Hi there code cadets.  I just wanted to take a minute to address illustrating your content.  Unless you’re publishing peer review scientific journals, you might want to add some catchy graphics to your writing.  You can’t just take anything you find and call it your own, especially on commercial projects.  You’ll need to acquire some copyright free images for commercial use.  I personally like to use images to anchor the text, and also to encourage readers to scroll down the article towards the ‘call to action’.

If you’re using WordPress, Joomla, or similar blogging software then you have a feed, where your most recent content comes up first, nice for returning visitors.  We want to help visitors with the latest content above the fold, so they keep coming back to check the news. Either that, or make it an obvious link, so they don’t have to guess.  Brand new visitors won’t know the difference, but returning visitors will appreciate not having to hunt.  Content creators on the other hand, often must hunt to find copyright free images for commercial use.

Hunting down copyright free images for commercial use on Google

Google offers one of the most comprehensive image search databases available, only one small problem.  They have everything!  Even copyrighted material.  The last thing you need is a cease and desist letter from corporate headquarters.  With a few simple options though you can change Google’s image search into a finely tuned ‘copyright free images for commercial use’ engine.  Here’s what you need to do.

Once you’ve started a google image search you get the results page.  On that page under your search look for a button labeled ‘Search Tools’ then under that ‘Usage Rights’.  You’ll find five options, as of the writing of this article:

  • Not filtered by license (the default)
  • Labelled for reuse with modification
  • Labelled for reuse
  • Labelled for non-commercial use with modification
  • Labelled for non-commercial use
copyright free images for commercial use

Look under ‘Search tools’ and ‘Usage rights’ to find license options.

Now, let’s just touch briefly on these and you can get back to hunting images.  Use process of elimination to find the license category you need for your requirements.  If you need images for a for-profit entity, then you only have two options.  Next just decide, whether you need to alter the original image by adding text or other alterations to the photo.

Unfortunately, when you switch modes, you’ll realize why things are copyrighted in the first place.  Most of the really good images will not show up in the results.  However, even one good result with the proper usage license can be enough, so forget about stealing other’s prized photos, and save yourself the litigation from the get go.

Also, take a look at morguefile.com

Morguefile is the second place I look for nice graphics to compliment my writing.  Take a look at their license page https://morguefile.com/license, where you can see they allow usage, and how it works.  You can basically use all of their images worry free.  The boots image features on this post comes from photographer Willybearden https://morguefile.com/creative/willybearden.  It’s nice to offer some credit, since Willy has a great eye!  Nice boots Willy!

willybearden photography morguefileSeriously though, you’re not required to give credit for using images from morguefile, as far as I can tell reading through the license information.  That’s great for commercial projects, where you don’t want to distract vistors with competeing branding.

One thing though, you CANNOT sell these images as your own images. That should go without saying, but of course, if that were true, we wouldn’t need copyright to begin with.  Stay tuned, and I’ll delve deeper into proper attributions for when you use images that have a limited use CC license attached.  Creative Commons images are free to use, but not in all cases.  To use CC images safely make sure to publish the images with the proper attribution mentioned somewhere in the content.

Attribution may be the only pay for an artist or photographer

So, what do all these photographers get back in return for content creators using their keen eye and style to improve readership?  Well…if you don’t use attribution, then they get nothing.  If you like an image, and can find the author without too much trouble, attribution seems like a great way to say “Thank you!”

Thank You finding copyright free images for commercial use

Image from pixbay.com returned from Google image search, labelled for reuse!