I've written in this column in the past about online photo libraries and collections that are free to use. They're great if you need an image to illustrate a card or flyer you're designing, perhaps, or a web site you're working on.
You could, of course, just use Google's image search feature to find the picture you want. But there's a real risk that you end up using someone's photo or artwork without their consent. Not the end of the world if you only use it as the basis of a birthday card for your mother, maybe. But if it ends up on your company's web site to illustrate a new product, it can be embarrassing and expensive. And morally questionable.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a way of filtering Google image search results to only show you those pictures which are royalty-free and which you can use for your own purposes? Well, you know what? There is! But if you didn't know about it, then you're not alone.
To use the feature, just head to Google's image search and look for what you're after. Then click on the Tools link at the top of the screen, and then click on Usage Rights. Alternatively, if there's an Advanced Search link, try that instead. Either way, you'll be able to filter the returned images by whether it's OK to use (or even modify) them for your own purposes.
So now you have access to the world's largest collection of free images, which you can use for whatever purpose you like.
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