If you use other people’s photos on your blog, you need to check this out

Bloggers know what I’m talkin’ about: It’s that sticky legal and moral quagmire you encounter when you need an image for a post or page.

You could use Google Images and just grab something from anywhere on the web, sans permission. But if you do that enough, it will eventually bite you in the butt. You could try using Creative Commons-licensed content on Flickr, but the image quality might not be the best. You could also shell out the bucks for stock photography, but unless your blog is your business, it’s unlikely you’ll make that choice.

Here’s a new option: It’s from creative talent network The Creative Finder, and it lets you find great images and use them with the creators’ permission, free of charge. The result looks like this:

The creators win because the images get used as embeds rather than copied files that then get uploaded to someone else’s server without attribution or links. The bloggers and site owners win because they get high-quality, interesting images free of charge.

The system isn’t without its downsides. The pool of available content is still rather small at around 100,000 pieces of art, photography, and graphic design, so you might not be able to find the same range of tagged, commercial content you would on a stock photography site. Still, The Creative Finder is an interesting (and legal and free) alternative to a nagging problem of every blog owner’s online life.

The Creative Finder, launched last month to help creatives find work; the embed feature is new as of today. Creatives who upload their work can enable or disable sharing permissions for their images at any time. Images can also be protected with watermarks, and every image will appear with the creator’s name and a link back to his or her portfolio.

On the website owners’ side, you can customize the image’s size (up to 550 pixels wide), then copy the embed code and use as you please. There’s also a one-click option for posting to Tumblr blogs. The Creative Finder discourages commercial use of images.

Top image courtesy of Korionov, Shutterstock

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