Whether you need an image for a book cover, graphics for a publication, or photos for your blog, copyright free pictures are the way to go! Pay per photo sites often charge mega-bucks for using their images commercially, and their terms of use and licenses can leave you more confused than ever with the legalese. Thankfully, hundreds of photographers and artists have donated their works to the public domain, and you can use them without charge for your business projects.

Some copyright free picture sites host images that were taken mostly from antique or rare books. An example is FromOldBooks where you can find high resolution, free images, scanned from antique books. Another hub for these types of pics is KarensWhimsy. These images are often highly ornate, intricate drawings or watercolors. They’ll work for some niches, but if you have a more modern market, you’ll want to search elsewhere.

Perhaps a photosharing site like StockVault would work for your business needs. Please note – no matter how many times the words “copyright free” are used on the site, be sure to check the terms of use, especially since different contributors can set their own terms. Stay legal!

Another copyright issue comes up when using images of people. Sites like RepublicDomain offer copyright free pictures, but no model releases. Always make sure you can locate a model release when using a picture of a person, unless the photo was taken at an angle that completely prevents the identification of the individual. This includes pictures of babies and children – a model release signed by the legal guardian is necessary.

One of the simplest ways to find high-quality images for free use is to search for the kind of image you want plus the word “.gov”. For instance, if you’re wanting a close up photo of a wolf, do an online search for “wolf.gov”. The United States government sites host thousands of pictures in the public domain. Terms of use for the photos are easily found, but if you have a question, simply locate the contact info for the site and ask if you have permission to use a certain photo. Government site webmasters are used to this type of request, so don’t hesitate to contact them.

Copyright free pictures often are as high-quality as the professional stock pictures you’d pay through the nose for (as far as commercial use goes). A little research will uncover hundreds of free-photo sites – perfect for your online or offline business ventures!

Published by pixie

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