Using Google Images For Your Blog? Get Ready For Trouble!

Risks_ahead_SmallI sent out a small freebie a few days ago. They were stock photos taken by a photographer I’m going to be working with to create bundles of PLR images. I also included link to this survey where I asked about what types of images you used and where you normally got them.

While most of you said you bought them or took your own pictures, I was surprised by how many answered that you got them from Google Images!

I know none of you would be doing this if you knew it was illegal because if you follow me that’s probably not the type of person you are, or maybe you just don’t think anyone will notice. Either way… it’s time I let you in on this…

When you simply go search on Google Images, find a picture you like, and use it on your blog you are STEALING. It’s no different than going and searching for a blog post on email marketing, copy/pasting it, and posting it on your blog. That image belongs to someone and not only can the owner of that image file a DMCA notice to your hosting (which could get your site shut down) but some sites and image owners are suing for huge amounts! Getty Images in particular is known for suing for thousands of dollars for each image that’s stolen.

I should also mention that simply linking to where you got the image doesn’t make it okay to use in most cases. I’ve seen a lot of people link to the source of their image and when I click over the image is copyright protected.

Tomorrow I plan to post up a list of places to buy images for a fair price and a few places I use for free images. For now, here is the main site I use:


They have a lot of images available and it’s the lowest priced stock photo site out of the high quality sites I use. The extra small images are big enough for pretty much everything I do. They also have a membership you can sign up for to get a few images a day.

How to Use Google Images the RIGHT Way

Now, I honestly think it’s almost always better to use professional stock photos, they look nice and you can find a huge variety, but I know that’s not always possible. You CAN use Google Images to find pictures it’s okay to use.

You need to get into the advanced options. You can do this by searching for anything on Google images and clicking the gear to the right of the Safe Search button. Pick “Advanced Search”.

At the bottom there is a “Usage Rights” option. Pick “free to use or share, even commercially” if you plan to use it as is. If you plan to edit it in any way (including adding text or cropping it) choose “free to use, share, or modify, even commercially” and search to see your options!

What is your favorite place to get images?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS


  1. I use stockphotos a lot (I buy credits when I can find a good coupon deal and stock up on them). I also use own images and various CC ones (under the correct commercial use license).

    Unfortunately image theft is well and thriving, many don’t even know what they are doing is wrong.

    I’ll check depositphotos, it’s not a stockphoto agency I am familiar with. I usually buy from istockphoto, shutterstock, dreamstime or fotolia depending who has what I need and/or best coupon at the time.
    fanfreluche recently posted..Squidoo vs Hubpage: Reversal of FortuneMy Profile

  2. Didn’t realize you could do a search like that on Google images! Thanks! 🙂
    Carrie recently posted..Monday Menu #5My Profile

  3. Hey followed you on UBC, I am actually surprised by this. I try to create as many of my own things as possible but I am extremely limited as far as software goes. I usually search for “free” backgrounds or images, etc. I had no clue about the advanced options. I will definitely be taking a peak and making sure everything is in order. One question that you can likely answer for me is when I do a blog post on an item (i normally do reviews and do have permision, but in cases where i just post because i can) is it illegal to take the item’s photo from a website for the purpose of reviews or does that not fall under the creative commons? An example of what I mean is on my new blog where I used a picture of a shoe that was purchased for me from The Shopping Channel and in the post i explain that the shopping channel is where i got the item and i include a link. It is a review and I do not make any money off of it. If this is illegal how do you get pictures of items for review? Thanks so much! Great info!
    Marisa Slusarcyk recently posted..ImagineMy Profile

    • They do not fall under creative commons. For product images the easiest way to get them is from Amazon. Amazon allows affiliates to use their product images provided you are linking back to the item near where you use the image. You can also take images of the products yourself if you own them.

  4. Great points about using images.

  5. Nicely written! I am definitely going to share this post. I recently saw a youtube video where someone is showing how to upload images to their wordpress using google images – the wrong way. My jaw dropped and I thought, “You didn’t just show people how to do that?!”. I am guilty of using images wrongly. When I first started, I didn’t know and honestly didn’t even think to look into it. (I now look into anything and everything I do when it comes to business related issues!) Since I now know about images, I have used less pictures in my posts, but enough to not bore readers 🙂 , and have reused a some from older posts. Thanks again,
    ~ Jodene
    Jodene recently posted..Sometimes, Business Ownership Can be Just Like a Traffic JamMy Profile

    • As long as you’ve learned the RIGHT way to use images now, you’re okay. And honestly, even just one per post is good. I usually use one image and maybe screenshots later unless it’s a really long post. I also reuse images from time to time (as long as it was a while ago when I last used it).

      If you’re looking for more free images to use, I’ll be writing more about that later today!

  6. Hi Amanda,
    Great article. Needful, too. I don’t get images from Google or even search for them there. I didn’t know about DepositPhotos. I will look at them.

    Awhile back I bought a ton of graphics from Helene M and so far I have found what I need in there or from my own computer. I have lots of pictures. I had asked if anyone knew where I could buy those “little Pillsbury dough-boy” looking graphics…lol.
    I didn’t know they were called Cuties.
    Helene read it and sent me the link to a ton of graphics for a song almost. I have all rights to them. I’ll never be able to use them all, but they here. I do like the looks of DepositPhotos, though. I just opened up the site. Thanks for good tips.

    • I’ve picked up quite a few stock image and graphic packs. It’s nice to just have them all downloaded and ready to use! I always go through my stock image folder before I head over to DepositPhotos now.

      If you ever buy one off images, DepositPhotos is my #1 site for them.

  7. Hi Amanda,

    Great post, it’s amazing how many people honestly believe that they can freely use Google images, and I’m glad to see it’s addressed more and more on blogs in the IM world. Just a little sidenote: even the advance search you mentioned can bring you in problems. It’s based on how the owner of the site sets up the image and if they stole it, they could care less about anything relevant to image license. Better to either take your own pictures or use a trustworthy site 🙂

    Take care,

    Leslie Bogaerts recently posted..Personalize The Look Of Your WordPress Login PageMy Profile

  8. What a great reminder, that just because you can cut and paste, it doesn’t make it ok to cut and paste! Not with pictures or writing!

    I have purchased several of the graphic art software which also offer photographs, clip art, cartoons, etc.
    Arla DeField – recently posted..NO!  NO!  NO!  NO!  NO!  – Practice Your NO!My Profile

    • A lot of people don’t really know that things on the internet aren’t free to use. I’m not exactly sure WHY so many people have this idea, but they do.

  9. I never knew the advanced search was there for Google, but I never use Google images so I never had the opportunity to find any images there. 🙂

    Still, it’s a good thing to know for those who do use Google images for shots. I prefer making my own or buying them from iStockPhoto, which tend to get quite expensive. In the earlier days, they were cheaper. 🙂
    Bonnie Gean recently posted..90 Day Product Creation Challenge, Day 16My Profile

  10. I use iStockPhoto or my own photos, but I’d like to find some other sources! Great post — a lot of people don’t realize that they can get themselves into trouble by doing that!
    Michelle recently posted..Backup Plans = Peace of MindMy Profile

  11. Thanks for the heads up. I never knew about the advance search in google. Glad you share.
    Honeybee recently posted..Should Health Bars Feature In Your Diet Plan?My Profile

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

Hide me
Be the first to know when I add new posts!
Name: Email:
Show me
Build an optin email list in WordPress [Free Software]