We are frequently asked, “How do I get images for my portfolio? Am I allowed to use images I find through Google?” These are important, ethical questions! Here are our thoughts on the matter:
Try to find photos within the public domain. There are a lot of photos out there which you can use completely without restriction. When searching for reusable photos on Google, you can go to “Search Tools” and then “Usage Rights” to narrow your results.
Cite your photos. Some photo licenses require citation and this is probably the safest way to avoid copyright issues if you are unsure about a particular photo’s permissions. For example, when using a company logo you can caption the image with the company name and provide a link to their website or the source of the photo.
Link to outside pages/photos. Instead of reusing and including the photo/work in your portfolio, if you are mentioning it on a page you can add a link to the material outside your webpage.
Ask. If you completed an internship or volunteered with an organization and want to use some of their material, we recommend contacting that organization for permission.
Trust your instincts. If you feel unsure about using a photo, maybe out of privacy concerns for the people in the photo, or the subject matter, or a vague source, just leave the photo out.
If you would like more information about copyright and fair use or want to find usable media, visit the St. Olaf Libraries How-To Guides.