Using Images and Photos You Find

Railroad Tracks along the Beach There are many cases where capturing the right kind of image with your own eye or camera won’t work.

For instance, if I wanted to capture an image of choosing between a walk on the rails or a walk on the beach, living in the Midwest makes that a tough chore to take such a photo on my own. So the search begins.

In all cases, I strongly urge you to use the proper copyright and attributions. Here’s a quick rundown on those practices:

  • Give Attribution: If you use a photo you didn’t take on your own or purchase license to use, give attribution. It is kindly to link as well as acknowledge (see example at bottom of this post);
  • Read Fine Print: There are cases where even purchasing a stock photo requires attribution;
  • Creative Commons: Creative Commons is more “permission given in advance” – not a release of ownership by the creator;
  • Exploring: There are plenty of places to explore besides Google. Several are listed below;
  • Advanced Search: If you must use Google, use the Google Advanced Image Search and choose one of the options noted “…even commercially.” This option is easy to remember:, followed by a forward slash “/”, followed by advanced_image_search;
  • Time Investment: Don’t spend too much time looking. Ten minutes tops. Consider building a library using Evernote,  Instapaper,or Pocket and “bookmark” the photo so you can grab the attribution credit when you do use the photo.
  • Create Your Own Photo Library: Grab a camera or your phone. Watch your day and capture images. Use apps like Pressgram (own your photos).
  • Do’s and Don’ts of Using Stock Photos: HubSpot offers great tips on using Stock Photos. The slides in this post are both instructive and a modeling of how-to-(and-not).

Here are few places to explore photos to use:

  • Unsplash – Minimalist design, lots of great images
  • Picjumbo – High quality, easy to use and download
  • MorgueFile – Great free library, with tabs for stock photos to purchase if you can’t find the perfect pic.
  • PhotoPin – Searches the Flickr database. Make sure to check “Commercial” on left for proper license type. The first row or three are stock photos for sale (above the dotted line)
  • Compfight - Also a Flickr search. Also check “Commercial” license on left. There’s a plugin available if you use WordPress
  • FreeDigitalPhotos – All stock, but free (with attribution). See Dawn Mentzer’s practice of proper attribution at the bottom of the post – and then click on a couple of those social buttons to follow her insights.

As I begin to set up a Pinterest account for SmallBizTracks, the use of photos and images is at the forefront of my mind.

Visuals are becoming a popular topic with small business owners I talk with, too. Between creating animated videos and using apps like Pressgram, I sense a heightened awareness and increasing usage in the business community as well.

Is one of your tracks learning or applying more visuals in your content creation?

Side Note: Growing up in the Monterey, CA area – I often chose walking the rails along the beach. Still gorgeous, less sand in my shoes. And, I learned to take small steps.

Photo on Unsplash by Chris Sardegna

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