also search Creative Commons directly:

    And yes, you can search Google images too using an advanced search, but you need to be careful to also click on the “usage rights” such as: “free to use, share or modify, even commercially”:

    All of this is great as long as bloggers attribute the Creative Commons licensed image to the author and provide a link to the image. Adding the author’s Title of the photo is excellent as well.

    You can see more info and links on page #7 (Attribution) of my presentation on The Ethics of Social Media in Marketing and Advertising:

    Best success to your readers on using Creative Commons photos and correctly attributing them!


    avatar by Karl Kasca
    • All great advice Karl! And yes, attribution is very key as well. Thanks for your comment!

      avatar Site Admin by CEL


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