If you are looking for high quality images to decorate your website, there is no shortage of resources. Stock photography sites exist for all needs and price range (including free).
But licensing images isn’t always a simple matter. Commercial offers can be restrictive and difficult to understand. Even free stock photo sites have their risks. Not to mention the possibility of a company takeover, like when Getty Images acquired Unsplash.
This can lead to some stress on the part of web designers and site owners. We want to make sure that the images we add today won’t cause copyright issues. No one wants to receive one of those threatening letters that demand a ransom of the king in exchange for the unauthorized use of an image.
An alternative solution is just getting started. The WordPress Image Directory is intended to provide an image source for the open web. It is a place where users download images that can be used for any purpose. There is also an opportunity to present your work as well.
Today, we’ll take an early look at the guide and discuss the potential for game-changing.
An open source approach to photography
Announced during the 2021 State of the Word, the WordPress Image Directory is an attempt by the platform to double down on its recent immersion in open source media.
Earlier in the year, WordPress launched a successor to Creative Commons Search. The search engine is named Openverse, and it crawls many sites that offer images of various types of Creative Commons licence.
The difference here is that everything in the WordPress image directory uses the most liberal of these licenses – CC0. This means that the images can be used for any purpose, modified, and redistributed freely.
The guide also relies on community submissions. If you have an attractive, high-quality image that matches the guidelines, you can contribute to the project.
To be clear, you don’t need to be a professional photographer or have access to expensive equipment. Everyone (including your business really) is welcome to submit their work.
Possibility to make an impact
The WordPress image directory can be useful in many ways. First, it provides content creators with a worry-free option to add photography to their website. And one can envision a future integration within WordPress itself, which makes the process of searching and adding images very easy.
Similarly, theme authors can bundle images without having to deal with potential copyright issues. This has always been a sticking point, as demos for templates often display images that were not included with the final product. This resulted in a disconnection with the users. Since the CC0 license allows for redistribution, this long-running gap may finally be closed.
The directory may also be seen as another feature to attract new users to WordPress. Many CMSs offer integrated image libraries – something that WordPress lacks. Although it’s probably not the most important deciding factor, every bit of it helps.
Finally, there’s also something to be said for users who contribute photos. It’s a simple way to make a presentation that doesn’t require technical expertise. The more an individual contributes, the more likely he is to invest in the project in the long run.
How great would a resource be? It depends on what we make.
Will the WordPress image directory become a serious threat to stock photography services? This seems unlikely at the moment. But that’s not necessarily the point of the service either.
The early listings are attractive. Some may even consider a “professional” level. However, it is unrealistic to expect professionals to forgo the opportunity to earn a living elsewhere and contribute their best work to an open source project.
We’re also not likely to see the same kind of depth as in other stock image repositories. Some categories and concepts may not be available. Again, this is good.
For many bloggers and website owners, what is available in a WordPress image directory serves their needs. And if the community engagement is high, there will be plenty of high-quality images to choose from.
This is perhaps the most exciting aspect of this project. We have an opportunity to make it a useful resource. Just as WordPress has shown itself, great things happen when people come together. This guide can be another shining example.