How to Fast Find and Use Royalty Free Photos for Articles on LinkedIn
I was never interested in writing articles for the old-style law journals, just because I never saw this as a viable way to attract potential clients for my practice. The Internet changed this. Today I am using LinkedIn for publishing my professional thoughts in short articles, most of the time about questions that my clients frequently ask.
My LinkedIn article repository is here
All my articles have catchy photos. Often, these photos have nothing to do with the article itself. But the photos are always catchy. That alone helps.
From Where are the Photos?
Taking photos myself is not an option for me. I don`t even have a good photo camera anymore.
This is how I solve the problem to find a nice photo for an article, online and for free.
I do NOT use Google Image Search. The images there are usually not meant for publishing on commercial websites.
I do NOT use “creative commons” and “public domain”, whatever that is. Just by someone posting a photo in such an obscure database, it does not become void of Copyrights. So, while “creative commons” may certainly sound appealing, it is not risk free at all.
I do use online commercial stock imagery that is declared to be “royalty free”. Commercial royalty free images are meant to be checked by photo editors before they are sent online in image banks. You can recognize serious online commercial stock imagery databases easily, because they offer both paid images and royalty free images on the same website, next to each other. http://pixabay.com is a good example for that. This is my favorite image online repository, by the way. Another one is https://www.istockphoto.com/ by Getty Images.
Or the respective database has a long-standing history in the Internet, and a working feedback channel for complaints. http://morguefile.com/ is a good example for that.
And I do use commercial stock imagery databases from CD-ROMs that I have purchased. These databases come in handy, and their source is very clear, especially when they come from a trusted source, such as the Corel Draw company, here https://www.coreldraw.com/en/pages/royalty-free-images/
Can I be sure that I do not infringe others` Copyrights?
There is never a 100% guarantee that these royalty free images are truly free of Copyrights, but at least I am in good faith when using such photos. And I have someone specific to blame for the Copyright infringement, should that be the case.
Finally, I use common sense. Copyright is 99% about avoiding problems with authors and giving credit to those who try to make a bare living from producing artworks. An amateur photo is good enough for me, and a professionally shot photo can always be recognized easily, especially in contrast to an amateur photo. Amateurs usually do not complain in case you should unintentionally use their photo, while professionals must per definition engage in an expensive fight about the fruits of their work.
By applying the above rules, I have never had one single complaint about infringing someone else`s Copyright. If it worked for me, it may also work for you.
Royalty Free Online Commercial Stock Imagery Databases
Here is a list of URLs that may lead you to your treasures:
Again: please use these sources responsibly, apply clear safety rules and common sense.
Second Hand CD-ROM Commercial Stock Imagery Databases
This one is my favorite source. I have once bought 5 CD-ROMs with altogether 80,000 photo images when I was at a local flea market, for only 5 USD.
The CD-ROMs are now 15 years old. The company that made the CD-ROMs still exists. I still have the CD-ROMs and they sit in their original covers, although I have copied the images on my hard drive. The print on the cover explicitly says that I am allowed to do so.
This is truly a very low risk data source and I recommend that you look out for such a source yourself, or at least grab the opportunity when you stumble over it.
Anything Else to Observe when using Commercial Stock Imagery Databases?
Yes, important: keep a protocol of the images used in your online articles.
The protocol has the publishing date of your article, a short description of what is seen in the image, the online platform where you have published the article, and a short description of the image source.
The reason for keeping such a protocol is that you can quickly react if someone should question your rights to use a particular photo in one of your articles. This will save you an enormous amount of time in case you need it.
This image usage log also helps you to determine your preferred royalty free photo source faster, it will shorten the time for finding a source for a new photo that you need for that next new article. Chances are high that you will find it in your preferred photo database that you have used for other articles.