Here’s the thing — technically you can put an image from a Google Image search onto your site. Simply right-click over the image and then select Save Image As. It’s so simply, so why not do it?
Because it’s against the law and you can be heavily fined.
Personally, I’ve seen someone fined $600+ for one small image! Copyright law is no joke. I won’t bore you with the legal jargon, but basically all images you see in a Google search are owned by someone and therefore should be considered off limits when looking for images to put on your website.
Whoever has claim of that image on the Internet has the right to tell you if you can or cannot use it. Some may say you can use it if you give them proper attribution (“Image provided by John Doe”). Others will say you can use it for personal use, but not for commercial use. Meaning, you can print out the image and mail it to your grandma, but don’t put it on a coffee mug and sell them in your online store.
How Do They Find Out Who Took The Image?
There is software available to track where images are on the internet. Many of which you can use yourself, like TinEye. Companies like Getty Images and iStockphoto have people on staff looking for images that are being used illegally, and are probably using much higher quality software than the free ones like TinEye.
Where Can I Get Free Images?
When you are searching for “free” images, you are actually looking for “creative commons licensed” or “public domain” images. These are images that can be used personally, commercially, and with no attribution. At FreshySites, we are a fan of Unsplash and Pixabay.
We also get ‘royalty-free’ images from Bigstock. Meaning, we pay a one-time fee and can use the images for personal or commercial use with no attribution.
This may go without saying, but you can also take your own photos! The average camera/smart phone nowadays takes great pictures, and depending on the lighting and how steady of a hand you have, you may not need to do much editing! If are looking for a free photo editing tool we recommend Fotor.
Feel free to contact our team at FreshySites if your are considering a redesign of your website!