Everyone knows about free stock image sites like Pexels, Unsplash and Pixabay, but did you also know you can use Google filters to Google image search copyright-free images you can use on your blog (personal or commercial) without permission or cost?
Free stock image sites, while very nice to use sometimes, have their limitations. Their collections can be quite limited, and their search functionality is not perfect. This is especially true in very niche topics.
Google image search, on the hand, is very broad and, obviously, the search functionality is amazing.
But, you can’t just use regular Google image search to find images for your blog. This is because a basic Google image search will show you (mostly) copyrighted photos/pictures/photographs. You do not want to just save images you find on regular Google image search to post to your blog because you could be infringing the copyright of the owner of the image you save and post. If you do this, you could get sued or get a DMCA penalty on your website (which removes your page from Google search)!
However, Google image search has a little known feature to filter images by whether they have a “creative commons license”.
Creative commons license images are free and you don’t need permission to use them.
Note, however, there are different types of creative commons licenses. Here are three of the most popular creative commons licenses:
- One creative commons license prohibits commercial use of the content (CC BY-NC);
- Another creative commons license requires you to give the owner credit (aka “attribution”) but you can use the content commercially (CC BY); and
- Another creative commons license has no restrictions whatsoever on the content (CC0).
Read about all the different creative commons licenses here.
In summary, a creative commons license image may have different terms and conditions for use depending on the license, but it is still free to use and it does not infringe copyright if used properly.
The key: If you find a creative commons image, it is OK to use it on your blog without asking for permission so long as you follow the terms of the licence. You could, for example, use a creative commons “CC BY” licensed photo on your blog, and all you have to do is add a line of text crediting the owner, like this:
How to use Google to Find Free Images
To find creative commons images on Google, follow these steps:
Step 1: Navigate to Google.
Step 2: Click on the Images tab.
Step 3: Click on the Tools tab.
Step 4: Click on the Usage Rights tab.
Step 5: Click on the Creative Commons License tab.
And then you can search for images that you can use about your topic for free and without permission, like this:
Lastly, confirm an image’s license information by clicking the “License Details” button and review it to see which creative commons license applies. For example, it could be a CC BY licenced image, in which case you have to give the image attribution.