Every blogger when starting out has to decide their strategy for images in their posts. That you need photos in the first place is hardly even in question. A good layout with images has the ability to draw the eye of the reader and clarify your point as well as the mood of the article. Luckily for us as bloggers, we have a wide variety of sources available. But there is a hidden factor that we need to consider if we want to become serious about blogging – image attribution.
It’s one of those things that many people don’t pay attention to unless they are forced to. Unless you’re a professional blogger regularly earning sufficient funds from your WordPress site, you’re most likely not going to be able to pay for stock images. A while ago, I had written about how to use Getty Images for obtaining free photographs with proper attribution, but their way of including I-frame elements didn’t appeal to me. All I wanted was a simple <img> element with the attribution below it. I don’t want additional scripts to slow down my site.
Even when you obtain the images directly from free photo sharing sites, providing the correct attribution is often difficult. While they may list out the rights of the photographer, it’s up to you to condense that into an attribution link – something that sites don’t really give you any help with. But I found that using a simple tool, we can leverage the vast library of creative Commons images on Flickr for use in our posts. I find this most useful with WordPress due to its flexibility and the familiarity with the interface. But of course, both platforms have their advantages. Here’s how to go about it.
Getting CC Photos from Flickr
Despite the existence of many other photo sharing sites, Flickr continues to be the destination of choice for many photographers especially when it comes to uploading high resolution images. While many of the images are not free for public sharing, lots of them are licensed under the creative Commons terms of service. Even Flickr however has the same problem of attribution. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
The first step is to open up Flickr and search for the image that you’re looking for.
The one drawback of Flickr is that it’s dead slow – the pages might take ages to load, but the quality of the images more than makes up for it in my opinion. What you need to do now is to refine the list of results to only include those photos with a Creative Commons license. We do this by clicking the “License” drop-down box above the photo list and selecting “Creative Commons Only”.
This will refine the list of photographs and present you with a subset of your initial search. Any of these can be used safely on your blog. So scroll down till you find the one you’re looking for and click on it. Once it’s loaded, you can verify the rights available to you by locating the section on the bottom right-hand corner as shown here.
Above that, you can also see the arrow which will allow you to download the image in a number of sizes. Select the one you want and place it on your desktop.
Getting the Attribution
You must have noticed that there’s no prebuilt attribution link for Flickr images even though the rights are stated clearly. Luckily for us, there is a site which provides us with a bookmarklet that generates it. Navigate to this website and towards the bottom, you see a button labeled “flickr cc attribution helper”.
Now it’s time to generate the attribution link. Once again, go to the Flickr page containing the photograph that you just downloaded. While on that page, click the newly created bookmark or start typing “flickr” into the URL bar and watch for the list of suggestions – one of which will contain the bookmarked URL in all modern browsers. When you execute it, you should get a pop-up like this:
You can see that there are two types of attributions – HTML, and plaintext. Both of these are acceptable for the image in question. Let’s say for example that you wish to place a text attribution below the image on your website. Copy and paste it into the location you want. It’ll look something like this:
And there you have it! A professional looking attribution for any Flickr image with the creative Commons license. No more trying to craft your own lines and deciding whether or not it’s safe to include. This simple bookmarklet tool has helped me include dozens of images on my own blog without any fear that I’m violating someone’s copyrights.