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Image Copyright: Why It's Important And Where To Find Images


If there is one clear message on the internet, it is the importance of images and videos. Going out and taking inspiring photos isn’t often cost effective, which means that many website and business owners rely on acquiring images from other websites.

This can be a massive problem. Use an image from the wrong place and you could be facing a lawsuit and/or a significant charge.

Take the lesson learnt by, who used an image of Nebraska in a blog post. Three months after they posted the image on a client’s website, they were contacted by an attorney who stated that they were going to be sued for $8,000 for using a client’s copyright photo.

Simply replacing the image was not an option. The lawyer made his money exclusively by suing companies that infringed on clients’ image copyright.

Not The Only Example

This isn’t the only example of such a case. Webcopyplus also made this mistake when they used an image that retailed at $10 without paying for it. The result, according to this blog post, was a $4,000 fine.

Roni Loren was also one to fall foul of the ‘fair use’ and copyright laws. She used one photo from a photographer without permission and although the photo was promptly removed on request, she had to pay compensation in the end.

Some lawyers open practices just to search for and claim compensation for clients who own the copyright on photos.

With this in mind, it is important for you to consider where you get your images from. Failing to have the right to use an image or video could be extremely costly for your business.

The Licenses

When you do Google Image searches, the images in the search results are not necessarily free to use. That is the most critical thing to remember. If you use one, it is most likely still covered by a photographers’ copyright.

What you need to do is find images by artists who have provided permission prior to them being published. There are many websites online that will give this permission to you, but you need to know what terms you should be looking for.  There are two typical licenses:

Creative Commons Zero: This is given to photos that can be used in any way by the user without the permission of the artist, as it has already been used.

Creative Commons with Attribution: This is given to photos that can be used as long as the user gives credit to the artist and sometimes this means you also have to link to their profile or image. It is also common that these photos have a premium option where you can upgrade it to a Creative Commons Zero.

You should also look for exceptions in the licenses. Some images allow for use as long as it isn’t for commercial reasons (i.e. on a blog or item for sale). Always check the image’s license before downloading it.

With this in mind, it can seem daunting to find the right images. But research has shown that a good image improves interactions on a web page and social media. Getting the right image is important, so here are some sites for you to try.

1. Unsplash

This site is continuously adding ten new royalty-free photos every ten days. Most images are of beautiful landscapes which look amazing. If you need a landscape image that wows an audience, this is the site to get it.

The problem is that the images are high-resolution and bulky. Unless you know how to optimize the images, this can cause your website’s speed to slow down. You also have no search facility on the website and attribution is required for all images, it is of course necessary that you do this but it can disrupt the marketing message.

2. Superfamous

The perfect, beautiful images on this site are supplied by Dutch artist Folkert Gorter and peers. They are high-resolution, so again you need to be able to optimize the image. There’s also no search facility on the website and attribution is required for each image.

3. Barn Images

There are a lot of options on Barn Images, but a few of them aren’t free and finding the right image for your website can be tricky. Barn Images are also high profile email marketers, and you will be inundated with sales messages if you sign-up.

Despite this, the images are professionally created and could be worth the effort.

4. Picjumbo

There is something about Picjumbo that makes it popular amongst web designers and bloggers. It could be that the images are of high-resolution or that it has a search facility. Also, images don’t need attribution for the most part.

The negatives of the site are that there is a limited database. If you’ve got a food-based business, you are in luck. Otherwise, you might need to look elsewhere.

5. Free Digital Photos

The images that you find on Free Digital Photos are what you would find on stock image sites that demand $10-$30 per image, which is great. You can get these images for free, but you only receive a small copy of the pictures, and you do need to attribute the picture to the website and the author.

Otherwise, you have to pay for the image, depending on the size.

6. Pixabay

One of the best image sites on the web; there are lots of images, with new ones being added continually. Downloading is easy, and quicker if you register for a free account. You can choose the image size you want, for no extra fee, but the search facility can be a little sticky as artists sometimes put in keywords that don’t match the image.

However, despite any disadvantages, the site is one of the best on the web to use for your business’ website and other marketing materials.

7. IM Free

The team behind IM Creator, a website builder too, also put together a small library of premium-quality free photos. Attribution is required, and there aren’t many. But the quality is similar to that of paid sites.

8. Gratisography

This is one of the world’s finest collections of images that can be used by your business. The images have been collected by Ryan McGuire, who is an artist and web designer by trade.

There is no need for attribution, but it can be challenging to find the images without a search facility.


If you want images on your website, you need to be sure you have the right to use them. Therefore, don’t go to Google to find your images, but instead consider one of the websites listed above to find the perfect photo for your next piece of web content.

Have you been affected by copyright infringement? What was the impact on your business? Let us know in the comments, or contact a member of the Ragain Financial Team.

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