Beware of the Photos You Use from the Internet

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on October 27, 2015

in blog, social media

DeathtoStock_Medium7Websites, blogs, and social media are all going visual. We have to have photos—good photos to tell and support our stories. The challenge is to find photos that work. Many people just look for FREE photos on Google.

Can you be sued for using photos from the Internet? Short answer: yes. The chances are slim that it will happen, but nonetheless, it could happen.

Keep in mind that Google is a SEARCH ENGINE that finds things on the internet. Where those things actually are (which website) varies. Google does not own the websites or the images. If you use images from sites that have copyright, you can be sued. Your job is to insure that you don’t use anything that ISN’T public domain. (from Yahoo answers)

I have been wanting to write about this for a while and in my research I found a blog article by Roni Loren, a New York Times and USA Today romance author. Roni was sued for using a photo she had taken from a Google search.

Roni’s explanation of what can happen is very clear and I am encouraging you to read her blog post now: Bloggers Beware: You Can Get Sued for Using Photos on Your Blog—My Story.

To be clear: just because you find a photo on Google, does not mean you can use it. You need to verify that it is in the public domain or get express permission from the owner to use it.

Roni lists some sites that provide public domain (or the equivalent) photos that she now uses for photos. Another public domain site that I recently found is called

As Roni suggests: use your own photos when you can (you own the rights to those) or use photos that are in the public domain. If you really need a special photo, then buy a stock photo. There are some subscription stock photo sites that are quite inexpensive.

Ronie also invites the photographers among us to contribute good qualifying photos to Creative Commons or other public domain sites to, as she says, “share the love.” I shared my first photos on Pixabay last week. Have any of you shared your photos to be used for free?

Your comments are welcome.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Sister Therese Rich October 27, 2015 at 6:37 am

Using free graphics or photos is tricky.Here are a few other sites I use ….

Pexels, Morguefiles, Negative Space, Unsplash, Fotolia, Fotor just to mention a few!

Pat Sylvester October 27, 2015 at 6:52 am

Thank you for this valuable information!

Gerianne October 27, 2015 at 7:24 am

When you post on Twitter, can you include the photo used in the article you are sending your followers to?

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND October 27, 2015 at 8:15 am

I am not an expert in this, but to be safe, I only share the link to the article on Twitter.

As we all know when you share a link on Facebook, the photo comes with it so that is not a problem. But that is not the case with Twitter.

Sr. Susan

marika October 27, 2015 at 8:30 am

A great free photo site I recently found is

Pilar October 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

Hi All,

I recently found Picjumbo, which offers stock photos for free and you can even get them delivered to your email on a weekly basis. They obviously are not “Christian” or religious in theme, but I have found some wonderful scenic photos that quotes can be added to.

When I need a religious photo, I first search the Catholic websites. If I find a photo I like on a personal blog or Catholic business/organization then I just send an email with a request to use and an explanation of how I plan to use it. I have been quite successful that way.

Caroline Cerveny October 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

You will find some other options here –

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND October 28, 2015 at 5:33 am

Thank you to everyone who suggested sites where free photos can be found. There are more than I thought!

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