Using and Optimizing Stock Images on a Website

The only compensation received for this post is that from the affiliate links that directs you to sign-up for the membership of stock-image websites.

As compensation for becoming my affiliate, if you send me confirmation that you signed-up under me via e-mail ([email protected]), then I will send you portion of the compensation I received back as a thank you. If you’d rather not, please feel free to use the non-reference links below to access the various different stock-image aggregators.

https://unsplash.com

Sometimes, it may be questionable whether or not the image found on Google or any other part of the internet can be reused on a blog or website. Content creators will be happy to read this easy guide outlining when and how to reuse stock images, as well as where to find these commercial-use images.

Understanding Copyright & "Fair Use"

Normally, a picture would not be able for personal or professional re-use unless it is labeled as such or one has received direct permission from the original author to use the image. 

One caveat to that is the “Fair Use” doctrine in U.S copyright law, which permits the use of copyrighted works without permission of its owner, in the context that the work is used for a “transformative” purpose. What this means is that a copyright image can be reused without permission if it is not the focal point of your content, is being parodied or commented upon in such a way that it transforms the purpose of the or

If you’re choosing a picture directly off of Google without checking the copyright, don’t. This is one of the fastest ways to receive a copyright notice and you’ll at best need to take down the image in question, and at worst you might have a hefty fine to pay.

Instead, when searching by Image, select the “Tools” drop-down to filter all of the photos by license.

Labeled for Reuse

Labeled for Reuse with Modification

Labeled for Noncommercial Reuse

Labeled for Noncommercial Reuse with Modification

In addition to searching through Google, there are a number of publicly available image repositories that allow reuse of photos for attribution or credit (usually in the form of HTML code on the source website). The most popular of these is the Creative Commons.

The Creative Commons license is an example of a public copyright license that enables the free usage of any work, and is one you should look out for when gathering images.

Can you only use images that you’ve received direct permission for? No! The internet is a haven and has everything you possibly need if you know how to utilize it. By modifying images, you can 

WHERE TO FIND ATTRIBUTION FREE PHOTOS

To save you the trouble of having to search through Google for the best websites for copyright-free images, we’ve compiled a solution for you here. Remember, because the articles written on G://HOSTFIRE are living documents, they are constantly being updated, so be sure to check back occasionally, as we will revise this list when we find great paid and free copyright-free image aggregators.

Paid Solutions:

Envato Elements (a repository of…)

FreePik

Free Solutions:

Unsplash

Pixabay

Pexels

Examples of Image Modification

If you’re using a paid solution for your stock images, then it isn’t necessary to modify your images to make them original–you pay to use them how they are. 

However, if an image is labeled for “Re-use with Modification”, or is in general a copyrighted image that you are trying to use, then revisions must be made to file so that it becomes its own original creative work. 

How can you do this? It’s not as hard as it sounds.

Combine 2 Images Related to the Article Subject: By combining 2 images that are copyrighted, you create a unique image that isn’t! A good way to make this look nice is to choose the logo of a company, topic, or brand you’re writing about, and a 

Add Your Logo and Title:

Add a Gradient:

Use the Original Content as Inspiration to Create Your Own Content:

After creating a unique image, don’t forget to follow these steps to complete the optimization of your images for your website and further yourself from copyright.

1. Change File-name: By setting the name of your file to the keywords related to the image and article, this will help with your website’s and image’s search engine optimization.

For this example, say we are video-game blog and are making a post about the best games on the Nintendo Switch. A good, unique image would be to create a collage with multiple video-games that you will write about in your post or article. This would be a sufficient file-name:

“Top-5-Best-Nintendo-Switch-Games”

2. Compress and Change File Type to JPEG: Of course, if for some reason you needed a .png for the transparency or any other file-type, feel free to skip this step. 

3. Set “Alt Tags”: The alt tags you would use are basically your file name + any other core details surrounding your project. This is super important for your website and image’s search engine optimization, so don’t forget to create unique alt tags for all of your images.

Continuing on with the example of the best video-games on the Nintendo Switch. The alt tags you would put are:

“Top 5 Best Nintendo Switch Games” 

If you want, you could also expand upon it to include details that are core to the project, which in this case would be the specific games that you chose for your article:

“Smash Ultimate, Pokemon Sword, Breath of the Wild, etc.” 

What if I received a copyright notice?

It’s a content creators worst nightmare to be hit with a notice like this for disobeying a content’s copyright. Sometimes, these fines can be marked up to ridiculous amounts. These notices, however, can be dodged with a little finesse. 

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