From bloggers to designers to those who work full time with graphics, many web workers need to retrieve and use photos on the web. Flickr has become an increasingly popular source for images (I use images from it all the time), so it’s no surprise that a number of search engines specific to Flickr have cropped up. For a very useful and flexible one that can keep you free from any haggles over rights–if that’s what you’re looking for–consider CompFight. It appears in this Altsearchengines.com piece on Flickr search engines, and is indeed useful for targeted searches.
As AltSearchEngines points out, the problem with searching for huge sets of photos from Google or Yahoo is that the results aren’t sortable in flexible ways (Google just sorts by image size), and you get no information about rights and copyrights beyond the standard warning that copyrights may apply. That’s where CompFight shines.
CompFight adds much flexibility to the Flickr image search process. To the left of its search bar, you can choose to search only by tags for very targeted searches, or toggle for an All Text search. If you’re looking for images that you can reproduce without worrying about copyright issues, you can also use CompFight to restrict your searches to photos that fall under the Creative Commons license. And, you can toggle to a Commercial setting for commercially usable photos. Creative Commons has several licenses, including one that specifies intent for commercial publication of photos. You can review the terms of all the licenses here.
CompFight has a number of other useful settings. Many people, especially those who have worked in the publishing industry for a long time, know that photographers can get very territorial about their work. Just as it can be easy to deploy an open source application in defiance of the underlying license for the application, it can also be easy to tread on rights that pertain to photos. If you use Flickr a lot to find images you want to publish online, CompFight can help you use images as photographers intended them to be used.