An alternative title for this post might be, “How to find royalty free or Creative Commons photos after any natural disaster strikes.”
But why would you need such pictures?
It’s a great way to draw attention for your church members to pray for those that have been struck with disaster. In this case, those effected by the OK tornado. You can place these images on your church website, but you can also use them in your e-newsletter if you’re sending out any prayer alerts.
Whether you’re a church nearby trying to gather volunteers to go help or a congregation on the other side of the United States calling for prayer, having legal images of the actual event can add a lot to your message.
Here’s what you can do:
Compfight is my favorite place to get legal images, but you’ll need to do a few things to make sure you’re getting what you need and you’re using the images right. Compfight searches the entire Flickr database, and with the Flickr mobile app being so easy to use and Flickr having such a robust photographer community, it’s the perfect place to look for images.
Now, there are several ways you can search, and from my personal experience, you’ll want to try several different combinations and phrases to find what you’re looking for. Let’s try “Oklahoma tornado” first:
Before you get too excited, there are some options you’ll want to adjust, as you’ll only want to search for photos that are Creative Commons. Take a close look at the options in the sidebar and make these adjustments:
Here are your search results with only Creative Commons, but make sure you ignore the top section of photos. These will cost you.
You think you see an interesting photo, so click on it!
This gives you several options, including some HTML that’s easy to copy and paste when you cite the photo on your website or newsletter. Before you do, however, click on the License Agreement:
As you can see, it tells you how you can use it. Using this photo as an example, you’re not allowed to remix it–like add text over it or make color changes. You can use it, just be sure you follow these guidelines. Again, these rules will vary from photo to photo, so you may want to check several and weigh your options as you decide what you want to do with it.
Let’s say this works for you, as you only need the photo.
Before you download it, make sure you this is the right Oklahoma tornado!
To do so, go back to your Compfight browser tab and click on the photo:
Wah, wah, wahhhhh!!!! This photo is from 2011.
After trying several more, I find that most of the photos are not pictures from the most recent tornado. If I only needed a photo of a tornado in Oklahoma, it would be fine, but we’re looking for something fresher.
So, I changed my search term to “OK tornado” and I’m able to snag a few that are less than 24hrs old:
After further review, the license for these allow remixes, so although they’re not the best photos, you can crop and edit as you desire–as long as you attribute! (more here)
As of now, there are not many photos to choose from, but I’m sure the selection will grow. Besides, you’re obtaining a free and legal photo of a recent natural disaster.
Not too shabby.
If you know of any other good sources other than Compfight/Flickr for royalty free and Creative Commons photos for breaking news events like this, please leave us a link in the comments!
[Editor’s Note: Please take a moment and pray for all those effected by the Oklahoma tornado and the emergency workers who are on the scene. Thank you!]