FYI - Use Royalty Free Images or Pay For Them


Hey everyone… just a friendly reminder here to either use free royalty images and mention the rights to those images, OR pay for your images. And do not use images that advertisers send you. There’s only one way to know if you should use them and that’s to find them or pay for them yourself.

I just got tagged for $450 (originally, the lawyer wanted $2,200) for using a crappy image off the web (I think - I honestly don’t remember where I got it from since it was 3+ years ago).

It’s ridiculous, I know, but it’s real. Don’t let it happen to you!



Ugh. Sorry that happened to you.

I pay for images for just this reason. I use Deposit Photos.


Yeah - for the first 2 weeks I ignored the emails - thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. Had to get my lawyer involved and let her handle it. In reality, it actually cost me almost $600 with the lawyer fees and the Fed Ex’d check… So…hopefully that’s the last time I have to do that!


If I send you emails asking for money will you ignore me or just pay up now? :wink:


If I find an image off of Google and click on the “labeled for reuse” category is that good enough? Or do I need to go to Pixelbay and that’s ok?


Sorry to hear about that. That really sucks.

Has anyone used any of the free images off Deposit Photos or similar sites, or is everyone paying now?


Looks like it’s fine in most cases, but Google still gives this disclaimer when I looked up, “labeled for reuse” –

“Note: Before reusing content, make sure that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse. For example, the license might require that you give credit to the image creator when you use the image. Google can’t tell if the license label is legitimate, so we don’t know if the content is lawfully licensed.”


Yikes! Sorry to hear. Thanks for sharing!

p.s. Have moved to Canva for most of my stuff. One of my favorite sites to use now when it comes to making images and titles for blogging. :grinning:


i typically use either paid photos from DepositPhotos or pics from Unsplash or Pixabay. But what qualifies for “fair use”. For example, if I write an article that mentions a TV show and include a screenshot or logo, is that fair use?


Sorry to hear that happened, and thanks for sharing as a warning to us.


Yeah, good question…I used a photo from a theatre show…surely they want me to use them?


Eek, well this is terrifying. I’ve been using free images off Pixabay and Unsplash which allow for any license.

But there’s always the risk that someone uploaded a licensed photo to those services. Would want to a paid service before too much longer, as that risk will only grow the more photos I use.


Yeah, it is a little terrifying, but it’s probably super rare - I was just one of the “lucky” ones… :wink:


Thanks for this reminder. It’s definitely something I should know, but often don’t think about. Thanks for taking one for the team!


I’m totally clueless as to whether something is Royalty Free or not. I’ve predominantly used my own images for this reason, but there are several images I’d like to use that would save me a lot of time.

I usually will do a google search for something I’m looking for and once I find an image I’m looking I generally can’t tell if it is Royalty free or not. I know if it has a watermark on it, it obviously isn’t, but if it doesn’t does that mean it is free to use?

Is there a quick and easy way to tell who the image is owned by and how to contact them. I’ve come across several images that are used on multiple different storefronts (such as Amazon and eBay) that I’d like to use but don’t want to violate any laws.

If anyone has feedback, it’d be much appreciated.


This is exactly the reason I buy my images. It’s easier to pay $200 for several years of images than risk a $450 bill (plus legal fees).


There’s really no great way, and pulling images off from Google can really leave you exposed down the road (like it did me). It’s best to use a royalty free site and reference the images you use or simply pay for images off from a reputable site.

The random Google searches…that’s probably not going to end well for you.


FYI:, and are my three favorite sites for CC0 images.


I use iStockPhoto and pay $40 a month for 10 images. I’m probably going to up my subscription to 25 images for $65 a month. Very reasonable and some pretty solid images.


That’s not cheap, but if it works for you, I say go with it. I do agree iStockPhoto has a TON of good stuff.