Sourcing Images

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So perhaps you’re not up for taking photos of yourself, or your post doesn’t really lend itself to a photo of you prancing about in a pretty dress. There are lots of images that you can use – we’ll explain what images you can use. You’re probably thinking, “what does this have to do with me? Can’t I just use any ol’ photo from Google Search if I want?” Well, of course not, or we wouldn’t be writing this!

The best photo to use will always be one you have taken yourself. For blog posts about a specific topic (e.g. talking about money), it’s pretty simple to snap a photo yourself and use that.  A pretty Instagram photo is always a good fall back if you’re writing something about an opinion or something that doesn’t really have anything obvious that you could take a photo of.

If you really can’t find a suitable image for a post, then there are other images you can use. A good place to find images is Flickr, but it is so important that you only use images where the photographer explicitly says that they are happy for the image to be used by others

Most images on Flickr use the Creative Commons way of licensing their images. There are four different aspects to Creative Commons, and these can be combined to specify exactly how the photographer is happy for their images to be used. Firstly, attribution. Most images will have this section, because it means that the photographer is happy for others to use their images as long as they receive credit. Non-commercial means that the image can be used for non-commercial purposes only. No derivative works means that the original image can be displayed, but you can not modify it in any way (so no adding text, or cropping, etc.). Share alike means that derivative works (i.e. images that you create using someone else’s image) can be shared by others under the same licence as the original image

Flickr allows you to search for Creative Commons licenced images (where you can choose the type of licence you require) and filter it based on specific keywords. If you’re looking for a specific type of image, this will be super useful

Sometimes, you might find the perfect image pop up on a Pinterest board, or a Tumblr post. Unfortunately, the source of the image is so often lost on these networks. If you really need to use the image though, there is a way to find where the image has come from. Two sites that we have used previously to trace where an image has come from are and Google Image Search. On both sites, you need to provide them with the image URL (which you can usually get by right clicking the image and choosing properties.)

No matter where you find an image, always pay attention to the images licensing rules before using it. Always ask before using – even if the photographer has said they are happy for anyone to use their images, it is always polite to ask – and most photographers will be interested to see where and how their images are being used!

  • Tzevai

    There’s a site called which is great for creative commons stuff – they’ve got a plugin for WordPress too!

    July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm Reply
  • Nose in a book

    Thank you for highlighting this! I get so frustrated by the generally cavalier attitude to copyright. Also, the other big source of Creative Commons images is Wikimedia Commons

    August 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm Reply

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