In the lindy hop world, there are lots and lots of people creating flyers, websites, Facebook pages and other media using photographs of dancers. Unfortunately, the internet has made it a lot easier for folks to just straight up steal someone else's photo and put it on their website or flyer. It's super not cool and your chances of getting caught are pretty high, since the community is so interconnected. So just don't do that.
The easiest thing to do is to contact the photographer of the photo you want and see if they are interested in licensing the photo to you. Often, if you ask nicely, the person will agree, perhaps with just a credit on the page. Or worse come to worse, they ask you for a few bucks for their work.
Perhaps you don't have the budget to pay for photos for your website or flyers, but still want to have high quality photos. What do you do? Luckily, there are plenty of sources on the internet where you can find free-to-use photos of lindy hoppers and other dancers. Here are some of my favorite sources for free photographs and images you can use for various applications — personal, non-commercial and any other use.
These sources for images that are either public domain or Creative Commons licensed. The main difference between public domain and Creative Commons is that public domain works are free to use for whatever application you want – person, professional, for profit, whatever – while Creative Commons media have certain requirements attached to them about how you are allowed to use the creator's work. So look closely at the licensing language to make sure you are able to use their photo before including it on your stuff.
With that, here are my favorite sources for free photos!
Time / Life Classic Photos
You've probably seen all over these iconic, beautiful Life Magazine photographs of lindy hoppers. These are licensed for personal, non-commercial use.
You can easily search for Creative Commons licensed images on the photo-sharing site Flickr using Advanced Search. Here's a quick link to searching for lindy hop images that you can use for non-commercial purposes as long as you attribute the creator and distribute your work under the same license. For example, this awesome photo above is of Annie Trudeau and JB Mino taken by Eric Esquivel. Check out more of Eric's amazing photos here.
New York Public Library Archives
The New York Public Library has a huge treasure trove of images that you can use for various projects. Here's a link to a direct search for "jazz dancers." This picture of the floor plan of the Savoy Ballroom is pretty amazing also!
Library of Congress
William P. Gottlieb collection at the Library of Congress contains hundreds of jazz era photos that are now in the public domain and thus free to use for many possible projects. This search pulls up all the jazz musicians, including Louis Jordan, Woody Herman, Charles Barnet and many more. This search pulls up just women jazz musicians.
Photo credit: dance floor at a Woody Herman concert, Washington DC, 1942. Link.
Google Image Search
And, course, there is the Google. Using advanced image search on Google, you can find images that are labeled for reuse non-commercially or even commercially. Here is a search for lindy hop pictures that are licensed for non-commercial re-use. To search for other kinds of images, just do a standard Google image search, then click on the gear icon in the upper right corner to access the advanced search settings. Go down to "Usage rights" and select one that matches your situation.
So there you go. You now have no excuse for ganking someone's copyrighted work for your flyer or website. Go forth and search smartly, my friends!
A Word of Caution: For various reasons, you will find copyrighted content listed incorrectly as in the Public Domain or Creative Commons licensed. Use good judgement when reviewing media to see if the poster actual is the rights holder, if it's likely that the work is actually freely available, or if it is watermarked in some way to prevent re-use.
Photo Credit: CC-licensed image "Lindy Hop in Paris" by Eric Esquivel