5 Lawsuit-Free Alternatives to Google Search Images

You’ve heard it before: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Online Marketing AgencyThe same adage holds true in the online world. An effective visual captures your audience’s attention, powers up your communication, and boosts engagement whether it is on your blog, website, or any social media platform. But what happens when those thousands of words turn into thousands of dollars?

Right-clicking and saving a Google image to your desktop to use for that blog post or social media update is easy and free, but doing just that could cost you more than you’re probably willing to pay. While some photographers may be flattered that you are using their art, most will not be too happy about the fact that they’re not getting paid for their hard work. Considering that and all the repercussions of faulty SEO practices, using someone else’s image without their permission is not only considered stealing but there is also a high probability that it is illegal.

The majority of the images available in Google Search are protected by copyright laws — a protection that gives every image author the exclusive right to use or reproduce their work — meaning that you cannot use it without their permission.  In addition, companies such as Getty Images are monitoring the web on a daily basis to find people who are using images without permission. Even if you are innocently sharing a photo while giving attribution to the owner without claiming it as your own work, none of that negates you from copyright infringement.

So, what can you do?

Here are 5 ways to stay out of copyright infringement lawsuits:

1. Take your own photos

The general rule is: you make it, you own it. This is why taking your own photos is the best (and safest) option. Don’t own a camera? No problem! Today, most smart phones have cameras with some of the same capabilities of a professional camera. Almost all of us have camera phones and we never go anywhere without our technology which allows us to take pictures in a snap at any given moment.

All it takes is that extra step to learn how to take a good picture. So the next time you’re in the warehouse or out on a job, snap a few pictures for your company. Make sure it’s a well-lit, crisp, and high quality image so you can use it for your digital content. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of crediting yourself as the photographer!

2. Create a graphic

Create a Graphic“Creating a graphic” might sound intimidating to someone who’s never done it before, but the growing need for user-created-content has created a whole universe of websites that do most of the work for you. First, decide what purpose your graphic will serve.

Infographics are great for simplifying complex concepts while a custom image can help drive brand awareness. Graphics are not only visually appealing, but they engage people in a way that images or texts don’t individually.

Not a photoshop master? No need to fear. Try out some of my favorite websites for creating graphics. They’re free, easy to use, and can give you the power to create some stunning graphics:

3.  Create text images

Naturally, we use language as a tool to connect with one another while delivering and receiving messages. Sharing information in the form of text can be helpful for someone who is seeking that specific material, but attaching a visually appealing image to those words creates the opportunity to impact everyone else you’re trying to reach.

Social media allows us to share information in a palatable and succinct way so that we can interact with our followers as effectively as possible. The trick, however is to grab their attention. Say, for example you want to post a quote that you found to be inspiring and relevant to your brand. Posting a powerful quote can be a great way to add a sense of dignified content to your page, but chances are people are just going to keep scrolling if all they see is words on a screen.

Pairing a quote, however with an image of the author or a captivating landscape faded underneath already has a different effect on the screen. Similarly, this can be a great way to wish your followers a happy holiday or share an interesting fact about your product. 

Transform textual thoughts into customized images with these apps:

Don’t forget to spell check and as I mentioned before, always use high quality images in accordance to copyright law.

4. Purchase images from royalty-free sites

Stock image sites carry millions and millions of stock photos, illustrations, and icons that can be “purchased”. Pricing options vary from price-per-picture fees to subscription dues, while some offer both depending on your need and budget. Using these platforms is relatively low in cost, offering thousands of images within any industry while safeguarding you from copyright infringement.

Each website has its own pricing methods. Be sure to read through the terms to find out which one is best for your company’s needs:

5. Use FREE stock photos

Double whammy:  free and royalty-free images!

Of course, this option generally leaves you with less images to choose from, but a little flexibility and a lot of creativity can go a long way if you’re on a tight budget. 

Do more with less with these free image sources:

Looking for more inspiration? Check out BuggerApp’s 53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and social Media Posts or 21 Amazing Sites With Breathtaking Free Stock Photos (2019) from Snappa Blog. 

Always assume that all images are copyrighted until proven otherwise! Taking this precautionary step can save your hard earned dollars and your company’s reputation.

If you have been using non-approved images on your blogs, sites, and social media posts, you are probably violating copyright laws and could be sued for it. Make sure to go through your posts and pages to delete any visuals that you do not own.

Looking for more information about how to find quality photography or illustrations? check out this stock images cheat sheet.

About the author

Online marketing strategist on a mission to help B2B businesses effectively reach their target audiences and convert them.

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