How to Find Images for Your Posts

If you produce content of any type for your business, you want to make it as visually appealing as possible.  And particularly if you blog, coming up with images you’re legally allowed to use can sometimes be confusing.  Where do you get images?  What are you allowed to use?

I just got this question on Facebook, and I figured that more of you might have this same question, so here’s what I do.

Most of my images come from Creative Commons images on Flickr.  Creative Commons provides free licenses that tell you which content you’re allowed to use, and how you’re allowed to use it.  You’re allowed to use some Creative Commons images free of charge, as long as you provide attribution (you tell people who the source of the image is, and you link to them.)

Flickr is a photo sharing site.  Some people post their images to flickr under an attribution-based Creative Commons license.  Here’s what Flickr has to say about this:

Attribution means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work – and derivative works based upon it – but only if they give you credit.

To search the Attribution Creative Commons images on Flickr, you can go here: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/by-2.0/

If you look at the bottom of many of my posts, you’ll see how I provide the attribution.  Typically it says: image credit: Name.  The “Name” part is linked to where I got the original image.

Once I have uploaded that image to my blog, it stays in the media files.  And sometimes I want to use that image again.  So what I do when saving that image for the first time is include the image owner’s name as part of the file name, and take the URL where I got the original image, and add it to the “Description” field for the image.  That way, if I use it again, I don’t have to go searching for that image again to provide credit.  So for example, I might save an image as “bridge by LindaH” and in the description field in WordPress I’ll include a link to LindaH’s page on Flickr. (Mouse over the image in the this post and you’ll see the name I gave to that image.)

So what do I do if I can’t find an image I like on Flickr?  Well, I have 2 options:

  1. In the past I purchased a collection of business images that allow me to use them without further attribution.  Sometimes you’ll see these in my posts.
  2. I take the images I need myself.  The camera on my phone makes it super-easy to take an image and email it to myself.

So those are the ways I get the images for my blog posts.  How do you get your images?  Any other tips or sources?  Please share them in the comments!

image credit: Jack Brodus

17 Responses to How to Find Images for Your Posts
  1. Aymee Buckhannon
    January 11, 2011 | 12:25 pm

    Jennifer

    I always have used istockphoto, partuclarly because I do designs and need the licensed work. I have also found several artists that offer royalty free icons and such that they’ve designed. These work great as well for social media type posts. Just google something like glossy social icons and instead of searching by “images”, search by “website” and visit one of these sites. However, I am going to check this Flickr suggestion out for my blog. Sounds like a great alternative and maybe even more economical. And I don’t mind one bit giving credit back to a designer ;).

  2. NooraK
    January 6, 2011 | 9:11 am

    My Brother-in-law just shared this blog post today:

    http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/01/image-sites-small-business.html

  3. Jen Wilner
    January 5, 2011 | 11:54 am

    Thanks for a great post Jen. This couldnt have come at a better time. As I’m rebranding myself and working on my new blog, I’ve been wondering about just this topic. Thanks for saving me some legwork!

    • Jennifer Fong
      January 5, 2011 | 12:27 pm

      Glad it helped Jen! Good luck with the rebranding!

  4. Cheri Semple
    January 5, 2011 | 11:13 am

    Great topic Jennifer. This almost bit us a few years ago. We purchased a banner package from someone and Mark used an image for a webpage. Somehow, Getty Images saw it and sent us a bill/nastigram for $1,500 for use of the image. I sent them the receipt and all the information and this particular image was not registered/paid for by the person who created the banner package. The bottom line is it is the end user who is resposible – no excuses on no knowing, someone built the page for you, etc. You have to pay and then go after the person yourself. It took 6 months to get it sorted out and there were a lot of layers of people involved – the person who created the banner package worked with an entity in good faith. We finally got the person who was at fault connected with Getty and he paid for it. It truly was a headache and an international incident since we were dealing with people in different countries.

    I use Flickr and also http://www.clipart.com. They are great – it’s only $15 for a week of unlimited use so if you have a “theme” of images you think you might want, i.e. I did searches for jewelry-related images and other topics I thought I would use and downloaded a few hundred just to have them. They are all legit and you won’t have a problem with them – well worth $15 for thousands of images and clipart.

    • Jennifer Fong
      January 5, 2011 | 12:35 pm

      Sounds like a nightmare Cheri! Glad you got it resolved!

  5. Melody
    January 5, 2011 | 11:04 am

    I recently discovered http://wylio.com/ and love it, as it makes it so easy! 1. Search for a picture, select the one you want
    2. Resize and position it
    3. Copy and paste the code into your blog
    Wylio automatically sizes the image, hosts the image, and builds the photo credit into the code, how awesome it that?

    I also use istockphoto particularly when I want to use a photo for several projects rather than just a blog post.

    I love Graham’s suggestion to leave a comment on the flickr page, I’m sure the photographer appreciates it. I’ve used some flickr photos but not as often as I should. Great idea Jen on how to keep track of where you found the image in case you want to use it again.

    • Jennifer Fong
      January 5, 2011 | 12:35 pm

      Thanks for the info Melody! I’ll have to check it out!

  6. Graham
    January 5, 2011 | 9:41 am

    One thing I do in addition to the normal attribution, that might be worth noting; I usually write a little note in the comments section of the image page on Flickr to say I used the image in post such-and-such on my blog and thank the photographer. I’ve found that often gets me a few more hits on the blog post, and has resulted in followers and comments.

    • Jennifer Fong
      January 5, 2011 | 10:21 am

      Good info! Thanks Graham.

  7. Kristy Pool
    January 5, 2011 | 9:24 am

    Great resource! I had never heard of it before. I have heard of istockphotos, but I am glad to hear that they have free downloads, I did not realize that before either! Thanks for the tips!

    • Candice
      January 5, 2011 | 9:28 am

      KP – Working on branding now, it’s where I found the illustration I wanted… now I’m working with my designer on customization. LOVE iStockPhotos! Hope you find some cool stuff! 🙂 CL

  8. Nakia Evans
    January 5, 2011 | 9:22 am

    Thanks for the information, Jennifer. Sometimes, I use Dreamstime, they have stock photos for sale and they have a great selection of FREE photos, also! Here’s the website:
    http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos

    • Jennifer Fong
      January 5, 2011 | 12:35 pm

      Thanks Nakia. I’ll have to check this site out!

  9. Candice
    January 5, 2011 | 9:21 am

    I use http://www.istockphoto.com/

    There are always free downloads (usually in the bottom corner) as well as a DOLLAR BIN for cheap – but awesome art!

    Thanks fo rthe info on this – it was really helpful!

    • Jennifer Fong
      January 5, 2011 | 12:36 pm

      I didn’t know they had free downloads either. Thanks for the info!

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