Photo Rules for Beginner Bloggers

Every blogger should know that besides having unique blog content and articles, images play an extremely important role in ensuring that that your readership levels remain high. After all, you can post the most interesting thing known to man but unless it's "aesthetically pleasing", your readers may never pay any attention to it. 

Thus, you should always aim to include photos or graphics in your posts whenever possible. But you can't just simply attach any photo you download from a search engine. They have to be legal to use, otherwise you can find yourself face-to-face with a major law suit or worse. So what photos are ok to use? To find out, proceed with the article further...

Before anything else is said, it's important that you automatically assume every image you come in contact with is copyrighted. It can be confusing, especially if the image doesn't specifically say it's copyrighted, but it doesn't necessarily have to say anything at all for you to still get slapped with a law suit. Moreover, simply putting a link back to the owner's page or original source will not help defend you in court. One of the easiest ways to avoid any problems, however, is to only use royalty-free photos.

Some of the images cost a small fee to download and use. But there are tons of sources to find free legal-to-use photos as well. For example sites like Flickr, stock.xchng and depositphotos are some of the popular choices. While some sites may require you to sign-up (for free) to gain access to both their collections of paid and free images, it's important that you still comply with the user's common creative licenses. This will specifically state how the owner wants you to attribute the photo and under what terms it can be used.

Popular blog posts tend to consist of written product reviews. That being said, it's perfectly fine to use images of CD covers, book covers and movie posters to give your article some extra sparkle as long as the images have been floating around the internet for quite some time and already seen by the majority of public. In short, you may not post the images if they were "leaked" to you.

You may also use public domain photos. Typically images that fall under this category include the following: photographs and pieces of art work created before 1923, photos created/taken by the U.S. government, photos that have an expired copyright, and photos that are used on educational sites like Wikipedia.

Lastly, screen shots that you take of a particular web site, video game, or software in order to show visual assistance in "how-to" blog posts are also perfectly acceptable to use as long as you give proper credit (meaning the name of the web site with a hyperlink) and you do not jeopardize the product/service in any way. Basically, this means that you are not taking a screen shot of a particular element that would discourage your audience from buying the product or service. For example, don't take a snap shot of the most climatic scene of a newly released book—no one will want to buy it if they know how it ends.

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Geet said on August 5, 2011 at 1:04 PM :

Being author of an art & craft blog I click my own pics. Sometimes I use pics with CC licenses from flickr.

Eddy said on August 11, 2011 at 10:52 PM :

That's a great post. I've been trying to refrain from using images on Wikipedia till now.


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