A Cautionary Tale for Bloggers

I am not a photographer. Although I often blame my poor picture quality on the camera or the lighting, I don’t even have the photographer gene. It’s my fault. Just let me stick with words.

When I first started my blog in late June of this year, I knew I wanted pretty pictures. Gobs of pretty pictures. That beautiful featured image thingy? Count me in! Less pictures of me looking like a dork and more of beautiful stacks of books? Sounds really, really awesome.

Fortunately I did some research…

…and scared myself out of my wits about the legalities of using online pictures.

I found a blog post similar to this one about someone’s horror story of being sued by a photographer for using their picture downloaded from Pinterest. (Be sure to read the great breakdown of fair use!) Those pretty pictures were taken by someone, so using them on my own blog would be saying I own them and promoting myself with stolen property.

Argh. I can’t populate my story excerpts with all the cute pictures I’ve found of “Jade” and kittens. Even pictures from movies are debatable because they can be stills directly from the movie or the property of set photographers.

This helpful post gets a little more into the legalese of what you can and can’t do within copyright laws and also explains how to hunt down missing photo credits. It also gives a list of great places to find images that are perfectly acceptable to use.

If you’r a cheapskate like me, a lot of places aren’t an option; so if you haven’t heard of Pixabay–it’s a site boasting nearly a million high quality stock images for FREE. Now you’ve heard of it. 😉

I use this site for all of my posts except in the event that they do need a dorky picture of me. 😛 It has a lot more variety than other free image sites I’ve explored, and the quality is pretty awesome! All that’s required to use a picture is proof of not being a robot. No attribution required. (Just be careful what you search and maybe keep an accountability buddy around.) 😉

There is one instance when I’m okay with using someone else’s picture. In this post when I needed a picture of white-out I had to take one from Amazon. (Seriously, why doesn’t anyone take stock images of the lovely stuff?) Biting my nails, I decided it was okay as long as I linked directly to the product so it counted as promoting the product. I also use book and movie covers (sometimes pictures) for the purpose of review and fangirling to get you to go buy those things as well. 😉

It’s up to you and your conscience and your research what you decide. My rule of thumb is if I’m not sure, Google the rules or skip it and look for something else. And if you are a photographer, I salute you. Keep it up and consider putting some of your pictures of white-out on a free image site.

Are you a photographer? What are some of your favorite free image sites?

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5 thoughts on “A Cautionary Tale for Bloggers

  1. Using other people’s pictures always freaks me out, too! I am so thankful for Pixabay, seeing as — were I to need to a picture of Ireland or some other place I’ve never been — I sometimes can’t use my own pictures. Thanks for this post, Kate!!

    ~Liv
    oliviakfisher.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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