Constructing a website is tricky enough without having to deal with any copyright infringement issues. Building a personal template, meticulously designing pages and loading them up to your server, and troubleshooting to ensure that everything’s working smoothly – the task can be quite daunting. Once you start dealing with legal issues, though, your entire effort could be for naught.
Images are a huge part of website design, whether we’re speaking about brand logos, header images, or any other types of images displayed on a website. More often than not, the images you use aren’t going to be your own; this means finding legal images that you can display.
So, which images are okay for you to use and which images should you stay away from? To put it as simply as possible, you should always avoid any image that is not free to use. It is possible to find an image out there via a Google or Bing search that you can use, but unless it’s clearly stated that the image is free for public use, you should avoid it.
That’s the rule: Never use an image unless you know it’s free to use. And here are a few ways you can be sure to find free, legal images for your designs.
1. Use a photo editor
Using a program like Photoshop or Gimp is a great way to mix and match and blend different images in order to create your own art. Although someone else’s image might be copyrighted, you can use portions of other artwork in order to craft original art. Besides, if you’re dealing with site design, it’s going to help a great deal if you know your way around photo editing software.
2. Take the images yourself
There’s a real sense of accomplishment in snapping your own photos and then editing them for logos or other website images. It’s a little time consuming, and not everyone is cut out to be a photographer, but today’s basic cell phone is capable of taking a crystal clear picture. You never know when you’ll strike gold on a whim.
3. Find royalty-free images
Royalty-free images are available by the million online. You only have to check out a site like Creative Commons Search, Stock.XCHNG, or Public Domain Clip Art. There are dozens of different sites like these, each with a wide range of different images. You can take what you need and change it if you need to (see step 1).
4. Contact the owner
You might run across an image that you really love via a site like PhotoBucket or Facebook. If it’s an image you feel strongly about, you could always contact the individual who owns the photo and ask if you can use it. You might get lucky and be able to use the image for free.
Free images are out there. You should never have to pay for the use of an image or have to worry about the legal implications. As long as you think first before grabbing any old image online, you will do just fine.