Images add visual interest to your web pages. They can help drive more visitors to your website via search and also promote social sharing. But how do you get images that you can use?

First, you want to make sure that you have the rights to use any image that you add to your site. Many images are copyrighted and using them without permission can result in a fine. Here are some tips on avoiding copyright infringement with your online images. So where do you find photos that you are allowed to use?

Where to get Images for your Website

Buy Stock Photos

One of the quickest ways to get photos and make to sure you have permission to use them, is to buy them. There are several stock photography sites where you can purchase images. Most sites allow you to buy a package or subscription to download a specified number of images. Or you may be able to buy one specific image.

We have had good luck using Shutterstock. Other paid stock photography sites to have a look at include: Depositphotos, iStockphoto, Dreamstime and gettyimages.

Use Free Stock Photos

There are also several stock websites where you can find really good quality, images for free. These are definitely worth checking out and include:

Make sure that you check the usage rights and guidelines at each site as there may be specific requirements, such as providing attribution or not creating derivative works.

Get Images from Google

You can do an image search on Google for images that are Creative Commons licensed. Here’s how:

1. Go to Google and type in a search term.

2. Click Image at the top to search Images only.

3. On the results page, click on Tools > Usage rights under the search bar. You will see two options:

  • Created Commons licenses
  • Commercial and other licenses

4. Choose the most a category to filter results.

Again be sure to check specific usage rights to make sure you are within scope!

Take your Own Photos

Of course you can always take your own photos. This is a great way to get original images and avoid copyright issues.

You’ll still need to make sure you respect subjects’ privacy and get signed model releases if photographing people. However, you have the opportunity to get some unique shots that meet your specific needs

You don’t need even need a high end camera. Most smartphones can take photos that are high quality and perfect to use on your website.

So pull out your phone and grab a few shots. You may just snap a winner!