Need a pretty picture fast? No fear! Google is here! And with the Google image search, you’ll have a snappy photo for your presentation within a second! Perfect right?

Well… no.

Just because you can easily find a pretty picture doesn’t automatically mean it’s there for the taking. Every piece of visual media is protected by copyright as soon as they’re made. They’re the property of the creator unless stated otherwise in a written agreement.

But it has happened and is sadly still happening that people just take any picture they find on the internet and use it for their own profit. Stealing the work of creatives will automatically give you a bad name and a place on the blacklist of the entire creative community.

You can get a lot of backlash from this community when found out you used an image without the creator’s permission. May it be for-profit or non-profit, commercial or non-commercial. And it’s not unlikely that you’ll get a fine for stealing.

Do you want to play safe when googling for images? Good thing Google has a little thing for that. When searching for an image, just click on “Tools” below the search bar. It’ll reveal a new bar, where you can specify your search. Size, color, are you looking for a photo or a drawing? And also usage rights. Use this bit to see which pictures have given permission to be used for non-commercial or commercial use. Some also give permission for modification.

Do you already have the perfect picture you want to use, but you don’t know who made it? Or that it’s okay to use it for your work? Do a reverse image search!

Yes, Google has now also the option to find the original source of an image by just simply uploading the image into google. When searching for images, click on the little camera in the Google search bar.

You’ll then get the search bar as shown above. You can copy-paste the link of your image or upload it from your computer. Google will then search the entire internet for identical pictures. The result, you’ll get the link to the original creator.

Are you really serious about your work? Then also be serious with the creative part. When you have an image you really want to use, search for the original creator and ask them for permission personally. Place a visible and clear credit near the image and don’t hesitate to offer payment. Don’t steal. Creatives work real hard on their creations. If you really want to use it, pay for it. Invest in it. Make an arrangement about how to use it and payments for the creator. The creative community will love you for it.

Screencaps © Google

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