How to find copyright free images the legal way

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Female photographer holding up a camera to take a picture for her content marketing blogImages are important when it comes to blogging. We’ve all heard the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and whilst an image shouldn’t replace text, it certainly works well to enforce your intended message.

Finding those images can be a bit of a nightmare though.

Hands up if you’ve ever looked on Google and done a right click ‘save as’?

You should always assume that any image you come across is copyrighted – unless it explicitly says otherwise.

Getty images is notorious for demanding payment for improper image use. As one of the largest image libraries on the internet, chances are high that the images you’re coming across on Google belong to Getty.

To find out more about Getty and image lawsuits have a read here

So, we’ve established that we can’t just take an image from the internet and use it on our blog, but how can we find suitable images?

Take your own photos

Ok, this one takes a bit of effort, and isn’t always possible, but taking your own pictures is the best way of ensuring the perfect fit for your blog. If you haven’t got a photographer’s eye – what about friends, or family?

If you have a local college or university offering photography courses, you could try contacting the course leader and asking if any students are interested in building up their portfolio on an expenses basis.

Use reputable sources

It can be difficult to know what’s ‘reputable’, and what isn’t, but there are a few things to be looking out for.

Pixabay is one of my preferred sources for blog images.

As you can see from this screenshot, next to the image it says, ‘free for commercial use’ – meaning that you can use it freely for business and marketing purposes; and ‘no attribution required’.

Attribution is when you put the name of the photographer and a copyright symbol with the image.

Other sites similar to Pixabay include:

There is one thing to be aware of – the photographer can remove their images from a free library like this at any time. To avoid any issues down the line, I always link the image back to the website I downloaded it from to create an archive link (which doesn’t harm your SEO either).

Use image creation sites

Whilst this goes back to a little bit of effort on your part, image creation websites such as Canva do have royalty free stock images in their library. The added bonus is that you can add your own logo or website URL, and some text to make the image truly unique to your blog.

Alternatives to Canva include:

Pablo by Buffer

InDesign by Adobe


Getting images right for your blog and website is important, but it’s crucial you don’t break copyright law and leave yourself open to a law suit. If you can’t take or create your own images, always make sure that it has a creative commons or ‘free for commercial use’ license, and make a record of where you obtained the image.

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Zoe Hughes

Zoe is an experienced content writer with a genuine passion for crafting creative content for websites to help businesses of all shapes and sizes gain a strong web presence and rapport with their target audience.
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