Obviously I’m not a lawyer. I’m simply sharing my experiences. Nothing in here should be construed as legal advice and of course, double check the terms and conditions of any website that you visit from one of my links.
Once you start making videos and websites, you’re going to need high quality images and drawings to make your work seem professional.
It’s one thing to be tinkering around with web design for personal and educational use.
It’s another thing to be creating websites for clients or creating your own business websites for your side hustle.
If you’re running a business or side hustle, you should have a professional looking website. That means using professional looking images and drawings and videos.
Can’t I just find any image on Google and use that on my website?
No, you can’t simply go to Google image search and use any image that you like.
Yes, I know lots of people do that.
Can’t I just use an image that I found on the Internet and then just give the author a shout out?
No, you can’t simply use someone else’s image or music from your favourite artist and then give them credit or say something like, “I do not own this image or music.”
Yes, I know lots of people do that.
Can’t I just use a of photo that I took or an image that I made?
Of course, you can use photos that you took or images that you made because you own the copyright.
But of course, commonsense needs to prevail.
- If I take a picture or screenshot of an image that I don’t own, does that mean that I own it now?
- If I play my favourite artists music on a speaker and then I record it on my own device, does that mean that I own that song now?
- If I take a picture of a celebrity or a politician, does that mean I can use their image in my advertisements?
No, of course not.
Yes, I know there’s something called fair use which covers our ability to use copyrighted material without having permission.
(YouTube has a video about copyright basics)
If I’m creating a website for a small business client or if I’m creating a website to make a living off of, I want high quality images that I can use without having to think too much about it.
Okay, so where do I find good quality images that I can use for my business / side hustle website?
You have a couple of options:
If you’re looking for free images, videos or sound effects…
1. Ideally you want something called Creative Commons ZERO (CC0) – so you can use it FOR ANY PURPOSE without attribution
- These are images and creatives that the author has published with essentially no copyright.
- You can use them for any purpose – including commercial business projects – and you don’t have to give credit to the author.
- Read more about CC0 here
You can search on Flickr for creative common zero licensed images:
You can search on Freesound for creative common zero licensed sound effects:
But be super careful because it’s easy to start on their CC0 search page, but then fall into the rabbit hole and end up searching images on their regular image search (that includes all types of copyright licenses.)
Make sure the creative you use is actually CC0 (and not a different CC license)
Note: there are lots of different types of Creative Commons licenses
Just because an image says Creative Commons license doesn’t mean you can use that image any way you want.
- Some CC licenses let you modify and remix the image while others don’t.
- Some require attribution and a link back to the source, while others don’t.
- Some licenses let you use the image for personal use, but not commercial use.
- Some licenses let you use the image, but then you have to release your work under the same license. (Share alike)
Personally, I tend to only use CC0 images in my projects.
If I’m running a website, I don’t think it looks very professional if I have to list all of the image sources that I used.
2. Use a FREE STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY website
There are several different stock photography websites that offer images that you can use for commercial products without attribution.
Some of these used to be listed under a CC0 license, but now they have a more specific license that says you can use the images as long as you use them in a creative project. (Basically you can’t just take these photos and then upload them to another stock photography or wallpaper website.)
Here are a few examples:
- Pexels – read their license
- Pixabay – read their license
- Unsplash – read their license
- Stocksnap – read their license
- Altphotos – CC0 license
If you don’t mind paying for images, videos or sound effects…
FREE is great, but sometimes, you can’t find the right photo, image or sound.
Now, we’re looking into buying royalty-free stock images, photos, videos and more.
- We’re not buying the copyright to these images and videos. (The person who created the image always owns the copyright.)
- We’re buying permission (a royalty-free, non-exclusive license) to use these images in a commercial project (like a website or video).
Here are a few things to know:
When you buy a royalty-free stock image, “Royalty-free” means that you don’t pay money (i.e. royalties / license fees) for
- each use,
- per copy sold
- or for a specific time period or number of sales
In this case, you’re buying a royalty-free stock photo so you pay once for a standard royalty-free non-exclusive license to use the image.
When you buy stock images and videos, it’ll be with a non-exclusive license.
Non exclusive means you’re not the only person who can use this image or sound. (It’s not exclusive to you.)
- I really like the snapping intro that I have at the start of my YouTube videos.
- Here’s where I got the sound from: Snaps, Stomps and Claps logo
- So, yes, other people can use the snapping sound that I use at the start of my YouTube videos.
When you buy a royalty free stock image or video, you’re buying a license (permission) to use that copyright material in your products.
Different stock agencies have different licenses that will state the terms that you’re allowed to use the image.
For example, you might be allowed to use the image / video / sound clip in
- one project per license (so you have to buy another license if you want to use it in a second project, even though you already have a copy on your computer.)
- multiple projects.
- digital distribution products (i.e. websites, e-publications), but you might need a different extended license if it’s on merchandise that will be sold.
- the number of copies (i.e. 250,000 copies of an eBook
Bottom line is you’ll have to read the license terms when you buy your stock image or asset.
Here are a few examples for stock images.
Prices per image are listed in Canadian dollars based on the cheapest plan using credits (as opposed to a monthly subscription that allows you to download x number of images per month)
Usually you can get a small image for 1 credit, and then you pay more credits for the same image in high resolution or as a vector file. (Videos cost many credits and HD videos cost many more)
Credits usually last for one year from purchase. Then they disappear.
- Big Stock Photo: $3.50 per image (10 image credits for $35 CAD)
- iStock by Getty Images: $12 per image (3 image credits for $36 CAD)
- Shutterstock: $20 per image (2 image credits for $29 USD or around $40 CAD)
- Adobe stock: $14 per image (5 image credits for $49.95 USD or around $70 CAD)
- Getty Images: $175 per image (1 image credit for $175 CAD)
- Audio Jungle – for sound effects / music and other audio stuff.
What do I use?
Here’s what I use: