Sunday, April 29, 2012

Photo Pin

Do you worry about violating copyright rules? I do. I think one of my worst fears (blogging-wise) is that I would unintentionally violate a copyright rule and have to pay thousands of dollars in fines and/or shut down my blog. I've discussed this issue with other bloggers, and it seems that many feel the same way. I don't so much worry about my words being a violation; I worry more about my pictures. I try to just take screen shots of web services I'm writing about (and I wonder if even that is okay), but every once in a while, I need to use a picture that I didn't create. I always make sure to link up to that picture to let readers know the original source, but I still worry.

If you're like me, then you're really going to like this post. Good news: a website called Photo Pin is available for bloggers everywhere. It makes thousands of photos available for FREE to the public to use on blogs and other websites. In fact, I used a picture from there in my last post about Museum Boxes! :) I feel less-stressed if I know that my pictures aren't a violation of copyright, so I'm going to get them from Photo Pin when possible.

The homepage is pretty simple:

All you do is just start to search. Obviously, I searched the word "diorama" because of my last post about a type of digital diorama called Museum Box (read about it here).

After you click "search," you're met with a ton of results. I admit that I did have to search for a bit before I found an image that I could deal with, but if that's the price I have to pay to be worry-free about my blogging pictures, so be it!

Photo Pin has two photo options for you to choose from: creative commons photos via Flickr (link required, but free to use) or fancier stock photos (no link required, but must pay to use). As a teacher-blogger, I'm obviously going for the free version, but you can choose what you wish. :)

After you choose a photo, you can preview it or "get it." A preview makes the photo larger so that you can see which picture you're actually choosing, while the "get it" button gives you download options. You're presented with a direct link to the photo, several sizes of possible downloads, and the HTML code needed to properly give credit.

I like that the citation is provided for you if you just copy and paste the HTML code. I was thinking that this would be great not only for me, who is so worried about copyright violation, but also for my student-bloggers.

Kids are attracted to visuals, no doubt. So it's understandable that they would want to put a picture (or several) in their blog posts. But kids sometimes have a hard time understanding copyright and plagiarizing rules -- even high school and college "kids." While I will continue to teach my students those important terms and rules, I'm wondering if maybe this Photo Pin site might be best for my students' online projects.

The only bad thing about this website is that it wasn't created for students and teachers; it was created for bloggers. Sometimes there is some raunchy blog-content out there that would never be appropriate for the classroom! It worries me to think that students might find inappropriate photos while using Photo Pin, and I'm too scared to search a term that's really gross because I don't want to see yucky pics, either! LOL.

What's your take on this? Do you think Photo Pin is a useful tool for helping student-bloggers use the right pictures on their sites...or do you think it's best just to teach students how to cite their sources or maybe even upload their own artwork as pictures, instead?


  1. PhotoPin is just a cheap knock-off of which has been around for years.

    1. I hadn't heard of, but thanks for the heads-up; I will check it out.


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