I know you use a lot of photos on your website and so do lots of other bloggers. I’d like to do the same, but I’m confused.
Am I right, you have to get permission to publish someone’s pictures?
Where do you get the ones you use? Do you pay for them?
What if I find a photo and change it, can I use it then?
You’re absolutely right, you need permission to publish someone else’s pictures and photos on your website. Photos are under roughly the same copyright laws as words. The photographer owns them unless and until she sells them or otherwise gives permission for them to be used.
It doesn’t matter if you’re using the photos on a website, or in print or even, technically, on your wall at home.
If you look at the bottom of almost all my posts you’ll see, usually in italics, a photo credit for the photo or graphic used. I get far and away the most of them from Stock.XCHNG.
“Stock photos” generally refers to a collection of photos that are offered to others for use through licensing. That licencing may be free, or there may be a charge for use.
For example, Stock.XCHNG allows photographers to contribute their photos provided they are willing to let others use them for free and promise not to sell the same photo elsewhere. A few of the photographs do require you name the photographer, but most don’t even ask for that. They probably post there mostly for exposure, just as a freelance writer might do a couple of articles for little or no money to build a portfolio.
The site is now associated with iStockphoto. You’ll find a huge selection of photos there that cost, everything from very little to quite a bit.
There are other stock photo houses – at the moment Google lists way more than you’ll ever be able to look at. Most of those also charge a fee for use. If you want to sell your photos, take a look at some of these.
And no, taking someone’s photo and changing it doesn’t make it yours.
Flikr is probably the best known photo site in the world. It’s really designed for personal use only. In other words, you can upload your own photos for your own use but you’re not supposed to use other’s photographss unless they are in either The Commons where you will find a wide variety of art work in the public domain and therefore okay to use (credit back to Flikr is good manners) and their Creative Commons area – there you’ll find a variety of licenses. There you will find some photos where permission is given to make changes under certain restrictions.