Monday, March 30, 2015

Where to Find Free Images Online to Use in Blogging & Social Media

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson
(updated 6/6/17)

As bloggers, we all need images to illustrate our posts. There are many ways to get these images. There are also a lot of pitfalls if you accidentally download an image that has copyright constraints. Doing a search for free images won’t necessarily net you the results you need.

It’s our responsibility to know the Creative Commons License of any image we use. Today, I’m going to break it down for you.

The first—and safest—method of obtaining images for your posts is to take them yourselves. I never go anywhere without my smart phone and frequently have my camera in tow. I’ve learned to look for common illustrated things I need. Like a path, an obstacle, or even a gate.

If you don’t have an image of your own to use, you’ll need to look online for an image. Buying images can be expensive and, if you have a pop up Pinterest button on your blog, these images can get others into trouble. When you purchase an image, it’s only for your own use, and if someone else pins it, they are in violation of copyright.

Know Your Creative Commons Licenses 
My preference is to search for sites that offer Creative Commons Zero (CCO).
This means that you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial products without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer and/or designer.

To read the definitions of all the different Creative Commons Licenses, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/.

These are the sites I use regularly that offer Creative Commons Zero (CCO)
1. http://pixabay.com - This is one of my two favorite sites. It does require that you register or fill out a Captcha to download. I love the quality and the variety of images on this site.

2. http://www.pexels.comThis is the second of my favorite sites. It doesn’t require registration and is equally as easy to use.

Other Options
There are numerous other sites with free images that vary in their Creative Common Licenses. The problem with many is that the license is different for every image you choose. For me, that’s just too confusing. I also prefer to caption my images with something from the blog post, instead of an attribution. I don’t mind attributions at the end of the blog, but on the image will interfere with search engine rankings.

Once I have an image, then what?
Once I download an image to use, I frequently like to modify it. I’ll either add text, or a filter, or even crop it to fit with what I need for that specific post. I have two sites that I like to use for that.

My favorite is www.Picmonkey.com. Another good site for manipulating images is www.Canva.com. Canva offers more options, but there’s a steeper learning curve. Canva also offers images, but you need to be careful to only create designs with the license that is applicable to your needs.

Using images for blogging and social media is a great way to increase shares, likes and overall interaction. But we must be careful to know what is legal to use online.

Now it’s your turn. What sites do you use for images and what questions do you have about finding and using images? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES

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37 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Mary, so glad I'm able to help! Blessings, E

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    2. Hey Edie, thanks a bunch. These resources are a huge help to me. I never know where to go to get good quality pics. Most often I use my own, but I'm not a photographer. LOL Thanks again, blessings on this Monday. Beth

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  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I blog once a week. I use about 4 images in each post. I spend so much time finding pictures that are not copy-written. You have saved me so much time and effort.

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    Replies
    1. Cherrilynn, finding images is so time-consuming. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  3. Very helpful advice Edie! I also take my camera with me wherever I go. :)

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    1. Debbie, I'm lost without mine to! Thanks, E

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  4. Edie, this is great help! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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  5. Replies
    1. Crickett and Ane, Thanks for dropping by! Blessings, E

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  6. Replies
    1. Nancy, I'm a HUGE fan of your books and follow you on the Kill Zone! Thank you so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  7. Thank you! I've been worried about this and not sure which free sites to use. I don't suppose you know anything about www.morguefile.com do you? It's supposedly free and I've used a few images. At the bottom of their home page the fine print says it's for all corporate and public use and for creative pursuits. But is that wording enough? Is there something particular we should look for?

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    1. Diane, Morguefile is free, but each image has its own Creative Commons license. Some want an attribution, some limit use, they're all different. That's why I don't use it. Great question, Blessings, E

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    2. Thank you, Edie. I appreciate the help and clarification.

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  8. Great Post Edie! I'm going to print this out for my Word Weaver group to use:)

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    Replies
    1. Erika, that's great. Thank you for sharing, be sure to include my blog address when you do! Blessings, E

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  9. This is great help Edie. But how do you find out what kind of license an image has? I've tried to find out from different sites and they aren't very good about explaining how to use their images. And how do you go about giving credit for the use of an image?
    Thanks!

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    1. Kim, if they don't include it in an easy-to-find format, I move on. It's just too risky otherwise. To give credit, you have to follow their requirements. Some require a link to the photographer's site, or the site where you found the image, sometimes both. It should all be spelled out. Great questions! Blessings, E

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  10. Thanks, Edie! I've been paying for images from BigStock, but having the option to use "free" quality visuals will be really helpful.

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    1. Dawn, paying for images is always good. I have done that in the past, but I like to support the free sites. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  11. This info could not have come at a better time. Much needed ... much appreciated. Thanks, Edie! :) BTW Do you know anything about free images on WANA Tribe?

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    Replies
    1. Andrea, so glad it was helpful! And no, I don't have any idea. I'm sure there is a license or user guidelines on the site, though. Kristen wouldn't do anything half-way. Blessings, E

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  12. Great post. Not sure if anyone's mentioned it but I like Christian photos.net. Vonda gave me this tip. :) And I use Flickr (creative commons). I always ask permission with Flickr photos first.

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    1. Julie, both of those sites are solid, reputable sites with great images. I just prefer not being required to give an attribution and/or trying to figure out which image has which license (this is specific to Flickr). Great suggestions, Blessings, E

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  13. Replies
    1. Michelle, what do they say, "Great minds..." I love the way you think! Blessings, E

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  14. Thanks! This is very, very helpful!

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  15. Great stuff, Edie!
    I have used GraphicStock - but I do find it limited. I'm excited to learn about Pixabay - can't wait to give that a try!
    Thanks again.

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    1. Charlotte, I feel the same way. Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings, E

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  16. Pixabay.com and Pixels.com are some outstanding resources. All of the images are nice quality, which saves so much time when hunting for just the right one. Pixels.com has an 'Instagram' feel to it. I've amassed a collection of over 3K Public Domain images on categorized Pinterest Boards. Mostly from Wikimediacommons, the file sizes are large enough for print and are Public Domain which is similar to the CCO license. Public Domain is OK for commercial use and attribution is not required. http://bit.ly/1EFTEIQ
    Thanks for the great tip!!

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    Replies
    1. Lisa, GREAT tips! Thanks so much for sharing, Blessings, E

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  17. These are really useful resources thank you, not just for blogging, but for all manner of things!

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  18. Thanks so much for that info! Could not have come at a better time. I have been using Dreamstime which has a great variety, but not free.

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  20. Hey Edie, great info. Just wanted to add, I put together a website that has 95 free photo websites, 73 of whom have a Creative Commons Zero license. Critical info to help bloggers decide if they can legally use the photo for what they want to is included. Sites you mention above are included and I tell you which ones take their photos from other free sites. Let's connect.

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