In my last tutorial, I spoke about Creative Commons licenses, how to license your work and how to use the licensed work of others.
In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to find images that are licensed for you to use on your site, free of charge.
All you’ll be doing is looking for images that have a Creative Commons license. There’s two main places that I tend to look for them: Flickr and Google.
For me, Flickr is far more superior because it does not include images from stock photography sites, which typically have watermarks on their images. And there’s a vast number of photographers and artists on there with an exceptional amount of talent, who wouldn’t otherwise have an outlet for their work.
As it stands, there are well over 150 million images with a Creative Commons license on Flickr. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you’re probably looking for something specialist and that is when my search turns towards Google instead.
First consider what kind of license you need to be searching under – if you’re a commercial entity, you can’t use images under the Non-commercial licenses. If you want to alter the image, you can’t use the NoDerivs licensed material (go back to my Creative Commons Guide if you need help deciding which license is right for you).
Then head over to Flickr’s Creative Commons search page and select which license you need to search within.
Bear in mind that if you need something under the Non-commercial NoDerivs license, you can also search under the attribution only license, so long as you’re not a commercial entity and you don’t plan to alter the image.
Once you find your image, simply save it and upload it to your own blog, crediting the owner as comprehensively as possible. I typically use the Flickr screen name and a link back to their gallery.
When I have a very specific image in mind and I’m not able to find it on Flickr, I turn to the mother of all knowledge – Google – to solve my problem.
In 2009, Google added a feature to its Advanced Search for Images which allows you to search for licensed images. It is based on the Creative Commons licenses, so you should be familiar with the terminology.
Once you pull up the Advanced Search page, you’ll see an option near the bottom for “usage rights”. Just select the appropriate option for what you need, enter your search term and you’re away.
When you find the image, double check the license at the source and be sure to credit the artist with as much information as possible, such as name, source website and link.
What methods do you use to find images for your site? Comments are always appreciated here.