How to use Flickr photos in a blog post

I just got question in an email from a real estate agent, and I figured my answer could probably help ore than a few people.

“I have been on Flickr and found some great photos from my area.  How do I know if these pictures are the ‘creative customs’ license?  Can I just use them?

From what I’ve seen work in practice, there are two good options to know if you can use a Flickr photo in your blog post:

  1. Someone has uploaded and licensed their photo on Flickr under a creative commons license.
  2. Someone on Flickr has allowed other members to “blog” their photo, which works regardless of the license they set for the photo.

Here’s how to work each option:

Option #1:
On the bottom right panel on the page of any photo, there is a section that describes the “permissions” for the photo. If something is creative commons, then the text will say “some rights reserved” and links to a creative commons license.  These are photos you can use as long as you give attribution back to the photographer by providing a link to the Flickr page with the photo.

If it is *not* creative commons then it will say “All Right Reserved”, and you should avoid using these photos on your blog.

Here’s an example of a photo that uses a creative commons license, and here is an example of a photo where all the rights are reserved.

Also, Flickr makes it easy to search ONLY creative common licensed photos by using their advanced search and checking the boxes at the bottom of the page.

Option #2:
If you are logged in to the service (and only if you’re logged in), then Flickr makes it easy to tell if someone won’t mind if you blog their photos.  All you have to look for is the text above the photo that says “blog this”.  If someone include the “blog this” button above the photo, then it means they’ve agreed to let any Flickr member use their photo in a blog post, regardless of the license they put on the photo.   Here’s an example of that type of button:

And here is what a photo will look like if you use Flickr’s “blog this” tools:

Grin., originally uploaded by :. G l o r i a .:.
Hope that helps!

7 responses

  1. There is also a really cool plugin for WordPress called Photo
    Dropper that will search out Creative Common photos on Flickr.

    It might be a little limited but I have found some really cool photos in the past and it’s really easy to use!

  2. Thanks Lisa! That looks like a great plugin!

  3. Hi Dustin, from my point of view option #2 does not work. I am logged in, I visit your example from above with ‘All rights reserved’ and I can still see the ‘Blog this’ button.

    1. Not sure I catch your issue. As I say in the post, some people make their photos available to be blogged regardless of the license.

      1. I see this as a contradiction. If all rights are reserved then this includes republishing the image on a blog, regardless if there is a button that says “Blog This” or not. Flickr should better replace the label to “Do something illeagal” or “Risk a letter from my lawyer”. Or, more seriously, make it obvious to the photographer where and how to change the attributed rights.

        1. I definitely see your point… The other way to look at it is that just because someone let’s you post their image on your blog, doesn’t mean they are giving up any ownership rights. In addition, they have the ability to turn off the “blog this” functionality on their photos, so it’s really their choice whether they want the additional exposure that getting published around the web can bring…

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