Need Free Photos & More?

As a writer, you’re not always concerned with visual or audio artwork. It’s often secondary to the Muse dictating the story to you. However, you need media for marketing your author brand, so how do you find it and use it legally?

Useful Guide to Free Photos by Robin Van Auken the Wholehearted AuthorThe Ultimate Guide to Free Photos, Media & More was too ambitious, plus it wasn’t an achievable goal, so I created A Useful Guide to Free Photos, Media & More to help you find content to illustrate your website, your books and your life without spending a dime on photos, video, music and more.

I started curating my list of free, downloadable content years ago, because of a client who ran into problems using stock photography. As a customer of a popular word processing software, she had permission to use the artwork that came packaged on the software CD. That changed when a large stock photo company purchased the rights to the images. The software customers had no way of knowing about the change of ownership. My client received a harassing email, threatening a lawsuit if she did not pay $2,000 for “illegally” using an image that came pre-packaged on the CD she legally purchased.

She removed the image, but refused to pay for a product she had the right to use, stating this in a strongly worded letter. The harassment stopped, but the lesson was learned: Be careful when using media because legal rights can be transferred without your knowledge.

Throughout the years, that stock company has grown into the largest photographic aggregator and resale company, and with that has come several billion-dollar lawsuits, and counter lawsuits.

Another time, a small online newspaper hired a part-time copy editor, and that person illustrated an article with a photo she found on Google images. The photographer, rightfully so, contacted the newspaper and told them they didn’t have permission. Then, following in the footsteps of the largest photographic resale company above, he sent the publisher an invoice for $700. I recommended that she remove the image, apologize profusely, and educate her employees on how to search for safe images.

There are many resources for stock photography and other media. You can avoid situations like this if you are certain you know who owns the content and that you’re complying with the law.  If you’re not sure of ownership, considering using TinEye, a website that conducts a reverse image search. Find it here: http://www.tineye.comOr, use the Advanced Safe Search function on Google’s Image browser. Be careful!

The sites I recommend in this useful guide have stood the test of time. I use them (well, most of them) and have advice and suggestions to share.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!