Can I Use Google Images for Pictures for Blogs and Articles?

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While this may be a refresher course for some this may be news to others. You cannot use any image you find on Google images for any blog or article unless you have research that picture and have authorization to use it. So how do you know you can use it? Well, the best way to know is to just not use it at all and find other sources for pictures and images for your blogs, articles and website.Otherwise, you need to track down where the image originated and this may be difficult to images

So where can I find images to use in my blog posts or articles?

The last thing you want to have is a cease and desist order or a bill from Getty images or Image rights saying you have used their image without attribution or licensing. To avoid this you need to look for images that either are free of copy rights or royalties, allow attribution or credit to the photographer, or you simply pay for an image service or per photo. - Here's the thing though and here me out... ASK ASK ASK!! Flickr is a great resource for great images but you MUST ask for permission before using. I have to tell you that I have only been asked once to pay which I declined. All other times people are happy to have you use their images with attribution or credit. They usually want to see the post where it's displayed too. BUT YOU MUST ASK!

Wiki Commons has thousands of images, many of which you can use without any attribution or copyright permission. But they have several rules and instructions depending on the image. What you want to look for if you choose to use this image source, (any can be a great place if you want specific localized images)

 no copyright - images for free

This is about the only one that you're pretty much guaranteed you won't have any issues with non-attribution or copyright rules. While the licensing and rules may change it's still not a bad idea to post where you got the image for any future questions.

Another licensing will be creative Commons -attribution share alike 3.0 which will look like this.

 creative commons attribution

This means that some rights are still reserved and follows under a copyleft type of license. You must attribute or credit the photographer exactly as stated. Here is an example of this permission. Even under this licensing it's not a bad idea to simply e-mail the photographer and ask for their permission. I've come across one of these that the photographer didn't even know their image was on a page with this licensing.

Another licensing is the GNU free documentation license. This gives you the right to copy and redistribute the work or sell commercially even, but the original source code must be available to the works recipient. This is probably a better choice rather than just simply the Creative Commons attribution and it's always smart to leave credit where credit is due. 

copyright GNU

These are the most common forms that you'll find on Wiki Commons but each image will have its specific distribution and user rules. Be sure to follow them to the letter.

But what if you don't want to fiddle with all of that?

You can simply purchase photos from several reputable image sources or find public domain sources. I use which offers an extremely reasonable annual fee and gives you access to thousands of images. But for even more high-quality, localized images I use which charges you $1-$5 per image depending on the size. Yes this may seem like a lot, but if you're doing some high-quality articles or website work you may want to spend one or two dollars to get the image you really want. 

There there are others out there and everyone has their favorites but of course nothing beats taking the photo yourself. While you may not be able to get the exact image that you want, remember, don't just copy and paste from Google images. It could cost you much more than a simple e-mail asking for permission.

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Tim and Tammy Emineth have owned Personal SEO since 2004. We focus on SEO first whether it's blogging, images, website design, IDX solutions and calls to action. We operate with a Storybrand philosophy to encourage more traffic to your site, more eyes on your content and more leads to your business. Call us or email us for a free website audit.

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Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Kathy Streib 06/19/2012 02:41 AM
  2. Beth and Richard Witt 06/19/2012 03:46 AM
  3. John & Irma Nelson 08/26/2012 01:52 AM
  4. MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900 06/07/2013 06:56 AM
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Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Nice info about WikiCommons - and a good reminder.

Jun 19, 2012 02:47 AM #16
Phil Hillerman
Crye-Leike Realtors® - Rogers, AR
Crye-Leike Realtors®

Hi Tammy, Caught your post on Kathy's reblog,  everyone needs to keep copywrite laws in mind whenever we use someone else's work, don't do it without permission.

Jun 19, 2012 02:51 AM #17
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Tammy - Thanks for the refresher - it's very useful information to keep in mind. I've also been using and can almost always find something there that works, but I've also found some great stuff on WikiCommons, as well as some historical sites that have totally copyright-expired free stuff.

Jun 19, 2012 03:05 AM #18
Bill Rozek
Embrace Home Loans, Inc. - Potomac, MD
NMLS #214260

Great, informative article.  For most purposes you can use Microsoft's free clipart from their online clipart gallery, if you have any version of Microsoft Office on your computer.

Jun 19, 2012 03:13 AM #19
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Tammy, Of course you are absolutely right. I know that it's not easy to get permission, and we do need to have other sources when we don't have our own photos or images to use for our blogs. I will make note off many of these places from the comments above.


Jun 19, 2012 03:31 AM #20
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Kathy, thanks for the suggestion. I tweak and alter a lot of images I find from clipart programs and then if I have to go to the Commons and then from there pay for it if I need to.

Lottie, thanks for your comment. I hope these are hopeful tips

Phil, absolutely. It's always best to have that permission in writing so that you can go back if you need to. Of course, using your own photos is a no-brainer

Dick, I love those historical sites and you're right, they are totally free! LOVE THAT

Bill, I was using that for quite some time and caught a blog about those not being used for commercial use. But it may not have been legit, it could've been an opinion. So I haven't used them in some time.

Jerry, having a good plethora of resources to choose from is always a good idea.

Jun 19, 2012 03:39 AM #21
Beth and Richard Witt
Long Island Cash Home Buyer - Huntington, NY
Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940

Tammy... I always use Google Images... I had no idea this could be a problem so I thank you so much for this post... You are the best!!!

Jun 19, 2012 03:43 AM #22
Julie Bentley
Watson Realty Corp, Jacksonville, FL - St Johns, FL
Saint Johns, FL REALTOR

Great information, Tammy, thanks so much. I have been using MorgueFile and CreativeCommons but can't always find the photos I am looking for with them.  I appreciate the tips and will check out the sources you cited.



Jun 19, 2012 04:43 AM #23
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Yes Beth, that's a no no. Big time trouble should the owner not want them on your blog. Best to find free ones or paid for ones.

Julie, I used MOrguefile for a while and never could find what I needed. But it is a good source :)

Jun 19, 2012 04:51 AM #24
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

I use for my blog photos that aren't regarding my work. Yes they aren't free but it is worth it. I will check out the sites you provided as well. Thanks!

Jun 19, 2012 09:50 AM #25
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

I did use them but couldn't find what I needed most of the time which means I switched to  iClipart or paying for them

Jun 19, 2012 12:29 PM #26
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Good morning Tammy- Great post! I use wiki commons all the time - sometimes, their photo of the day or media of the day inspires a post as well!

Jun 19, 2012 09:40 PM #27
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Great information and a good reminder!  I have jotted down all the suggestions and will bookmark to make sure I have the reminder handy.

Jun 20, 2012 12:11 AM #28
Kim Gaston
RE/MAX Advantage Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs REALTOR®, CNE (719)661-6987

Thanks for the tips, Tammy. I understand and appreciate the warning. Mainly use my own photos, but will bookmark this for future ref.

Jun 20, 2012 12:42 AM #29
Sonia Riahi
TourZap - Orléans, ON

Very intelligent blog post about something that most people really forget about - or even ignore. Photo rights are a big issue, especially considering how open and globalized things are becoming thanks to the Internet.  Good read!

Jun 21, 2012 02:00 AM #30
Chris deLambert
Sanford, NC

Thanks for the tips.  In this new age of "free information", I think a lot of folks don't stop to consider property rights. 

Jun 22, 2012 12:33 AM #31
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

Thank you for sharing your blog; we need Real estate Professionals to share their comments and information regarding their markets and experiences. Thanks again from beautiful Sunny San Diego!

Jul 05, 2012 01:23 AM #32
Dianne Goode
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC

Hi Kathy, thanks for the good information.  What about the Google Images logo in your post -- did you get/need permission for that?  I've pulled logos too, for my blog on Evernote, for example.  I always "assumed" a company would not object to a blog that amounts to free advertising for them.

Jul 06, 2012 10:01 PM #33
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Dianne, the Google logo is out there all over the place, I'm not too concerned about that one.. but I don't mean logos - although they probably are still copyrighted and they do probably love it - but these are just images on - meaning anything out there, not the logos :)

Jul 06, 2012 10:47 PM #34
Brad MacKenzie
Brad MacKenzie - Duxbury, MA
Turning Houses into Homes on the South Shore

Agreed. I like to use my own photos. I also have a few friends who take great photos. Otherwise, I just ask. Everyone says yes.

Sep 12, 2013 06:03 AM #35
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