There are a lot of reasons to add photos to your blog posts. Having images to break up your text and clarify your content makes your posts more engaging and easy to read. Plus, they’re good for search engine optimization (SEO) too! The best part? Blog posts with optimized images tend to rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, you can’t just download a picture from Google Images or social media and upload it to your blog. That would be copyright infringement, and, honestly, the picture would probably be pretty low quality. Finding legal images will take more than a Google image search! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to find great images that you can legally use on your blog.
Today, we’re going to share all the methods of using legal images on your blog. Here’s what you need to do:
How To Use Pictures on Your Blog Legally
Get licensing to use a copyrighted image.
If you look around the internet, you’ll find lots of images directly from photographers or artists. Most of the time, these images are protected by copyright law, and you can’t download and use them for free. However, you can get licensing permission from the copyright holder, which grants you the ability to use the photo in a specific way. You won’t own the image to use all over your blog, but you can’t utilize it in a way that the photographer approves of!
This is probably not the best way to find images for your blog unless you have a really specific niche where pictures are hard to come by. These licenses are often expensive and inflexible, which is less than ideal for a blog.
Use images on the Creative Commons.
Images with Creative Commons licenses are free images that you can use on your blog as long as you credit the person who created them. These images can be used any way you like and can be used as often as you want. Creative Commons licensed images are some of the most versatile and easy-to-use photos out there, and they just require attribution in the caption to use legally. You can find these images on the Creative Commons search portal.
Find public domain images.
Public domain images are those without copyrights of any kind. Unlike photos with Creative Commons licenses, they don’t require attribution of any kind. As the name suggests, they belong to the public! This happens when an image is uploaded with no copyright, the copyright has expired, or the owner abandoned the rights to the image. These images offer the most flexibility of use, but they are pretty difficult to come by, and finding images that fit your niche could be difficult! The best places to find public domain images are listed in this Wikipedia resource.
Buy royalty-free stock photos.
Royalty-free stock photos are images that are free to use with a one-time fee. Unlike licensed photos where you might have to pay a royalty each time you use an image or negotiate your license when you want to use the image in a different way, you can use your purchased stock images freely once you’ve paid the initial cost.
This is one of the best ways to find a huge catalog of photos that fit your niche! You can use stock images freely and they require no attribution. You can find these images on a stock photo website like Shutterstock or iStock. Or, if you use Canva; the images on there are all commercially licensed and ready to go! With Canva Pro, you don’t even have to pay the initial fee that you would on a stock photo website.
Use your own photos.
If you really want your photos to stand out and echo your brand, using your own photos is best! Whether you stage and curate your own pictures or hire a photographer, these high-quality images will ALWAYS send the right message and have the perfect vibe. This, of course, can be expensive and/or time-consuming depending on who takes the photos, but it can be worth it. A hundred photos or so could go a long way and could be reused countless times on your blog!
Make graphics instead.
Lastly, if you can’t find images that really represent your content the way you want, make graphics instead! Graphics have the same benefits as photos, and they don’t require hours of searching or posing to get it right. Canva is one of the best tools to do this. It’s super user-friendly and when you upload your brand kit, designing branded graphics takes literally minutes with their giant catalog of free templates.
If you decide to go this route, we have some Canva guides to help you get rolling. Here’s how to . . .
- Group Elements on Canva
- Upload Fonts to Canva
- Find Starred Templates on Canva
- Add a Border in Canva
- Make a Collage on Canva
- Add a Link in Canva
There are quite a few ways to legally add pictures to your blog posts!
If you want to up your blog post readability and boost your SEO, add 4-10 images to your new blog posts! You can find legal images using any of these methods, but always be sure to add ALT text, give credit where due, and compress your images for the best SEO results. This will make sure your images are above board, quick to load, and accessible—all of this will help you rank higher on the SERPs and draw in more organic readers!
For more ways to level up your blog and optimize for search engines, check out the InfluencerSEO blog. We’re experts in blogging and we can help you take your brand to the top one optimization at a time!