Using photos and images alongside your blog articles, on your Web site, brochures, and other marketing materials add interest and emphasize your message.  But where do you find good images?

Some people believe if they are available online, such as through a Google search, they’re free to use.  That is definitely not true.

A few years ago, a client of mine sent me an image her graphic designer used to help create her brand.  When I was adding the image to her ad on my site, NetworkingToday.com, I asked if she owned the “rights” to use the image.  She said yes (that was what she was told by the graphic’s person).  My client worked for a large law firm so I had no reason to doubt her, that is, until I received an invoice for $950 a few months later from the stock photography company for improper useage of the image.  Yikes!  Basically, I was told to pay up or face a lawsuit.

Long story short, my client went after the graphic designer to pay and I was off the hook (once it was paid).  But it was a lesson to me not to simply trust someone’s word, especially if it was third party.

Jennifer Grigg, owner of Social Dragon Marketing, recently created a short video that explains how using images found through Google searches is illegal, and akin to stealing from a store shelf.  Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK9AM350L8Y.

Plus, Jennifer offers these suggestions for free images – just be sure to read the terms and conditions before using.

123RF – Good selection of free photos

Bigfoto.com – Free photos from around the world. Use sitemap to browse by categories

Dreamstime – Paid photos but do have a selection of free photos

Flickr – Free photos, but best practice is to link back to the source

Free Digital Photos – Free photos are small sized. You can buy the larger sized images

Free Range – Great selection of free photos

Hubspot – 75 free photos

Morgue File – Free photos and it has a resize/crop tool you can use right on the website

Photogen – Good selection of free photos

Photo Pin – Anything below the dotted line is free

Stock.XCHNG – A huge selection of free photos

Stockvault – Has both paid and free photos

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Susan Regier, owner of Vantage One Writing, is an in-demand copywriter, marketing strategist, and business breakthrough specialist to serious entrepreneurs who want to have a profitable business they are passionate about.  She has the uncanny ability to find the hidden gems in a business that can ignite sales and profits for her clients.  Claim your free guide: 15 Tips to Increase Your Influence, Attract More Clients & Make More Money at https://susanregier.com.