Where to source images for your blog?
When choosing pictures for your business blog, you must be aware of potential copyright infringement, as, these days, it is easy for the copyright owner to search for their image online and they often will. That said, it is relatively easy to source images for your blog without stepping on any toes. Here are your options:
Stock image accounts (paid)
Signing up for a stock image subscription with businesses such as Shutterstock or iStock Photo, is straight forward and, for most 'power bloggers' this is fairly cost effective.
Their collections are vast and, for most topics, there are many quality images to choose from.
- Broad range of photos
- No attribution required
- Many high quality images
- Depending on your subscription certain uses may be prohibited
- Pictures are not exclusive to your business
- Pictures of people may look overly fake or posed (can make your blog appear inauthentic)
Free stock image sites (free)
If you have a tight budget, sourcing images from free stock image sites, such as Pixabay and Unsplash, is an effective way of populating your business blog with images without the additional monthly cost. The range of images is notably smaller and many of these sites host a number of poor quality pictures, so you may have to spend a little longer searching for the right image or make some compromises.
When downloading images from free stock sites, be careful that the image is offered legitimately as some publishers have been known to post images that don't belong to them.
Check the account of the person or organisation which uploaded the image and, if in doubt, do a reverse image search on Google to see if the image can be found on any paid stock sites or photographer's portfolios.
- Images are free to use
- Good range of high quality images available
- Most images don't require attribution (check before use)
- Risk of image theft (always check before use)
- More low quality images to sift through
- Harder to source niche images than paid stock image sites
Creative Commons Search (free)
Creative Commons Search is a fantastic place to source images for a business blog. This useful website allows you to search a multitude of other resources for images which are free to use for commercial use with modification.
This gives you a lot of freedom as long as you abide by the rules provided by the copyright owner.
Much of what you find with this tool will require attribution and it is important to check the licence before using the image.
Creative Commons Search preselects the necessary license (so that you don't have to) allowing you to safely source images on the following sites:
Take them or make them (free)
By far the best way to populate your blog with images is to take your own photos and create images yourself. Why? Because it adds a sense of authenticity and originality that nothing else can.
Taking your own pictures grounds your blog and makes it the people behind it feel more real. This allows the readers to feel connected to you and makes them more likely to interact with you and your brand.
It sometimes isn't possible to use your own images, but by combining your own shots and creations with stock photos, you can still give that authentic feel.
- Could be more appropriate to your need
- Completely free and you own the copyright
- No attribution needed
- Feels more authentic to the reader
- Some pictures may be beyond your means
- Requires time, effort, preparation and skill
- Equipment needed (although, these days, good cameras are more accessible)
- Pictures may be lower in quality if not experienced
Keep it real!
With a combination of free stock image sites and a camera, it is easy to keep costs very low while populating your blog with images. The low budget approach to blog image sourcing, if executed well, may actually work out better, increasing your authenticity over time.