Source for Images: The Commons on Flickr

Source for Images: The Commons on Flickr gives an overview of hidden treasures from the world’s public photography archives that can be found on The Commons via Flickr.

I’m always looking for interesting stock image sites, preferably free ones. And, I must admit that I’m rather fascinated by historic photos and drawings. When I can I use them as post images for my blog posts and social media postings.

Flickr has created The Commons which amasses a collection of public photography archives.

Flickr’s The Commons goal is “to share hidden treasures from the world’s public photography archives.” To do so they are cataloguing public photo archives around the world, or at least the ones that are available online.

Participating institutions include museums, universities, churches, libraries and archives.

Each participating organization has a link to its Rights Statement. It is recommended that you review this statement prior to use to assure that you are permitted to use it as the specifics of the rights vary from archive to archive and may also vary depending on the intended use of the image (commercial or non-commercial). You can read an overview about the Rights Statements here.

Here are some very random examples of what images are available on The Commons:

If you’re writing fiction, particularly historical fiction, you might also find some of these images are helpful for your storyboards.

Have fun exploring and let me know in the comments if you find anything exciting!

Photo credit: Dionne Quintuplets from the collections of theDundas Museum.

5 Free Image Tools for Writers and Bloggers

5 Free Image Tools for Writers and Bloggers lists five great image editing tools for writers and bloggers to use for the images they include in their books and blog posts.

Here’s a list of five great image editing tools that you can access or download online. You don’t have to be a photographer to benefit from these programs so writers and bloggers listen up. There’s likely to be something here that you will find helpful when it comes to creating images for your books and blog posts.

  1. Image Composite Editor (ICE) by Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group
    This app creates panoramic images from:

    • overlapping still images taken from the same camera location
    • panning video
  2. Cliplet by Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group
    Use this app creates animated gifs.
  3. Microsoft Photo Gallery
    Use this app for:

    • minor photo editing
    • organizing your photos
    • facial recognition
    • geo tagging
  4. Picasa
    Use this app for:

    • minor photo editing
    • organizing your photos
    • facial recognition
    • geo tagging
  5. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)
    This program is considered by many to be the best available free image editor.

    • simple paint program
    • an expert quality photo retouching program
    • an online batch processing system
    • a mass production image renderer
    • an image format converter
    • and more

There are many other programs online. Do you have a favourite? Tell us in the comments.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Google Images: What You Need to Know

Google Images: What You Need to Know explains why you shouldn’t assume that all images that appear in a Google search are available to be used freely.

You’ve written a blog post and you’re searching for just the right picture to go with it. Say, your blog post is on dogs, specifically Great Danes?

So you fire up Google and type in “Great Danes” and then you click on the Images option above the search criteria field.

Google images - Great Danes search

And, wow! All of the sudden there are a million gazillion pictures of Great Danes there at your finger tips. Woohoo! You’ve just hit the Great Dane jackpot!!

Uhm, hold on a minute. It doesn’t quite work that way.

Step away from your keyboard. Do not start madly opening and saving those pictures to your computer.

Take a deep breath and please don’t freak out when I tell you this: You probably, in fact most likely, cannot use these pictures.

Google is a search engine. It indexes websites including the images on those websites, but for the same reason you can’t start randomly copying and using text from a website just because it’s on Google, you can’t start randomly copying and using images just because they’re on Google. Sooner or later pretty much everything can be found on Google, but this content belongs to someone else and unless permission is specifically granted on the site allowing you to use this information freely, it’s best to always assume that it’s copyrighted and it’s hands off.

Case in Point

Maybe you’ll understand if I explain it like this:

  1. Go back to Google.
  2. Type in “Shelley Sturgeon”.
  3. Click on the Images option.
  4. You will see many of the images from my website. Some are personal photos or photos taken by family or friends. Some are post images that I’ve used from photo stock sites.
  5. If you click on specific images such as this one below:

    Google images - Writers Stack Exchange

    It will be enlarged.

  6. Click on the “Visit page” button and it will take you to the website page on this blog where this image appears.
  7. Scrolll to the bottom of the post and you’ll see that I’ve added photo credits acknowledging where I got the photo. I had permission to use this image if I provided these photo credits.

So, if I had to follow certain rules in order to use an image, does it make sense that you can just copy that image because it’s a “Google image”?? Uhm, no!

You could also try this by entering your own name or the name of your blog into Google and selecting one of the images from your blog, preferably one that you wouldn’t want other people randomly copying from Google just because it’s there and using for themselves. Get it now? 🙂

There are a lot of free sites where you can download images. A post for another day. These sites usually require photo credits although this is not always the case. You need to read the terms and conditions.

Photo credit: Pixabay