August 16, 2021 Shankari Das

Increase Website Traffic With Free Images

With millions of images, photos, illustrations, and videos just a few clicks away, today, we are living in a golden age for graphic design. You can find a unique, compelling paid or free images to express nearly any idea, mood, or concept.

Every image created by someone always comes with some restrictions. You might have come across terms like “copyright-free”, “royalty-free”, and “commercial use”. This practical guidance will help you anytime use an image for a business project.


How to Identify Copyrighted or Free Images?

If you use photos or images copied from the Internet it could be risky, and you will risk breaching copyright. Since the advent of the Internet, it is easy to right-click and save an image.

But to keep yourself safe, you should never use that image or photo from the net unless you know the regulations. We will discuss free and copyrighted images. And most importantly, when you can use it on your website.

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As a designer or user, you might have come across terms like “copyright-free”, “royalty-free”, and “commercial use” while you are searching images on the Internet. If you are confused about this part of the graphic design, you are not alone. These terms do not necessarily have clear definitions.

Hence as a good practice when you use an image for a business project, it is ideal to come with a royalty-free license. When you use a royalty-free image, you are actually protecting yourself and your company against a claim or even lawsuit.

In addition, by using a royalty free image you are also making sure that the creators get paid for their work. This is a smart business, and it is the right thing to do. In easy terms, a royalty-free image lets you design with confidence without any fear of legal action.

Can you use any images from the web?

No. According to the law, when an image is created, it is copyright protected. As it is an intellectual property of the creator. It is an automatic process. So if you upload a picture on your website that you clicked, others do not have the right to use it unless you permit them.

Note that copyright lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years after their death. But if the copyright has expired, then you are free to use it.

But there are always exceptions to copyright. Meaning you can use any image as long as it is used within limited situations. This might include a private study, non-commercial research, and teaching. But if you are using your website to sell a service, then that becomes a commercial use. So when you use photos for commercial use, copyright rules will apply.

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How can you tell if you can use an image?

It is the most tricky part. However, if an image has a watermark, the copyright symbol, or a caption indicating sourcing or ownership. Then it is generally safe to assume this photo is protected under copyright and you can not use it.

You might also have found an image that is free to use under the Creative Commons Licensing. In that case, you need to read through the wording in detail. Often these types of licenses are limited to non-commercial use.

Another way to check if a photo is copyrighted is by reverse searching the image. Right-click on the image and select the “copy image address”. Paste this link into Google Images or sites like TinEye. This will show you where exactly the image is used and where it has come from.
Besides, there are Firefox and Chrome plugins also available where you can easily check reverse search images. If the images come from a paid stock photo website like Adobe, then do not use it.


What are Royalty Free Images?

Royalty-free images are a low-cost option for your projects that need to make a big business impact. In today’s world of Instagram and Facebook, quality visuals are no longer a nice-to-have. They have become a business necessity.

You should consider royalty-free images when you are particularly designing projects like social media ads, in-store displays, sales brochures, corporate presentations, blog posts, and more.

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Royalty free is one of the most popular stock photo licenses in use today. It is the default license offered at most online stock photo agencies.

Facts about royalty-free images

1 Royalty-free is not copyright-free. Meaning there is still a copyright owner involved who is licensing a right to use their images. Copyright law still applies to these images.

2 Royalty-free does not mean free of charge. The image license has a price that you have to pay in order to use the copyrighted image.

3 Royalty-free is not free of terms or restrictions. You need to follow the license terms in order to make legal use of the stock images.

4 Royalty-free license is very flexible. Meaning when you buy a royalty-free image, you get a battery of usage rights. The best part is that it is not restricted by period time, location, or medium.

5 Royalty-free images are a one-time payment. You must pay a unique, flat fee, and you never have to pay for the image again.

6 Royalty-free images are of high quality. Most of the stock photo sites that sell RF images have high-resolution images suitable for professional use.


Free Images You Can Use on Your Website

When you are looking for images or photographs to use on your website, you cannot just download and use any image you find online. Each photo or image has its own usage rules. Remember, unauthorized use can result in fines or even serious issues like lawsuits.

Here are a few essential things you need to know about rights, rules, and royalties before you download any image from the Internet.

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Do you know the different types of images or photos available on the Internet?

Types of Photographs

Most images you find online are either one of the four types as mentioned below.

1 Rights-Managed Photograph

Rights-managed or rights-protected photographs as they are called – can be purchased under a copyright license. You can buy them for one-time use or buy them for a restricted amount of time. You can also buy them for a specific purpose.

Most of these stock images sold by stock image sites like Shutterstock, iStock, and Getty Images are rights-managed. Generally, rights-managed photos are often more expensive, so it is good to review the purchase agreement to make sure you are purchasing it for the correct usage.

2 Royalty-Free Images

You need to pay a one-time fee for a royalty-free image, covering multiple usages, but not any additional charges. But you need to check the licensing agreement in detail about how the images can be used. You also need to understand the deal to check the restrictions on usage types.

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3 Common Free License Photographs

Copywriters protect images that come under the category “common free license”. But these images are free to use and share. Most common free license images use a Creative Commons license. This license offers six different levels of free user access.

4 Photos in the Public Domain

Photos or images you find in the public domain are not protected by copyright. Meaning they have no limitations on use. Moreover, there are no fees for any type of usage. Images available in the public domain include more than 100 years old photographs and include photos produced by a government or government agency.


Consider Free Images When Designing Your Project 

You can find royalty free photos and vector images to assist you with nearly all creative projects. A compelling image will keep your blog post more engaging, make your collateral stand out in a sales presentation, and enhance your overall brand story.

In order to make your articles and presentations more informative and complete, you need good images. As you know it is tough to make the customer stay on your website and read your content. However, adding an image makes it look better and engaging in all ways.

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When designing your project, images play a crucial role.

1 Social Media Ads

You must be aware that strong visuals are super important on social media because your content competes with all kinds of stuff. Amazing, royalty-free images from leading creators can make people click and share like mad.

2 Sales Brochures

Do you not want a high-quality image to speak about your product? You already know why. With royalty-free images from top photographers, your sales team can make a huge profit.

In-Store Displays

As you know, royalty-free images are key ingredients for compelling in-store displays. Shoppers will not only notice your display, but they will stop to admire it.

4 Corporate Presentations

What presentation will your executive put up on that giant conference room screen? The same old boring presentation titles or something with modern images that speak about your dynamic brand? Make your CEO’s audience sit up straight with stunning royalty free images from professionals.

5 Blog Posts

Your content creators can break the Internet by enhancing their blog posts with stuffing imagery. Relevant, eye-catching images can make your website pages more readable, engaging, and actionable. Especially on text-heavy content like blog posts, images can help you rank higher and keep folks reading till the end.

To get high-quality photos, one option is to take your photos or create your own graphics. But that is time consuming and might require you to know something about graphic design and photography. Fortunately, you may find free and affordable image resources online.

We did not mean to scare you. It might seem like most images are copyrighted, but there are loads of stock photos that are free to use. You can choose to pay for a stock photo provider, like Adobe or Shutterstock, but there are also loads of free stock photo websites that offer high-quality images.

Here is a list of some of the popular ones. You can use these images worry-free.

1 Unsplash

Unsplash has its own license. Meaning it essentially lets you use the images for free -to create a competing website.

2 Pexels

Pexels also has its own license, which states what you can and cannot do with the images. You can use and modify the images for free for both commercial and personal use without attribution.

3 Pixabay

Images you get on Pixabay are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. Which means you can use the images without asking for permission.

4 Canva

Canva is an easy-to-use online graphic design tool that also offers free stock photos. The benefit of using Canva is that you can quickly change an image into a custom graphic to use on your blog or social media.

Conclusion: How to Use Free Images Properly?

When you visit a stock image website, you will notice that the images you see in the beginning are the most popular ones. As they are popular, they are also overused.
So you should focus more on the weird stock photos that are relevant to your blog post, article, or presentation. As there are not the same images, everyone else is using them.

Try to scroll past the first page of your search results when you are looking for stock photos. Take the time to do a little digging, and you will surely find unique photos that attract the right attention.
Keep searching and do not give up because it is always best to use an image rather than opting out altogether.

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