High quality, professional images will help your blog make a much stronger impression. It’ll help make your blog appear more credible, help you catch attention and help you hold and your reader’s interest. It can also help you hammer a point home.
In some cases, you’ll be able to generate your own images for your blog yourself. For example, you might take your own step-by-step pictures for a DIY homebuilding project you’re doing. Or you might take your own screenshots for a tech demonstration you’re doing.
But in many cases, that won’t be an option. Or you just won’t want to because of how much work it’ll take. In many cases, it just makes sense to find high quality existing images instead of making your own.
When you do, the #1 thing you need to look out for is the image’s license. You need to make sure you find the perfect image for the perfect post, but you also need to make sure you can get the appropriate license to use the image. So where do you find these images? Let’s take a look at some image sources, along with their licenses.
Source #1: Morgue File
Morgue File one of the best free stock image sources on the internet. The files on Morgue File can generally be used for any purpose without attribution.
You can reproduce the image, alter the image, use just a part or the whole thing, create derivative works and even redistribute the image. It’s as close to no license as you’re going to get. Note that images might have more stringent licenses. Make sure you check the license for the specific image you plan on using.
Source #2: Stock.xchng
Stock.xchng is another free stock image website. It also has an enormous selection of images. If you’re looking for free images, try checking both SXC.hu and Morgue File before making your selection.
The image license on Stock.xchng is quite similar to Morgue File, but a little more stringent. You can use the image in whole or in part and you can alter the image. You can create derivative works. You cannot give redistribution rights and you need to ask permission before using the images for print media.
Again, check the specific license for the image you’re using.
Source #3: iStockPhoto
iStockPhoto is one of the most well known stock photo sites on the internet. They have millions of extremely high quality images to choose from.
Stock photos you get on paid sites are almost always far higher quality than photos you’d find on free stock photo sites. Often time’s you’ll only be able to find a good photo on a paid stock photo site.
Generally these sites work on a sliding scale, depending on the resolution you need. The higher the resolution of the photo, the more you pay. Instead of using cash, iStockPhoto uses a credit system. You buy credits, then spend them on images.
Source #4: Dreamstime
Dreamstime is another major paid stock image website. Much like iStockPhoto, Dreamstime uses a credit system. They are generally less expensive than iStockPhoto, but the quality of the images also seems to be lower.
Dreamstime allows you to buy different kinds of licenses for your images. Two common licenses are their “Royalty Free” license and their “Extended License” license.
The Royalty Free license allows you to use the image on the internet, on advertising material, CD covers, presentations and other kinds of single-use media. The Extended License allows you to redistribute the image in web templates, in screensavers, on T-Shirts and other kinds of redistribution media.
Source #5: Open Clipart
Clipart is a very different kind of art. Clipart is generally made from vector graphics. It’s created graphics rather than photographed graphics.
Clipart generally isn’t used as the primary graphic. Instead, it’s used to supplement other images. For example, you might look for thought bubbles or “light bulb over the head” kind of graphics on a clipart site.
You could also use it to find arrows, checkmarks and other formatting related images.
Open Clipart is one of the biggest free clipart sites on the net. From the home page of this site, they say the images in the public domain, meaning you can use it without attribution in any way you want.
Source #6: Flickr Creative Commons
A lot of people on Flickr choose to license their images with creative commons. There are a variety of types of creative commons licenses that Flickr supports. Note that almost all the licenses on Flickr require attribution. Some of them allow you to alter the image, while others don’t. Some allow you to print the image, but you should read the license specifics. Some allow you to redistribute the image, others don’t.
Fortunately, Flickr sorts all the different kinds of licenses out for you. Just click below, then select the type of images you want to see:
Once you’re in one license category, you can browse all of those images by hand, or search for what you’re looking for.
Source #7: Google Advanced Image Search
Another great place to look is Google’s advanced image search. Google allows you to search for images based on image license. To access the advanced search menu, click the “Settings” button on the right hand side of Google Image Search:
To select the license type to search, scroll all the way to the bottom.
Enter your keywords and any other specifications, such as size or geographic region, then hit “Advanced Search.” Only images of the license type you selected will be displayed.
Note that Google may not be 100% accurate, so make sure you double-check the license before you use it.
Source #8: Using Photo Dropper
Photo Dropper is a WordPress plugin that searches Creative Commons and licensable images for you, then drops it directly into your WordPress post. It’s very easy to use. Instead of having to go to an outside site to get an image, you can do it all within your WordPress interface.
Once you have Photo Dropper installed, just go to your post or page screens to use it. Click the Photo Dropper button to bring up the plugin.
Type in a search term. A number of search results will be displayed. Click the one that appeals to you most, but double check the appropriate license as the plugin is not foolproof.
Hit “Insert into Post” and the image will be added into your post. You’ll be given the option to edit the image, just as you would with any other kind of image insertion. You can change the size of the image, add alt text, add a link, change alignment or add CSS styles.
These are eight images different places you can find images for your blog on the internet. Again, make sure that you double-check the licenses for each image you use, as different images can be licensed differently, even on the same site.