Images are a great way to add appeal to your website or blog posts. The old saying “A picture paints a thousand words” bears no truer meaning than on the Internet. As a web designer and Internet Marketer I find that I am always on the look out for images, even to the point where an image can even inspire a post or an article. I have got a pretty good system for obtaining images for use on my sites but when I started out it was a nightmare, I did not know where to look for them and always ended up paying for images on Istockphoto.com. I still use Istockphoto.com for a few images but only when I cannot find a free alternative or create them myself.
In this post I am going to share with you the process I use to add images to my websites, blog posts and articles. There are 3 distinct methods:
- Obtain an Image with no copyright against it
- Purchase an image and display within the legal obligations of the license
- Create / Produce the image yourself
While you are reading, have a think about which method I have used for the images in this post . See if you can you guess which is which and I will reveal all at the end.
Public Domain Images
Public Domain Images are images which are exempt of any intellectual property rights. These rights will have expired, been forfeited or simply do not apply. There are many websites out there which advertise Public Domain Images but you do need to exercise a certain amount of caution. Some sites will still enforce usage regulations and some will require links from your website or citations in return. The images which fall under this category are fairly generic and often, in my opinion, of little use to you, but as they are free to use, I will always have a quick look to see if any meet my requirements. The sites I use are shown below:
This list is by no means conclusive but it will certainly set you on your way. I tend to use them more for clip art opposed to real photographs.
Purchasing Royalty Free Images Images
Royalty Free images differ from Public Domain images in the sense that someone actually owns the intellectual property rights to the image and they will allow you to use it for an agreed fee.There is a wide variety of websites out there which offer the ability to purchase images. These images can then be used in accordance with the conditions of the license. I would strongly advise that you read the licensing conditions thoroughly before using these images. The main area to watch out for is corporate identity and branding. The main website I use for my royalty free images is:
The only other website I can personally reccomend is:
This is not to say that there are others out there; it is just that I have never used them myself.
The main benefit of using Royalty Free images, as a generalisation, is that the quality of the image is far greater than anything Public Domain or self created. Royalty free images also allow you to be more creative when associating a topic with an image
The final option I am going to recommend is to create the image yourself. If you have the equipment readily available, there is no reason why you cannot take a digital photograph your self or design an image using graphics software. It will take you a while to get to grips with Graphics Software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop but if you can afford it and have the time to learn I cannot promote these products enough. I started using Photoshop about 18 months ago and I am able to use it reasonably well. I have not even touched on about 80% of the products functionality but I get by.
Here is an example of something I have drawn free hand in Photoshop using a Wacom Intuos Graphics Tablet. I have selected this image intentionally as it begs the question, “Am I allowed to display it” well there are quite a few grey areas surrounding this topic and my advice is usually, if you are not sure, don’t use it. On this occasion, it is original artwork and I have proof of that.
For those of you who are interested…
- The Coloured pencils was a purchased image
- The Camera is Public Domain ( I have used this intentionally as it is relevant to the post but also because it is an exceptionally good image, do not make the mistake in thinking that free is always low quality)
- The rest of the image I have drew or created myself in Photoshop
Thanks for reading!