The world is becoming more and more image focused. As a webmaster it’s important to be able to add images to the articles that we create, and as a startup it’s also important to have a source of images that we can use for corporate documents, presentations and similar endeavors. This can become very expensive, depending on the way you go about it.
Luckily, the Creative Commons was created in 2001 to help people license their works freely for certain uses, on certain conditions; or in other cases to dedicate their works to the public domain. Using the Creative Commons’ licenses you can specify whether an image is fully copyrighted and not available for use without specific permission (and usually payment) to the creator, or if it is available for use under certain circumstances, all the way to completely donated to the public domain.
The Creative Commons license structure is built into sites like Flickr and YouTube and is now used by organizations all over the world to easily identify the copyright status of images, articles and other materials on the Internet.
You can also search directly within some sites with a Creative Commons restriction. One site that has this built into it in an extremely effective way is Flickr. If you search Back to School for images that are usable for commercial purposes with modifications available, you will see a return like the one below:
There are also some other tools available to give you new ways of searching for the images that you want for your projects, one of my favorites is TinEyeLabs Creative Commons Image Search by Color, which lets you look for an image by color(s) alone [up to five (5)], or by keywords and color. An example of which is shown below. It’s a great little tool! TinEyeLabs also has a great Palette Generation Tool that you should check out.
One of the requirements for virtually any use of a Creative Commons image is attribution, so be sure to list who created the wonderful images that you decide to use, and it doesn’t hurt to drop them a thank you on their Flickr (or other social media site) and a backlink to their portfolio if you have the opportunity.
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