Adding pictures to your posts is a great way to create visual interest and break up text-heavy content, but no one wants to violate copyright laws. So what’s the best way to add photos to your blog posts without stepping on anyone’s toes?
Search by license: Flickr has an excellent Advanced Search tool that allows you to to search within Creative Commons licensed work. (They also have a handy outline of the differences between Creative Commons licenses that can be accessed by clicking on the links below “License” when viewing a photo — so you know how to attribute the creator.) For many of the Creative Commons-licensed images, you can simply click on the Share button at the top of the Flickr page and grab the HTML code to insert into your HTML editor. If Flickr isn’t your thing, Google Images also allows you to filter searches according to usage rights.
Use stock images: While searching images according to license is free — who doesn’t like that? — sometimes the quality isn’t up to par or you can’t quite find what you’re looking for. If you’re open to paying, there are quite a few sites out there dedicated to providing royalty-free stock images, such as iStock Photo, Dreamstime and Getty Images. WP Mods also has a very thorough list of royalty-free resources available here.
Take your own: Okay, saying “Just take your own picture” is overly simplistic, but it’s true. Most of us have a handy digital camera, in addition to cameras on our computers and phones. If you’re writing a longer blog post, you may want to take the time to stage a photo on your own. As with blogging, practicing taking pictures will help you learn more about your artistic style, how to frame your content, and help develop another skill.
If none of the above options are working for you, consider an alternative: visuals aren’t limited to images. You can easily insert videos into your blog from a wide-variety of third-party services, like YouTube and Vimeo. Above all, give back! If you’ve been dying to work on your photoshopping or illustrating skills, upload your images to Flickr and allow people to use your work (attributing you, of course). By sharing your resources, you’re helping to build more than a network of bloggers, but a community as well.
While adding images to your blog can be hard to navigate, with a little persistance, you can easily add an aesthetic touch to your blog and still play fairly.