An image is worth a 1000 words… and in social media terms, an image is worth an increase of 80% readership of your blog content and a 53% increase in engagement on social media.
Images help draw attention, simplify complicated concepts and re-enforce retention.
But if you are posting social media posts 2-4 times a day, how can you find enough quality images to use?
You cannot use any image that you find on the internet. Whoever took the photo owns the image — even if they haven’t noted this fact with a watermark or copyright notice. Copyright is an automatic right to content creators and does not require the author to file special paperwork. Using copyrighted work inappropriately can result in embarrassment, having your website/social media post removed for violations or even legal issues.
There are 4 kinds of rights applied to images. Understanding what these terms mean will help you avoid issues later.
These are images which are now able to be used by the public domain free of charge for any purpose due to their age (the copyright has expired) or the owner has released their rights.
Creative Commons was created to allow photographers put their images online and dictate how they can be used. They are able to dictate whether the images can be used in other forums, whether they can be manipulated and what credit should be provided along with the image. It is important to read the attached CC license to the photo to understand the limitations placed on your use of the image. Most times, this requires requiring attribution including a link back to the photographer’s site.
These images are available on stock image websites and the “free” aspect of the title doesn’t reflect the cost but rather that once you pay for the image (using either a subscription or pay-per-image model) you are free to use it as often as you’d like.
These images are also purchased but also include a limitation on the number of times they can be used without paying for more licenses.
There are many places to find public domain and creative commons images. Here are a few I have found to be especially helpful.
Flickr has billions of images and many of them have Creative Commons licenses. Flickr even provides a search filter to allow you to search by different types of Creative Commons releases. It also has a large archive of public domain images known as The Commons.
Death to Stock (free users only have access to the current month’s photos)
New Old Stock — vintage photos from public domain