So... you've got a website... you are starting to think about blogging. And you think- I really need some photographs for my website. Where do you go? Can you find free photographs? Can you just grab them from Google? What about Creative Commons License? I'm going to help today. But first, let me tell you how I paid over $1,000 for ONE picture and how you can avoid my rookie mistake
How to pay over $1,000 for one picture
I was on the board of my local professional organization chapter (CAMFT) for many years. While my role was "member at large" truly what I did was all the geeky technical things. I build the website, integrated online registration, got them set-up with an email list, started blogging, and kept all that silly stuff flowing. I had a great board that I worked with- had a lot of laughs- it was great.
We put on trainings about 8 times per year, and for one all day training I was able to snag the fabulous Jennifer Johnson, LCSW to come and present on LGBTQ issues. It was a non-profit event- I usually put up the person's picture- but Jen didn't send a picture. So, I went out looking and found a beautiful picture of an eye with a rainbow prism in the iris. I emailed the blog that I found it on- and they said "sure!" I could use it no problem...
Can you guess what happened? Less than 2 weeks after the event page went live for our non-profit event- we received a letter saying we owed them $2,000 for using the image without permission. The image in question was actually the same eye- but without the rainbow prism. The letter was a clear shakedown- if we paid by a certain date, they would greatly reduce the cost... it would only be like $1200... We consulted attorneys and guess what they said? Pay it.
My well meaning lack of knowledge (and wanting to do things on the cheap) cost my non-profit board over $1000- for one picture, used for less than 3 weeks... wow. Are you terrified now? Don't be! I'm going to show you how you can easily find free pictures that you can use without fear or stress.
Pictures for Therapist Websites
The thing you need to know about your private practice website is that it is a commercial venture. I know, we don't usually think of ourselves as "commercial." However, as far as copyright law- we are using this pictures for commercial use. Yes, even if your blog is a free resource. And yes, even if you aren't making money from your blog yet. You might be smart to choose commercial ready images in case you ever change your mind.
This means images that are labeled as free to re-use, might be free to use for personal use- but not commercial. Also, know that the creative commons license requires you to clearly state that right on your image- and that doesn't always look nice on a commercial site. Don't fret- you can still get awesome free images that you can use on commercial ventures- without having to stress or do anything special.
Resource #1: Pexels
Resource #2: Canva
Canva.com is a free image editing software you can access from any Internet browser. They have lots of groovy templates that are sized perfectly for all the different types of posts you might need. So, if you need to make an image for a Facebook post- you click on Facebook post and it gives you the perfect size to edit. Some of the images that come pre-loaded in the templates cost $1. However, you can upload your own images to integrate in. Yes, you guessed it- you can use the images you found over at Pexels to tweak your gorgeous Canva template so that it is free and clear.
Resource #3: Your SmartPhone
Give yourself permission to play with your camera. Go for a walk between clients and take some images of the beauty around you- use those images to create beautiful pics for your social media. You may not have the "eye" for this, or it may feel too stressful. However, if you find you like taking pictures- play for a bit and you might find that you get better with time.
Resource #4: WordSwag (Iphone only)
Ok, technically this isn't free. However, it is SO cheap that it just makes sense. You will pay less than $10 to download the app and even upgrade all the fancy options and it will make creating images for your blog-posts SO EASY! In WordSwag, you simply type in the title of your blog post or your call to action, select a style, and then "roll the dice" to find the style that works best. It somehow sizes all the text perfectly so everything looks great and professionally done. It really is like magic. Again, you can use their pre-made backgrounds (no extra cost)- or you can use images from your smartphone or Pexels to make your images custom to you.
There you are. A few great, free (and cheap) resources to make sure you never have to pay $1,000 for one photograph! So go out- have some fun, blog, tweak that website!
Share your website in the comments below. Let us know how, where, or when you used the tricks above to trick out your website with great free photos!