Can I Use This? Picture Sites Where You Can Find Images for Your Blog
I spend an enormous amount of time searching for images for my blog posts. Each time I get something ready to publish, I spend anywhere from ten to thirty minutes scouring the internet for the perfect picture.
Over the past few years I've used hundreds of images on my site. While I've learned (the hard way) how much this could potentially slow down my site, I've also learned the value of having beautiful pictures with every blog post.
Benefits of Using Images
Images break up blocks of text. They make a post or a page more visually attractive. When used with the right alt tags and file names, pictures are excellent for search engine optimization.
If you're using featured images on your blog, readers are more likely to share your content. By being intentional with your images, you can draw in readers as they're scrolling through their social feeds.
Pictures Sites I Recommend
Before we go any further, I must issue a warning. Be very careful when putting images on your site. Make sure you give credit to the photographer whenever it's required (and even when it's not) and look for the phrase “creative commons” whenever possible.
If you're curious about creative commons and the more technical and legal language behind licensing images, go to http://creativecommons.org/. If you're in doubt about whether you can use an image, don't use it.
Here are the pictures sites I go to regularly to search for the perfect image:
I like Compfight because their directory is searchable. I can input a topic or an idea, and scroll through pages of thumbnails searching for one that grabs my eye.
Since they started heavily integrating paid images from Shutterstock I like them a little less, but they're still a great resource.
As one of the older picture directories, Fotor has a large user base. I like them because they make it easy to copy and paste the photo attributes so you can credit the photographer.
They also show you what you can do with the images by giving you easy to read language like this:
Fotor also uses an “infinite scroll” page which means you can keep scrolling through images until you reach the end of what they have.
If you want a minimalist way to search for stunning images, Unsplash is the place to go. Their images are completely free and you can do whatever you want with them. I've spent hours scrolling through pictures on Unsplash and saving many of them for later use.
The worst part about Unsplash is they don't tell you where the pictures were taken so you can't go check out the amazing locations in person!
While not one of my favorites, PicJumbo has some good abstract images. I'm not a huge fan of this site because images are often hard to find and you're bombarded with ads.
While their images aren't out on display, Death to the Stock Photo has some of the best images for artists. Every month, DTS emails their subscribers with a link to download the latest images.
I love Death to the Stock photos because the photographers really listen to the people who use their images and do a great job of capturing real life moments we can use. The image at the top of today's post is one of theirs.
One of the best features of Pexels is that they source for a variety of free photo-sharing sites, including some mentioned in this post.
MorgueFile is another searchable tool. I don't use them often, but they're a good source to keep in your back pocket. They have a very handy live cropping tool that allows you to crop an image and embed it on your site just by copying and pasting code like I've done below.
Throw some <center> HTML tags around the code and viola, you have a cropped, centered and properly attributed image.
Common Licensing Terms Explained
Attribution Required: You gotta tell the world you borrowed this image. It's not yours and you didn't take it so you can't claim it as your own. Attribution typically requires giving the photographer's name, a link to the license, and/or a link to the photographer's site.
Proper attribution for a free image looks like this:
Non-Commercial: You can't take someone else's image you got for free and use it on something you're selling. You also can't package the free image with other images and sell them as a bundle.
No Modifications: You can't overlay your text on top of the image.
How to credit or attribute photos correctly
Giving proper photo credit is so easy to do there's no excuse for messing it up. Click the image below to see a full-size image of what you need to do:
If you're uploading full-size images to your site, you're doing everyone a disservice. Only upload images in the dimensions that they'll be seen on your page.
Here's what I mean. If your main blog column is 700 pixels wide, like mine is, you'll almost never need an image larger than 700 pixels. My main picture (the first one you see) is exactly 700 pixels wide, every other image is 650.
Every time you upload an image larger than necessary, you make your slight slower. Re-size your images to the exact dimensions they'll be displayed at and use an optimizing tool to improve image performance. I use Kraken.io for every single image you seen on my site.
If you liked this post, I've got a few more resources you should check out:
- My resources page
- Blogging Tools to Make Your Brand Shine Online
- The 4 Best Tools to Start (or Grow) Your Online Business
- PicMonkey – a free online photo editing tool
Question: What is your favorite source for finding images for your site?