Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.–Walt Disney
There is no doubt that using images on your medical website and in your blog posts will make them more effective.
You have just seconds to convince a reader that your page is worth sticking to, and nothing can communicate more in less time than a well-chosen picture.
There are two main things you need to know about using images, where to find them and how to use them legally.
Actually, there is one more thing you might want to know: how to NOT pay through the nose for them.
How to Use Images Legally
I am going to start here because this is where you can get in the most trouble. Using an image illegally can result in copyright infringement and upwards of $100,000 in damages–talk about paying through the nose.
I am not a lawyer and frankly the ins and outs of copyright law are not for the faint of heart. There are some great resources out there, but in general I have found it is best to stick to the “better safe than sorry” plan. This involves understanding a couple of terms.
Here is Attorney Sarah Hawkins’ definition:
Copyright is a federal law of the United States that protects original works of authorship. Copyright attaches as soon as the original work is created, and applies to both published and unpublished works. (source)
In other words, if you didn’t make it, someone else probably owns it. And you need to be careful about using it.
Simply finding an image online doesn’t mean its creator has given the OK to use it. You need to find the source of any image you are considering.
Often you can do this just by clicking on the image itself. Here is the source page for the free image I used at the top of this post.
When you find out who owns the photo, you can often find out if the image has a copyright, is free to use, or has restrictions. Sometimes all you need to do is provide a link and author credit to use it–but not always.
If you can’t find the source, then forget it.
Many thousands of images fall into the public domain (and out of copyright) and can be used freely by anyone. But how do you know?
Again, go to the source to make sure. Images are usually dedicated to the public domain because:
- The author has donated it, or
- The author has been dead for at least 70 years
Where to Find Images
The demand for online images is on the rise, and the number of websites offering them seems to be growing by the month. Here are a handful of places I like.
You can find many more free image sources here.
*You can support us by using this link. Dollar Photo Club is an affiliate. We will receive a referral fee if you purchase by using it.
Spend fifteen minutes exploring the image sources I have listed.
See which ones you like best, which jibe (I swear that is the correct use of that word) best with your style and your medical practice.
Bookmark the search page for the ones you like. Then, the next time you are sitting down to write a post you will have quick access to the perfect–legal and cost effective–image.