Images are an essential part of our daily lives and internet usage. Every website, app, book, or digital platform, in general, has images littered in their numbers all over their interface. Images can be used to buttress a point, break a page of long texts, provide evidence of what is being written about, or simply just for the pleasing aesthetic view it provides. But using images on the internet is a very dicey situation. Not all images that pop off from a google search can be used so easily. This is because images are generally copyrighted, and using them without due permission will be you attracting for yourself a legal problem.
It, therefore, means that to be able to use images freely off the internet on your work, you have to either pay a license to use fee, get permission to use from the original owner, or simply find free images that do not have a copyright attached to them. Photography services like Shutterstock, Getty Images, and iStock have services that let you use images or pictures that demonstrate whatever you may be trying to illustrate. They have a lot of options on there that can be picked from, but they come at a really expensive fee that may not be convenient to a content creator who has to use images constantly.
This means getting free ones are key and we know just the way for you to find them easily.
The first method of course is our good old ever-reliable Google image search. We know that every term searched on Google has related images in its image section. But the results will definitely be a mix of copyrighted and free-to-use images. So using any image directly from a search puts you at risk if not well observed. This however can be fixed with the filter tool available on google.
Here’s how to use it:
Search the term you wish to find related free-to-use pictures for and click on the image section.
Click on Tools. This will expand a drop-down menu that lets you sort the images by their license.
Under “Usage Rights,” you’ll find the option to sort images by their license - Creative Commons or commercial use.
And that’s pretty much all you need to do.
Something to note is that Google gives information on how you can obtain the rights for a licensed image directly in the description for a normal search that has no filtering executed. Images that lack licensing data will be marked with a “images may be subject to copyright” warning. But the images highlighted in Google search with their licensing details are so because the creator or publisher of the picture has given such information to Google. It is therefore advisable to always filter your images when looking for free-to-use pictures.
The only disadvantage with Google image search is that the results tend to be quite generic and unpleasing aesthetically. This is why free stock photography sites exist. They usually have very quality images with a professional look to them in comparison with Google Search. But unlike Google search, there is a lesser volume of pictures to pick from that may fit the idea you are trying to portray with these images. A couple of free stock photo sites include Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, StockSnap, and Burst. For copyright-free PNG cutouts, you can check out PNGPlay, Icon8, and PNGimg.
Images on free stock photo sites are free to use without any attribution. But in using them, supporting the creators by giving them credit helps them get some exposure that may lead to someone being interested in hiring them for their expertise.