This is reposted from ellensclass blog (August 2012). I’m still working on re-organizing and digital 断捨離.

☆ ☆ ☆

No, you may not use any photo on the Internet, just because it’s on the Internet. Your friends may tell you it’s okay, but they are probably the same friends who say that illegally downloading movies or music is okay.

Why? Well, think about it. Say you made something — music, a movie, a photograph, and then you proudly put it up on your website as a great work of art. And then someone, somewhere in the world, saw it, loved it … and then took it as his or her own and sold it for a million dollars. Wouldn’t that make you mad?

Water-rippling178 (1)

“Water rippling” by alegri from 4freephotos.com

Even if that person didn’t profit monetarily from your art — say this person used your beautiful song as the background for his graduation project, and got an A — because the teacher thought “his” music was so good. Wouldn’t it still make you mad that someone took your hard work and “stole” it?

The point is that someone made the art. They should be recognized for it.

And it’s still probably best to use your own photos and art. But most of us don’t have the time (and maybe the talent). And so we look to other people who are willing to share their art.

One site where you can look for “free” photos is  4freephotos.com. These photographers *want* to share their art. They are giving you permission to use it (but not sell it!). You still need to attribute — this means you need to link back to where you found it. Here’s an example:

If you click on the image of the water ripples, it will take you directly to the page where I found it. You can also link to the image this way: Image: “Water rippling” by alegri / from 4freephotos.com, as I did beneath the photo.

How do you download the photo?

You’ll see an image of a disk on the page with the photo you want. Click on that, and it will download as a jpg file:

Further down the page (or by clicking on the copyright symbol next to the photo), you’ll find the Creative Commons license. This is the copyright information that says that the photo is free to use (but not to sell!)

Even further down the page, you’ll see a place where you can find more photos — but not for free. These are “low cost” images from Shutterstock:

There are many other similar sites. And another place you can go to search for images you can use “for free” is the Creative Commons search page.

So spice up your blogs, presentations and other things you do for class (and outside of class) with some photos. If you can use your own, do. But if you want to borrow photos, these are good places to start looking. And remember, just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s necessarily “free”.

Halloween’s coming! Here’s an image that might help spice up your Halloween posts:


“Halloween set” by alegri, from 4freephotos.com


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