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Avoiding infringing images in your blog articles

Picture this- you write a great blog post and add a compelling image and then you get an email that you are in copyright infringement!

As an early blogger I knew I needed to add a picture to my blog posts, but I faltered a bit with WHERE those pictures should come from. After realizing that several of the graphics I used could get me into copyright infringement trouble, I started to ask around Twitter for some advice. I quickly discovered that it wasn’t easy to find reliable, safe and FREE sources for graphics and pictures.

Over the years I have turned to two main resources that I wanted to share with you so that you can save searching time and aggravation and get straight to the writing! Be sure to watch the video for the full demonstration.

#1- Flickr. Hands down my favorite place for photo sharing and networking. This site has a social network connected with it and is a wonderful site. That said, if you simply type your search word into the home page and click “search” you are going to find content that you shouldn’t be using because it is protected. By using the advanced search from the search drop down and clicking on “creative commons” content, you will find photos that you can safely add to your blog post.

#2- Stock.xchng. At first glance it seems that you have to pay for these images, but if you dig a bit deeper there are two tiers of content. After performing your search you will see “premium” results (which cost money) and below that are the free images.

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Remember that regardless of the fact that these pictures and images are safe to use, it is good manners and common courtesy to give credit to the photographer/artist by including a credit line and link back to the original image.

These are my two favorites, but I know there are a lot of other options out there. Let’s use this post as a pool of shared knowledge. Where do you find your photos and images for blog posts?

CC Licensed image courtesy of liako on

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Written By

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.



  1. Sonja Lovas

    July 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Well said. I am a big contributor to Flickr myself and would welcome anyone wanting to use my photos, and as mentioned, appreciate the attribution. As I make my list of future blog topics I also try to find photos and while I am out and about, I look for opportunities that will enhance my blog post. Failing that, I also turn to the stock and royalty free photos from I stock photos and also Fololia because I don’t mind paying for the small jpeg image if it is a perfect photo fit. Everyone says a picture tells a thousand words, and it is true in capturing the topic for your blogs.

    • Lesley Lambert

      July 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      Great suggestions, thank you for adding to the discussion! I have been actively trying to capture my own images, as well.

  2. Bryan Thompson

    July 9, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Leslie, I’m glad others have seen the light on Stock.xchng. I have gotten several of my graphic designer friends hooked on it after years of them paying for iStockphoto and other paid sources. Granted, Stock.xchng is often more limited with quality searches than its istockphoto counterpart, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

    I did not know Flickr was a royalty-free zone (or part of it anyway), and I’ve had a Flickr account for years. Never occurred to me to check there. Thanks for the heads-up!

    One royalty-free source I used in college was Most of the images are pretty useless and a lot of them are just glorified Microsoft Clip Art, but occasionally you’ll find a jewel or two in there. Thanks again for the tips.

  3. David Hutnik

    July 9, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I have been blogging for a couple of years and almost always just done Google Image search. I never really thought much of it…

    Great blog, (shared on both Facebook and Twitter). I will be bookmarking these sites and subscribing to your blog.. Thanks for the great resources!

    • LesleyLambert

      July 11, 2010 at 9:53 pm

      So glad I could help! I think a lot of us went with the Google search before we realized better!

  4. Kristal Kraft

    July 15, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Good suggestions here! I wanted to mention that many professional photographers are now using Digamark to tag their photos. It’s a service that also tracks Copyrighted photos. People who are unfortunate enough to snitch them will find themselves negotiating down the settlement demanded (rightfully so) by the photog’s attorney.

    An associate of mine is going through this now. It’s going to end up costing her $1,000’s of dollars! So just beware, a photo is not required to have a © on it to qualify. It’s owned by the maker, pure and simple.

    So when in doubt, don’t use the photo.

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