One of the biggest mistakes new (and sometimes experienced) bloggers make is “borrowing” images from Google for their site. That’s actually a violation of copyright.
I’ve also seen well-meaning bloggers attribute the photos back to their source. That’s a step in the right direction, but still a violation of copyright unless you’ve been given permission. Attribution alone isn’t enough.
So what can you do?
There’s a class of copyrighted work called Creative Commons. The owner still retains their copyright over the work, but gives people permission to use it for selected purposes without having to ask. For example, the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial (CC BY-NC) license allows anyone to use the image for noncommercial purposes so long as they provide attribution to the creator.
Awesome, right? So how do you find Creative Commons images?
Flickr has an incredible database of images by professional and amateur photographers. Many of them are All Rights Reserved, but a large number are licensed under Creative Commons.
Unfortunately, searching Flickr isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But luckily there’s an app for that!
CompFight is a search engine that allows you to sort through Flickr’s massive collection of images by key word and copyright type. You tell CompFight what you’re looking for and how you want to use it, and they spit out a ton of images for you.
CompFight is how I find most of the images I use on this site. Check it out.