by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador
I love photography. I’ve been getting into it more in the last few years, even attempting some classes. My wonderful kids bought me a nice digital camera for my birthday about 5 years ago. And now I have a smart phone with a camera as well, so I seem to be snapping away all the time. Many go up on my blog. Many do not, and are sandblasted off the planet with a touch of the delete button. As well they should be. See the photo at the top of this post? It took me six tries to get it clear.
I’m not a professional photographer. I just dabble for a hobby. Plus I think I need new glasses. I am not a dabbler of writing, however. Writing is something I expect to do professionally, and am working hard towards that end. So if someone took something I wrote and claimed it as their own without giving my due credit or monetary compensation, I’d be upset about it.
Professional photographers feel the same way about their photographs. That’s why it’s important to follow copyright laws when you post photos on your blog. This subject really blew up in the blogosphere after author Roni Loren shared her story about being sued by a photographer. She had good intentions, but wasn’t fully informed as to the copyright rules, and it cost her. She was concerned about the blogging community enough to kindly share her cautionary tale with the rest of us so we can avoid heartache.
I have to admit I have had one or two photos on my blog that broke a copyright rule (and I’m in the process of hunting them down and removing them) but for the majority of my blog posts, I use my own photos or copyright-free photos. I like the look of older photos so I also use a lot of public domain photos. When Roni’s story broke several bloggers took the time to share some sources for copyright-free photos. If you want photos on your blog they’ve got the info for you to help make it happen:
- Copyright Law: 12 Do’s and Don’ts from Daily Blog Tips
- Keli Wright on Copyright from Keli Wright’s Open Sandwich
- Leave it to author and social media guru Kristen Lamb to come up with a great idea to help writer-bloggers! She started WANA Commons photo sharing group on Flickr. Flickr also offers Flickr Commons where the Library of Congress, Smithsonian and other institutes offer public domain photos.
- USA.gov has some public domain photos. Some are licensed, so read carefully.
- You can also pay a fee for access to stock photos. Michael Hyatt shares about his favorite photo site on 15 Resources for Pro Bloggers (or those that want to be)
And of course, you can always take your own photos or create your own graphics:
- August McLaughlin shares Blog Images Made Easy: Tips From A Non-Graphic Artist
- 10 Tips For Taking Your Own Presentation, Blog and Website Photos from Dyment and Associates
- How to Get Great Photos For Your Blog from Simply Klassic Home
There are many ways to find photos for your blog and still stay legit, including taking your own. Your blog photos don’t have to be perfect, in fact sometimes they are more interesting if they are not. They just need to be clear. Consider taking a beginner photography class if you would like to get better at taking pictures. With smart phones and applications like Instagram, you can be on the lookout for an interesting shot wherever you go throughout your day.
**Update: In talking with Artist Daughter about this issue, she clued me in on two more resources for free copyright-free stock photos:
If you know of any other resources or ideas for copyright free photos, please share in the comments!