How to Find Royalty Free Images & Save 10K!

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Problem: How do you REALLY trust and find royalty free images for online use?

I had a client in a consulting business who made an innocent mistake, and it cost her an obscene amount of money, time and stress to resolve it. It’s a simple thing that is extremely common, and chances are you are doing it too! How do you find Royalty Free Images for REAL!

I bet you’re wondering what could actually have such a serious consequence – she wasn’t copying content from another site, she had a great business, and was an all-around good person. What got her in trouble?

“I had it happen with Corbis and Cartoonbank. I paid the money. I took down ALL the pictures I had on my website/blog that I did not have DIRECT licensing. Now I cite the source on all my pictures – and take more pictures myself.” – Successful Website Owner

Pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but is it worth $10,000?

Deep down in the bowels of her website lay a photo she didn’t have permission to use, likely put there as a placeholder when she was first putting the site together. It stayed there quietly, biding its time… that is until Getty got involved.

The minions at Getty Images ( seem to just wait around to find things like this so they can slap you with a heavy copyright fine. My client was sent a rather surprising email (and a horrifying fee!) from their team, demanding their due for the image she had used. Not only did she have to pay, but she also had to spend countless hours dredging up every single image in her site, to make sure anything she didn’t have the rights to was removed. It ended up being a very expensive and time-consuming process, over one tiny image. Beware of gossip about it being free to use all images on Getty as long as you give attribution. See the statement from the Getty site below.

Solution/Tool: Be SMART how you get Royalty Free Images! This doesn’t have to happen to you – learn from her mistakes, and give yourself an airtight site! The best part is that it’s much easier and simpler than you think! The first step to making sure your site and social media feeds are solid is to remove the images that you aren’t completely sure you own the rights to. Not sure about what’s ok to use? Here are some helpful guidelines to get you back on track.

When you redesign your website, make sure your designer provides proof of purchase of all images used in your pages and blog posts. Even better, create all your images yourself using image creation tools.

Here are my favorites:
Royalty Free and Images for Royalty Free usage.,,, and  

Once you’re sure your site is free of anything that might tempt the Getty team to pay you a visit, it’s time to find some high-quality images to replace them. is a trusted, reliable source for excellent royalty-free images, and even goes as far as to offer options for helping you edit them. It’s all going to be ok. Your site or feed might even come out looking even better than before!

Next Steps: Let’s Talk Images or Your Website. We offer a free Findability Audit to see how you can up your game online.  Call Heather for a free consultation 888-588-9326.


  1. Great reminder! I ran into an issue with a couple of pics my webmaster used when my site was built back in the day before image licensing was much talked about. He never responded to me. Now I search diligently for legit images for my PowerPoint presentations, web pages, published articles and tweets.

    1. Oh that is amazing news. Sorry for the late reply. Sometimes these get pushed into my spam filter. I use, and good luck.

    1. Well, Canva has great images for free. Also I purchaed an account on shutterstock and have been very happy with them a well.

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