A website I frequent a lot is one called We Heart It, an online image bookmarking site. After setting up an account with them, you can type anything into their search engine and any photo tagged with your search request comes up. If you like a photo, you “heart it” and it gets stored in your online gallery.
My main purpose of using We Heart It is for inspiration. Instead of setting up an actual inspiration board at my desk, I heart images to inspire me when I’ve hit the creative block. My most often used search word on the website is rainbow. By searching that word, I get photos of actual rainbows, but I also get a photo of a row of flip flops in various colors, a mash up of glitter and rainbow cupcakes. After seeing so many photos of rainbow cupcakes, I actually was inspired to bake my own.
Even though I use the website, as a graphic designer and photographer, I have a problem with it. You cannot post images directly to We Heart It, instead you can download a bookmarklet so that way whenever you are on the web, you can click on an image, tag it and it gets added to the We Heart It database. When you view an image, it does show you the original site where the photo was found, which in a small way is better than no credit at all.
I have an online portfolio where I post my design work and photography and I also have a Flickr account where I post photography. By having my work on the web, its a way for me to market myself, but I’m also opening myself up to anyone taking something I’ve done and using it. A Google search of my name brings up practically all of the photographs I’ve posted to Flickr. In the past, I’ve had artwork of mine stolen on the web by someone who tried to pass it off as their own until I tracked them down. Had that person who took my work, asked me if they could use stuff I created and would give me credit, I would’ve been fine with it, even if they took it without asking me and gave me a link back, that would’ve been okay as well.
Moral of this post, give credit where credit is due, regardless of where the image comes from. If you find something that you think would look great on your blog, on your Tumblr page or even as an icon, find out exactly where that image came from and provide a link back to that person.