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Properly Attributing Photos on HubPages

Updated on August 4, 2015
An image found from a Google advanced search.
An image found from a Google advanced search. | Source

I recently completed the HubPages Apprenticeship Program this last December, and it was an eye opening experience. There was nothing earth shattering or anything like that except for the fact that I had to come to terms that I had been an internet thief for years without even realizing it!!

I had been using photos that were not mine for many years - without properly attributing them - and during the HP program I came to realize that this was a real big no no!!

A photography hobbyist, I had also published many of my own photos on my hubs, but I had also erroneously been using photos that I had no right to use. Especially since here at HubPages we make MONEY on our hubs, and using someone elses photo on your own site is strictly forbidden here at HubPages.

One of my more "artsy" photos that I took for my stockpile of images that I use in my hubs
One of my more "artsy" photos that I took for my stockpile of images that I use in my hubs | Source

Using commercial photos and images from Google

The eye opener for me was on one of the months when we went through the use of the photo capsule tutorial. Not only were there very detailed instructions on what photos could be used and when, but one of the requirements to be in the HP program was that each and every one of my hubs had to adhere to the HubPages publishing policy (so a word to the wise here, if you are improperly using photos and get into the Apprenticeship program, expect to have to come into compliance)

Now that was interesting for me, having to go back through all my 200+ hubs to properly attribute each and every photo (which I had NOT been doing)

It's not rocket science to understand - I mean after all there are rules and grabbing random photos off of Google search is not OK, not unless it has been authorized to be utilized with commercial permission. How to know if you are using a Google image that is alright to use?

Here's how:

  1. On your Google images search page, type in what you are searching for (let's use the word "door" for example)
  2. After you enter search and images of lots of doors pop up, go to the top right and there will be a little spoke wheel icon that you need to click on.
  3. Select advanced and when the new screen pops up go down to "usage rights" and select "free to use, share or modify, even commercially"
  4. Now search "door" again and you will get a screen with door photos that you are allowed to use. You are not done yet though!
  5. Click on that door photo that you want to use and go to the page where it was originally posted. Get the attribution information so you know how to credit your photo.
  6. Download your photo and upload it to your hub.
  7. You are now legally using a photo of a door! (and make sure that you properly attribute the image within the photo capsule)

Wikimedia Commons is a good place to get photos and images for use in your hubs
Wikimedia Commons is a good place to get photos and images for use in your hubs | Source

Websites with free images and photos to use

Besides using photos for commercial use from Google, you can also use photos from Wikimedia Commons and Creative Commons from Flickr There are also some stock photo sites that will let you use their photos, but those photos are usually pretty limited. You can also buy photos from some sites and/or get a subscription service.

Currently, 95% of the photos that I use in my hubs are photos that I have taken myself. In the last few months, I have started taking photos of alot ot things so that I now have my own little stockpile of images. Some of the more generic ones I can also use on more than one hub.

If you have a digital camera, it's a good idea to do this and start making your own little photo stockpile too.

Poll on your photo sharing knowledge

Have you improperly used others photos on the web?

See results


Submit a Comment

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @OMGirdle) YW OM. For my own photos, I just put my name. I haven't had any problems doing it that way.

  • OMGirdle profile image


    5 years ago from United States

    I always give attribution to the photos I use. But the advanced search option you have shared was new to me. I thank you for helping others with this dilemma. I found your hub because I was looking to correctly attribute my own photos. I still haven't found the answer. Thank you for sharing a very needed criteria for searching for photos.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @shai77) Thank you shai and I agree.

    @DIYmommy) Thanks DIY for that "required reading" thought - and yes I agree that hubs with original photos are so much more charming and less "commercial" (it's also fun thinking of how you can use the photos you have taken)

  • DIYmommy profile image


    5 years ago

    Though fairly new to HubPages, I'm not a stranger to writing online content for other websites and venues. This hub should really be required reading for all HubPages' writers--new and veteran. While I do use a fair share of Google images, like you I've also been putting our new camera to use and taking alot of my own pictures. I find that some of the best most enjoyable hubs have included pictures that the writer has actually taken themselves. Thanks for the great hub!

  • shai77 profile image


    5 years ago

    Great hub and such and important topic. It's unbelievable how people either disregard laws regarding intellectual property altogether, or are simply totally unaware that it applies on the internet. People work very hard and deserve payment and recognition. I always try to be very careful about images because I am sensitive to this. nice work here.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @VirginiaLynne) Thanks and your welcome Virginia. I think learning about photos was one of the most helpful things in the AP program too. Glad the Google searh helped :-)

    @Patty Inglish, MS) Thank you Patty.

    @Genna East) Thanks Genna for coming by and YW!

    @Gail Meyers) Thank you Gail for reading and YW.

    @Ninasvoice) YW Nina!

    @Silwen) Glad it helped Silwen.

  • Silwen profile image


    5 years ago from Europe

    Very useful hub about proper use of photos. I always was trying use photos from Wikimedia Commons, but your tip about Google search is great. I will definitely review all my hubs and make proper attributions on photos. Thank you.

  • Ninasvoice profile image


    5 years ago from England

    This is a really useful hub. It has helped me loads and given me loads of info I didn't know. Voted up, awesome, intesting and useful. Thanks! :-)

  • Gail Meyers profile image

    Gail Meyers 

    5 years ago from Kansas City - United States

    I enjoyed reading your hub. I knew not to use copyrighted photographs, but I did not know about that handy search feature on Google. That makes it so much easier to find the right photo. Thanks! Voted up and useful.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    Excellent hub! I use either my own photos or those from Microsoft's free clip art selections. On vidoes, I always give credit to the author-source. But I will read this tutorial to make sure I am following the rules of the road. They are important! Thank you. Voted up and beyond.

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish MS 

    5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

    Wonderful write-up! This was one of my stumbling blocks when I began writing online, because I had learned some incorrect methods on the job a few years back before HP. Am I lucky I was not sued or something! You make the process of attribution pretty clear.

  • VirginiaLynne profile image

    Virginia Kearney 

    5 years ago from United States

    Thanks for writing this up Dorsi! I think learning about photos was one of the most useful things. I also liked learning that I could share my photos to get more views. I actually find it rather time consuming to find photos, so I tend to take my own. However, that does mean that sometimes I don't really have the type of photo I want. I had not remembered about the tool icon on Google search. Thanks!


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