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5 Lawsuit-Free Alternatives to Google Search Images

online marketing visuals

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

That saying holds true in the online world; it is a vital part of an online marketing strategy. 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.

Yes, searching for images on Google, right clicking the image, and saving it to your desktop to use for that blog post or that social media post is easy and free, but at the end of the end it is an action that could cost you more than you bargained for. While some photographers may be flattered that you are using their art work, most will not be. Plus, besides all the SEO (search engine optimization) reasons, using someone else’s image without their permission is not only stealing but there is a high probability that it is also 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. It doesn’t matter if you give attribution to the owner of the image, if you are doing it innocently, or if you didn’t claim the photo as yours; 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! Nowadays, smart phones have cameras that take pictures if it is was taken by a professional camera. Almost all of us have camera phones these days and we never go anywhere without our technology which allows us to take pictures in a snap. So the next time you are in the warehouse or out on a job, snap a few pictures for your company. I am sure it will come into need later for a blog post or article. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of crediting yourself as the photographer!

online marketing graphics

2. Create a graphic.

A graphic can be created from many things, it could be text and images, an infographic, a chart, a presentation, the sky is the limit. Graphics are not only visually appealing but they are a lot of fun to create!

Here are some of my favorite graphic design site because A. they are free (for basic features) and B. they are super easy to use:

3.  Create text images.

There are some great apps available for iphones and androids that allow users to transform textual thoughts into customized images. These are perfect to use for social media posts because you can do it all right from your smartphone.

Some of those apps are:

4. Purchase images from royalty-free sites.

Stock image sites carry millions and millions of stock photos, illustrations, icons that can be used for a price. Some sites offer a per-picture price, others offer subscriptions and some offer both options depending on your need and budget. The great thing about these sites is the generally low cost, the availability of thousands of images within any industry, and being completely safe from copyfright infringement.

Some of my favorite stock image sites are:

5. Use FREE stock photos.

Double whammy: free AND royalty-free images! Of course, generally you have less options to choose from, by as long as you are flexible and are not looking for something too specific, this is a great option for images.

My favorite sites to get free professionals images and photos are:

For more options, take a look at the blog post 53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and social Media Posts from BufferApp.

Important take away: Assume that all images are copyrighted until proven otherwise.

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. Because of this, I recommend that you go through your posts and pages and 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.

By Damien Hughes, 1 year ago – Reply
This post is brilliant! I am starting my own business and will be using a blog (first timer) to connect with my audience. You saved me quite a hassle. I'll be checking out these links. Thank you Laure keep 'em coming!
By admin, 1 year ago – Reply
Damien- I am so glad you found this post useful! Good luck with your new business and finding images for your website.
By whastapp web whatsapp, 8 months ago – Reply
Valuable information! Looking forward to seeing your notes posted. Thank you for sharing the nice article. Good to see your article.
Laure Marini

Results, results, results. Isn't that what we all want? Numbers tell a story and that is the beauty of online marketing. I love everything about telling a success story through analytical data. Full bio

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