A Picture Really Is Worth a Thousand Words: A Dive Into Flickr
Alas, learning how to accurately search for creative common images on a site like Flickr isn’t as intuitive as one might think.
One of the most common problems with Flicker is that it’s easy to overlook basic copyright restrictions and search features especially if you’re not familiar with the varying levels of permission that exist. Since Flickr is one of the most popular creative common websites online, and because it has a very robust search engine, it’s one of the best places to start learning about image search. Another benefit of Flickr is that it allows you to neatly organize your online image searches based on copyright privileges.
When you start an image search on Flickr, the first thing to note is the search dialogue box. It seems obvious, but its search options are regularly overlooked. When you click the drop down menu to the left of the search field, you’ll notice you have three distinctive search choices: Everyone’s Uploads (which is great for a general search but is not specific to copyrights), The Getty Images Collection (which searches rights managed images) and The Commons (my personal favorite).
“The Commons” on Flickr allows you to search for images that have either been placed into the public domain because their copyright has expired or due to modified rights allocated for public use. Die hard image detectives can delve deeper into search criteria with “Advanced Search” (located to the right of the “search” button), and be presented with an expanded set of criteria that will help refine your search even further.
Most bloggers won’t need to go that far, but you might be pleasantly surprised at the number and quality of the images available using the Creative Common search options.
I’ve included a screenshot below that shows how to set up a basic, copyright free image search. You may have to experiment a bit with keywords, but the interface is pretty intuitive.
When you find an image you’re interested in, be sure to double check the license and descriptive text for any information that affects it’s use (highlighted below). Together, these two areas will help you quickly identify images that meet your copyright requirements. . When you’re searching through “everyone’s images” you can also save things you find so you can expand your search criteria, or integrate them into your blog without having to do another formal search.
While it’s easy to simply search Google images (or some similar alternative), these search engines don’t address copyright concerns. So take a moment to explore what Flickr has to offer the next time you have a visual need for a project, you might be surprised at what you’ll find!
I hope these tips will help make your next blogging a little less of a headache. Take a quick dip into the Flickr image pool, you’ll be swimming in copyright free images in no time.