I had a conversation with a customer the other day who said that she had attended a WordPress workshop (before she knew about my courses) during which she was told that she could use any image from the internet on her website. It astonished me – and annoyed me that this is still being taught by ‘professionals’. It is important to use copyright free images on social media and websites.
Images are copyright protected and unless the image creator has loosened the copyright restrictions, you cannot just find an image on Google, right click and save as and use the image in your social media updates or on your website. You could end up with a large bill.
If you are using images for your website, I would suggest you purchase images from iStock or Shutterstock but this can get expensive for social media updates. Don’t despair though, there are a range of copyright free options available and a range of tools to help you create images. Here are some of my current favourites:
Unsplash – a source of some amazing photos and if you subscribe, they send you 10 free photos each week. The image on the right is from Unsplash.
Freeimages – use this tool to search for images e.g. ‘man sitting’. The Premium istock images will display at the top and then a selection of free images will display after. Just click through on an image to check the copyright restrictions – some ask for the creator to be informed when you use the image. If it is all OK, you can download the image and use in your blog posts or social media updates.
Canva – is a fantastic free to use tool to help you create images or alter images. For example, you can choose to create a Facebook post, which will create a blank canvas of the right size. Upload an image (say from unsplash) or choose one of the images provided by Canva. Then add text or logos to the image to make it your own. You can quickly create unique images with the right dimensions to share as a Facebook post (or Twitter, etc). I added the text and logo to the image on right in less than 2 minutes. Canva has free options or paid options ($1 for each paid element).
Gimp – is a free image creation tool which allows you to enhance photos, create images with layers and retouch images. There are a number of tutorials on YouTube to help you learn how to use the tool.
You can find other options for copyright free images on my Scoopit – where I store any links I find useful. You may also be interested in our Images for Business E-Learning course in which we tell you what you should think about from a design perspective when creating an image as well as show you how to use some of the popular image editing tools.
Do share your favourite sources for images – or free image creation tools in the comments below.