5 ways to add images to your blog – without stealing them off the Internet

In my last blog I talked about the fact that you can’t just copy images off the Internet and use them on your blog or newsletter. If you do, you risk being sued for damages. 

But there are alternatives. Here are 5 tips for getting images for your blog, website or newsletter without falling foul of the law. 

1.              Buy photos from a stock photo library

I know the idea of paying for images goes against the grain when so much on the Internet is free but good images are worth paying for. That’s especially the case for websites when the images set the tone and feel of the site. And compared to the cost of having a new website designed and built it’s a relatively small expense. 

Libraries such as Getty Images and iStock have a huge selection of incredible photos. They also have a range of graphics, illustrations and icons to choose from.

2.              Get free images from a photo library

If you are still not convinced about paying, then there are quite a few websites that offer free images. A couple I use regularly are Pixabay and picjumbo.com

Be careful though as sites like these often have a mixture of free and not free images, so read the terms carefully. It’s not unusual, for me anyway, to scroll through loads of images, find one I like and then discover I have to pay to use it. It’s worth persevering though as there are thousands of excellent free photos out there.  

Pixabay ask you donate the cost of a coffee if you do download one of their free images, which seems the least you can do. 

3.              Take your own photos

Chances are you have a phone with a camera, so why not use it? The resolution will be more than good enough for online use (assuming you manage to get it in focus – often easier said than done in my case). 

If you are blogging about an event you’ve attended for example then take a picture of the venue, a speaker or other delegates.  

Also, try to build up a library of interesting shots that relate to your business. You’d be surprised how often they come in useful. 

4.              Commission a freelancer

Yes, I know this isn’t free either but if you shop around it doesn’t have to burst your budget. The advantage over taking your own is that the photos will be a lot better. They’ll also be unique, unlike the ones you find in stock libraries. 

If you get a good selection of photos, don’t be afraid to use them across all your online platforms: website, blog, newsletters and social media. The quality should also be high enough to use on your printed material, too. So even though the initial cost might seem high, a good photographer working to your brief should be able to give you plenty of images for a range of uses.  

5.              Think beyond photos

If you have got a budget then using a cartoonist or illustrator is a great way to add character to your online presence. I’m a big fan of cartoonist and illustrator Caroline Chapple. Illustrations grab people’s attention and can put messages across in an engaging and quirky way.