Free Blog Post Images: Where to Find Them, How to Use Them

Free Blog Post Images: Where to Find Them, How to Use Them

Last updated on

We live in a world that teaches us to look over our shoulder each time we use / cite / quote / link out to another person’s work.

It’s especially true when it comes down to finding great free images to add more visual appeal and enrich our blog posts.

Do images help to increase website traffic? Definitely.

Here’s how:

  1. Images make your blog posts more readable, i.e. keep your readers engaged with your content.
  2. Images make your blog posts more shareable. Everyone loves to share an insightful/funny/one-of-a-kind image! (see how I use quotes from SEO experts as images to make my guite long SEO Traffic 2014: Your One-Stop Reference Guide for Non-SEOs much more engaging.)
  3. Images make your blog posts more linkable.
  4. The more readers share your readable, shareable, linkable content via social media, mentions on their blog, etc. – yes, you got it – the more web traffic your posts will get as a result.

Back to free blog images, here’s a trick: the common thinking of “If I give them credit for the image, I am actually doing them a favor by spreading out the word about their work” simply doesn’t work.

Here’s why.

“Free Blog Images Are NOT Free”

A fre months ago, I created a killer Slideshare presentation on how to get more Facebook fans based on James Bond movies: 10 Killer Ways to Get More Facebook Fans James Bond Style.

This is what it used to look like:

how to get more fb fans

It was awesome, edgy, and landed over 100,000 views on Slideshare.

Well, lo and behold, I get a notice from Slideshare:

Hello Ana,

We received a DMCA complaint from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Danjaq LLC regarding your file and the use of 007 property claiming that it infringed on their intellectual property and rights.

Apparently, my little insignificant Slideshare presentation pissed of some people in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios!

Never occurred to me that mentioning James Bond will get me into trouble; PLUS, I thought I was using Creative Commons free images.

Thankfully, Slideshare was very willing to work with me on this one, and my Bond-free Slideshare presentation was restored to its original URL with all the views, embeds, etc. intact.

This is what it looks like now:

Not so edgy any more, but the message is still the same.

“Attribution Doesn’t Make it Right”

That’s right, just because you give appropriate attribution to the image creator, it doesn’t mean you can use it in your blog post.

Peg Fitzpatrick posted a quote from attorney Sara Hawkins

“Taking another person’s image or graphic and giving them a “shout out,” linkback, or any other type of attribution does not negate copyright infringement.

Common sense may say that an artist wants exposure for their work, but we’re talking about the law here and common sense doesn’t always parallel.

Copyright law gives the copyright holder the right to decide where their work is published and maybe they don’t want their work on your site, in your book, included in your newsletter or distributed to your social media network. It’s not for us to question why they wouldn’t want exposure.”

“Their Photo, Their Rules”

Here’s an example of when I thought I did everything right: found Creative Commons licensed photos, gave attribution, and yet still got a comment from one of the photo owners on this Slideshare presentation:

The comment said:

free images on Slideshare presentation

Mind you, Creative Commons licensing doesn’t require ME to include attribution ON the image itself, but in the end, it’s his photo, his rules.

Bottom line: when using other people’s images in your blog posts, you’d better be aware of image licensing requirements, plus be ready to fix things if and when trouble comes – even if you think you’ve done everything right.

You can learn about more cases where various companies were sued by image owners, plus the best way to avoid it, in this post:

How To Create a Blog Post Image That Gets Noticed And Drives Traffic

Additional resources on image licensing

12 Most Picture Perfect Ways To Ensure You’re Legally Using Online PhotosSara Hawkins at

Creative Commons Licenses Explained In Plain English – – Sara Hawkins at

About The Licensesat

Creative Commons on FlickrCreative Commons explanation at

How to Use Reverse Image Lookup

When looking for free images to use as a base for your blog post image designs, it never hurts to do a reverse image search to see if you can track down the original sources. That way, you can do your best to make sure the image doesn’t originate from a copyrighted source. is the best free tool for the job.

how to use tineye for blog post image search

From home page, enter the URL of an image you are interested it and the search results will return all instances of this particular image found online.

Make sure to avoid any images that even smell of copyright.

Now onto the meat of the post.

Free Blog Images: Where and How to Find the Best Ones

There are plenty of sites that aggregate Creative Commons licensed images (that’s what bloggers usually mean when they say “free images“).

This post is not about listing them all (they come and go, as most things online these days), but to show you the ones I found to be the most useful in my free image searches.

1. My Favorite Free Image Aggregators

When I need to find free blog images, here are my top to-go sites:

If I am just looking for great free images without any specific topic in mind, I often navigate to Editor’s Choice section for inspiration.

pixabay free images editor choice

This is another of my favorites.

Once on MorgueFile home page, make sure to click on “Free Photos” to start your search.

morguefile free blog images is just a great collection of free quality images.

photopin image aggregator

How I use them:

I start my search by opening all three sites in separate tabs and do same searches on all three to make sure I find the best images for my needs.

If I don’t see what I need (rarely, but happens), I move on to the following sources.

2. Google Image Search

Yes, Google Image Search is still the ultimate image aggregator.

It offers the BEST results when it comes down to variety and quality of images.

The problem is you can’t really freely use the image you find there.

Here’s a trick most people don’t know about: sorting Google Image results by license.

How to find free images on Google Image Search:

From Google Image Search, click on Search Tools, then Usage Rights.

how to find free images on google

The resulting search will be more concise, and most likely, not as much fun, but at least you are much better off using these images.

How to find similar free images on Google Image Search:

Here’s another tip: let’s say you found a Creative Commons image that’s almost right. Here’s a way to to find image look-alikes or the same image in different sizes.

From Google Image Search, click on the camera icon in the search bar.

search by image on Google

Step 2. Paste Image URL that you want to find variations of (or upload an image if you have it saved on your desktop) and click “Search by Image“.

search by image 2

Step 3. Voilà – Google Image Search will show you other available options.

free image search results

3. Bing Image Search

Bing now allows you to search images by usage rights as well.

How to find free images on Bing Image Search

Step 1. Go to Bing Image Search.
free bing image search 1

Notice how Bing immediately gives you some eye candy by showing you trending images searches – great to find new potential niche markets or simply cool images to share with your social media followers, like I do on Google+ (follow me there to keep up with my updates).

Step 2. Type what you are looking for and choose your desired license in the drop-down menu.

bing free image search usage rights

That’s it!

3. Creative Commons

If you want to find Creative Commons images, it only makes sense to go to… Creative Commons!

This is what you’ll see there:

free images creative commons search

Step 1. Enter your search query.

Step 2. Click one of the boxes if you’d like to use the image for commercial purposes or modify it in any way (leave blank if neither applies).

Step 3. Choose the site/type of media you are searching for (one site at a time).

Using Creative Commons kills two birds with one stone:

  1. Find free material you can use in your blog posts;
  2. Allows you to access different media – images, videos, clip art, etc.


compfight free image search

Compfight aggregates Creative Commons images from Flickr.

What I like about Compfight:

  • offers different image size options;
  • gives you HTML code to copy and paste to your blog post for proper attribution.

What I don’t like about Compfight:

  • sometimes it’s buggy;
  • every once so often, it will divert you to a pop-up window with paid images. I am not against it – I understand that’s how they make money, but it could get old pretty quickly.

Compfight WordPress Plugin

Compfight also offers a free WordPress plugin to help you to add images with proper attribution directly to your blog posts.

4. Flickr Commons

Truth is most creative commons image sites dip into Flickr Commons to find the free images to offer to their searcher.

Why not cut out the middle man and go straight to the source, right?

Once you are at Flickr Commons, scroll down a bit until you see the search box – your gateway to great free blog images on Flickr.

how to find flickr commons free blog images

5. All-Free-Download is a great site to find free graphics as well as free images.

No catch; just find what you need, download, alter as you need to, and use them to your heart’s content.


IClipArt is a aggregator of free clipart images.

This would be a great place to find miscellaneous clipart if you are planning on making your own images.

7. More Sites to Find Free Images

The sites above is all I use for my personal free blog post image search, for both Traffic Generation Café and my Slideshare presentations.

If you are into tools and lists, here are some additional resources to keep you running in circles find the best free image sites.

11 Places to Get a Free and Legal Photo for Your BlogCaitlin Muir at

30+ Websites For Stock Photos And Royalty Free Imagesat

I’d also suggest you try PhotoDropper – a free WP plugin that has over 62 million free images that blog owners can access and insert right from their WordPress dashboard.

I did test PhotoDropper at Traffic Generation Café and found it buggy, but it doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Learn more about it here:

PhotoDropper: A Great WordPress Plugin For Fast, Easy And Free ImagesJennifer Ledbetter at

How to Properly Add an Image to Your Post

Since we are on the subject of adding images to blog posts, I can’t help but mention a few things on how to properly add an image to your blog post.

Whether it sounds too basic or not, that’s not the question. The REAL question is do you DO IT on your blog. If not, you need to read this.

Tere are 3 main sections you need to pay attention to, plus 2 options, when uploading an image to your blog:

1. Image Name

Before you even upload your image, make sure it’s named properly and relevantly. That means that you shouldn’t name your image based on what it is about, but rather based on what your post it about.

link building naughty nice image


I added this image to my Link Building: What’s Naughty, What’s Nice? post (an oldie, but a goodie).

I didn’t name it “half-dressed woman”, although that’s pretty much what the image is of.

Rather, I named it “link building”, since that’s what my post is about.

2.  Image Title

After you upload your image, it’s time to add some relevant information about it.

Why is this important?

Because the search engines won’t see the pretty image you are adding, rather a string of code that tells the search engines that this is an image and this is what the image is all about.

Who adds that string of code? You do.

Thus, this is a great opportunity to enhance your on-page SEO by adding some relevant keywords to the title and alternative description of the image.

Let’s take a look at what it looks like in action:

how to add image tags

As you can see, my title is keyword-based (but NOT keyword-stuffed!).

3. Add Alternative Text

That’s what is also referred to as an ALT tag (“alt” stands for alternative).

It acts like a description of the image and is another great way to add some keywords.

Note I didn’t say “stuff it with keywords”.  Keyword stuffing hasn’t worked in ages and it can have a negative effect on your SEO.

Your description shouldn’t be the same as your title, although it can definitely use the same keywords. I (almost) always like to add words like “image”, “graph”, “picture”, etc. to my ALT tag to make sure it’s different from my title.

4. Image Caption

That one is strictly for your readers.

That’s where it’s good to tie your image to your post if the relation is not too clear.

You can also show off your wit here by adding a joke or sarcasm – both work equally well.

5. Link URL

I almost always leave this one blank.


Since search engine spiders follow each link they find on a given page, what’s the point of sending them to the one that leads to a dead end with no content?

There are 2 exceptions I make to the no-link rule: when I want my readers to be able to enlarge an image and when I want to link it to an external resource.

How to Rank on Google Image Search

Let me start this section with “Every niche is different“.

Can you get traffic to your site by ranking your images in Google Image Search? Sure you can.

Is it worth your time? It depends.

If someone is looking at pictures of apple pies, chances are they are looking for an apple pie recipe and will follow the image back to your site to see what you’ve got.

free blog image apple pie

If you are like me and the only time you are looking at images is when you need one for a blog post or something similar, all you want to do is to get in and get out.

Do I get traffic from Google Images? Yes.

But it’s generally low quality traffic that doesn’t convert (i.e. doesn’t subscribe to my free Bite-Size Traffic Hacks email series, which is my primary conversion goal at Traffic Generation Café) and has the lowest stats all around:

If you are interested in learning more about ranking on Google for images, I recommend reading:

The Ultimate Guide to Image SEO for Better RankingsJoseph Adediji at

Final Words on Free Blog Images

Images are great to have, but they have one great flaw – they significantly slow down your blog.

Two solutions here:

1. Add fewer images

I usually stick to one image per post unless I need to add more to give readers a visual explanation of the text (although I’ve been breaking that rule more and more these days).

2. Resize images before uploading them to your post

Easy to do.

If you are using software like Snagit, you can easily resize the image in the Edit panel.

Alternatively, you can use free tools like Image Optimizer.

Here’s also a great Worpress tip on optimizing your images in WordPress settings – something very easy to do, yet an often overlooked step:

set correct image sizes wordpress

You can read more about it here:

This Often-Forgotten WP Media Setting Helps Boost Your Loading TimesKim Castleberry at

3. Use WP Plugin

WP is a free WP plugin that will automatically reduce your image files, thus improving your blog performance.

4. Get Faster Web Hosting

If you are just starting with your online career or your business is still fairly small, chances are your blog is hosted by HostGator or BlueHost – two most popular choices in web hosting.

And that’s absolutely fine. Traffic Generation Café has been hosted at Hostgator for the first two years of its life – up until I got fed up with constant outages, restrictions, and slow loading times.

I am now with WPEngine and haven’t had ONE problem (not even ONE!) since the switch. Plus it really is lightning fast.

I understand it’s not for every budget, but then again, can you put a price on the one online asset that’s the driving force behind your business – your website?

Check it out:

WP Engine banner


Happy free blog post image hunting!


traffic generation cafe free blog post image

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

78 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Carina Le

    Hi Ana,

    I really appreciate all the great intel you’ve given me – it is really helping me build my new blog! One question I’m still stumped on with images: what does “building on” an image really mean? I’d like to do some images with text overlays with quotes, information for slides, etc. and I’m confused on whether this is “altering” the image or not. Can you give me a specific guideline for the rules regarding adding text to images? Thanks so much! BTW – your blog has found a home in several of my bookmarks – great job here!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks for coming by, Carina, and I apologize for a late response.

      Yes, adding anything to an image – text, etc. – counts as altering it. You can alter images if the specific license allows you to do so. That applies to most Creative Commons images.

      I wish I could be more specific, but you have to look at it on a case by case basis. Most sites that allow you to reuse images (like the ones I mentioned in the post) publish the type of license the images are published under – that should give you an idea if you can alter them or not.

      Good luck with your new site!

  2. Hi Ana,
    I love finding just the right image for my post or header. I use Google Images, morgue file, pixabay, iconfinder but, I didn’t realize that Bing is now letting us use images. YAAY!! I also, didn’t know about a couple of the others you mention.

    Thanks so much for the info. I love it! :)

  3. I’m exhausted. Well done Ana. Yes I read it all. Come on MGM, get a grip. Way too many lawyers. Really, do they have anything better to do than make noise on a SS presentation that was very well done. Please.

    With Pinterest and Google it’s open season, with every individual it’s Harvard Law. Typical.

    Attribution. Absolutely. Whenever I pull something 500px, they get the embedded attribution and the photographer gets link to his/her site of FB page.

    This will likely be a losing battle for “photographers” as the web continues to grow and the popularity of images. Articles and images are shared all over the place by major sites, let alone individual blogs. If you link back to my post, more power to you and 99% time, thank you. Photographers and Artists would be better off to have the same mindset.

    So glad Trey Ratcliff gets it, he’s only the biggest photographer online. Kudos.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Wow, Steve: you are my hero – you actually read one of my posts! lol

      You are very right: fighting against image republishing is an uphill battle, so wouldn’t it be smarter to pick your battles well?

  4. Annie

    I have been using Photopin for some time, and whilst it proves to be a great source, sometimes limiting for my needs. I hadn’t come across the others you have mentioned above, despite frequently Googling to try to find more.

    So this list you provided has opened up a whole new world of pictures! I do try to use my own pics, but as many of mine feature my family (and I choose not to have them on my blog), sometimes, it can be tricky to get the imagery needed!

    Thank you.

  5. Using an image with a copyright license can land one into problem. I have heard cases of bloggers sued for infringing on such rights and ended up spending so much. I usually create most of the images i use or search for images without copyright on Google to use.

    I will also check out the other sites you listed here for free images i could use for my blog. Thanks for sharing.

    I found this article on and also left a comment there.

  6. Ana,
    That’s wonderful that Slideshare worked with you to restore your URL with all the views and embeds intact. I can’t believe that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios were so on top of this.

    Thanks for the resources. There are a few here that I wasn’t aware of.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I know, huh? I understand using copyrighted images, but that wasn’t their complaint… oh well.

      Good to see you at Traffic Generation Café, Sherryl!

  7. Another master piece from you Ana!
    I usually use Google images for finding images that i use in my blog post and it seems the easiest method to me, I get to choose from a variety of images and also from different styles and formats like Clip arts, icon, logo and so on.
    Thanks for mentions my Image SEO guide, it is really appreciated…
    Been away for a while now, but am fully back now 😉

    • Ana Hoffman

      Just be careful with license rights, Joseph; you never know what you find on Google. And welcome back!

      • Özcan

        How to know copyrights of photos where to see it on the photo? We search for photos at google and find many but where to see copyrights ?

  8. There is a lot of information on the Internet but you explained this topic particularly well. I like to buy images though because if you link to someone’s image you can’t be sure the link will be valid in the future.

  9. Ayla Verheijen

    Hi there Ana,

    Spot on post as usual, truly like your combo of information density with a juicy writing style!

    Now I do have a question about the Flickr creative commons. How does it work with all this license stuff? I see you use pictures with “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License” (oh these lovely names they picked, great!).

    To me we are moving to the grey zone now…. Would you be able to defend that your slideshares are “non-commercial”? I mean, off course they are giving people free information about how to get traffic. But they are also driving people to your website, which in turn is meant to generate business.

    What do you think? This “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License” is certainly the biggest pool to fish in (with 75 million images) and you do have a knack of finding the funniest en most appealing ones!
    (your SEO on page cheat sheet slideshare: guy with lightbulb in his mouth, or with an electrical chord coming out of his nose… must have taken you some serious image hunting to find them!)

    • Ana Hoffman

      There are no guarantees no matter what image license you use, Ayla.

      The image creator might change the license in the future. Or someone might’ve posted a picture under Creative Commons that wasn’t theirs to post to begin with.

      You just never know. Thus, the best you can do is do your due diligence and follow “the rules” as you understand them. If you ever have to take down an image due to a complaint, then you’ll cross that bridge when you get to it.

  10. rena cristy gamueta

    Hello Ana Hoffman
    Good Day!

    I have some suggestions on how to edit your picture.. just download on your google chrome the pixlr express. there you can edit free. with good quality. and to your blog, it is a nice peice of you, thank you

  11. Thank you for this comprehensive post Ana. I’ve been content using Flickr for my blog images — it’s nice to know that I have more options.

  12. Fantastic post on free blog images, Ana.

    You have thrown in some very helpful resources, and also put forth some interesting points on how we should approach finding free images for our blogs or websites.

    There are plenty of sites that offer free images as well as other content, and as you have already alluded to in your post, the first rule of thumb is to check the licensing of the image(Or other content).

    Reading through some of the definitions of the different licenses is also very helpful. Doing so can make the whole process of finding 100% free and legal images and other content, a much simpler and stress free experience.

  13. I know you shouldn’t take other peoples’ images without their permission (which is why I have a Photodune account with mega amounts of credit loaded in to it).

    However, I’m interested to know out of all the people posting here on this blog, how many have ever got caught out using a copyrighted image?

  14. Ria Dancel

    Hello! Anna. :) I would like to thank you for this helpful post. I am starting to be in the “blogging industry” and also believe that images in my blog page can really enhance its appeal to the readers. Now, I also learned from your article that I cannot just pick any photo/image as they may be under copyright. :) Kudos for a great article 😉

  15. Wow, I never know you can filter out licenses when searching for Google Images. I wonder how we as a blogger dictate that licensing? (I always put watermarks of my blog’s URL on my images, just in case someone steals it)

    As with the WP Smush It, I’ve stopped using it about a year ago. Seemed to have a problem with their system (causing freezes and null image when importing on WordPress)

    • Ana Hoffman

      When you upload your images to an image-sharing site like Flickr, you set the license for those images. Otherwise, watermark is always a good idea.

      I don’t keep active; I only activate it every once so often to run my recently added images through it. Doesn’t take long to do and it doesn’t interfere with the blog.

  16. Hello Ana, I must say this article is so nicely written that I really enjoyed reading it all till the end. I have sometimes used images from google but didnt know that filter to get images that are free to get and modify too, i actually never used the advanced filter but now I think i should be using it. Thanks for sharing so many valuable resources of getting images !

    • Hi Riz,
      I also don’t use the advanced feature of Google image search, i just search for an image i like and use it! 😉
      Why i dont use the advanced search is because it reduces the amount of images that shows up and it brings up images i dont like!

      • Ana Hoffman

        Just don’t say I didn’t tell you so, Joseph, when someone files a DMCA claim against you. lol

  17. Thanks Ana… this is something I’d been thinking about but doing little about. Your tips and sources will prove very useful since I’m now trying to find pretty pictures to spruce up blog posts :)

  18. Hi Ana, another high quality post. Morguefile and Pixabay generally cover my needs. Sometimes Vecteezy has some useful stuff and occasionally the paid for sites offer a free image of the month which is often worth grabbing.
    On the subject of image optimisation, there are three things you can do. Firstly save at the right size for the space the image will be shown. Secondly, compress jpgs as much as you can without losing too much quality (Pixlr has a slider control for this). Thirdly, Smush-it, as you mentioned. By doing all that you should be able to reduce the filesize of a copied image by 60 to 80%. I just wrote a post on this if you need more detail.

    Keep up the great work Ana, yours is one of the few blogs I keep coming back to again and again.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I usually use Snagit for my images, and whenever I resize images before uploading them to Traffic Generation Café, they get too blurry. Did you find it to be the case with other resizing tools, Andrew?

      Thanks for the additional info and congrats on your Problogger post!

      • Hi Ana, thanks for the congrats – you cannot believe how excited I was managing to get my first ever guest post on one of the biggest blogs in the world – I can die happy now :-)

        I haven’t used Snagit, but I know what you mean about the blurs. They are, apparently called compression artefacts and are a result of taking out too much information and what’s lefet, kind of smudging together. With Pixlr you can control exactly how much or how little compression you are applying and see the resulting file-size on the readout.
        I will download a copy of Snagit and have a look at the settings and get back to you if I can offer any advice.

        • Ana Hoffman

          Thanks, Andrew.

          Adding an extra step of “finalizing” the images we add to our blog posts could be a bit too much for most bloggers. I know I might not always find the time to do it.

    • I was going to mention Morguefile and Pixabay actually, but you beat me to it.

      They are both pretty good and have some nice images.

      Another option, is to use pictures you use yourself and then you should be a lot safer. That does require you to take photos though, and that’s not for everyone.

  19. Ana,

    That is a great post on images.

    I know people who have gotten in trouble recently for their free images.

    I usually try to purchase most of my images. But sometimes I am not sure that is much better as we are not truly purchasing total rights to the image I do not believe.

    You have a couple of free image sources that I have not used and I will look into them. I also was unaware that we could search images on Google and Bing by the license of the image. That is great to know.

    Dee Ann

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thank you, Dee Ann.

      I’ve never really used paid images in the past for that very reason: you have the permission to use the image (just like Creative Commons images), but that’s it. Permissions change all the time, sites come and go, so you never know.

  20. What an awesome resource Ana. I usually use Flickr or Google Images to find the images I use (or I take my own pictures). I am using the right license as well. But, I’ve been thinking about finding a different way to find images, a way that’s faster.

    • Ana Hoffman

      In my opinion, looking for the right image with the right license is always a pain in the neck, no matter how many resources you’ve got, Jens; let me know if you ever find a way to speed it up.

  21. On the question of copyright, I have about maybe two and a half thousand of my own images up on the net.

    A while ago I did a ‘similar image’ search for one of my images and found eight pages of URLs that had used the image – some with attribution and some without.

    If someone copies one of my images and does not give attribution, then of course, I don’t like it.

    If I do get attribution, then I weigh up the benefit of the backlink – and maybe let it go. Life it too short to chase up all the images.

    On the question of image use and copyright, why isn’t Pinterest in court? For that matter, why isn’t Google Image Search in court for copyright breach?

    Isn’t it because they are not uploading images but referencing the images from their URLs?

    In WordPress, there is even an ‘upload from URL’ feature.

    Do you remember the storm over whether Pinterest was breaking copyright by publishing some unauthorised images?

    That came to nothing – and I assume is was because Pinterest references the images from the URLs.

    There was also a question about whether Pinterest was uploading thumbnails.

    It was said to be doing that so that if the referenced image URL changed or the original image was removed, Pinterest at least had the thumbnail to show, rather than a lot of empty frames with a blue question mark or ‘this image or video is currently unavailable’.

    As far as I know, that allegation about thumbnails being uploaded by Pinterest didn’t go anywhere and Pinterest is not in court.

    I recognise that the problem with referencing an image rather that uploading it is that the original image might not always be around and that could mean a broken link.

    And if an image is referenced then there is a link out to the URL – with the ‘bad neighbourhood’ risk that goes with that.

    By the way, do you think Google must have their own broken-link checker on overdrive, checking that the images they are referencing are still there?

    • Ana Hoffman

      You take great pictures, David; I am not surprised you see them all over.

      And you’ve brought up a lot of very good points – about Pinterest and about linking out to give attribution for images; I haven’t even thought about it.

      I’ve seen Google linking out to plenty of 404 pages, including images; not sure what their quality control rules are in regards to that.

      Bottom line: it’s best to make/take your own images. And that makes blogging even more complicated.

  22. Hey Ana,

    I heard recently of a marketer who is being chased by Getty Images for royalties owed for an image that he bought from another marketer and used somewhere. He assumed (wrongly in this case) that the images were copyright free.

    You cannot be too careful when it comes to images. Before I knew any better I used to just copy images from the internet for various uses. Shocking I know.

    I have rarely found free images to be as good as the ones you pay for although I have used some from Flickr creative commons. I will give the sites you mention a try.

    I’ll certainly get the Smush it plugin as that is one of things I have been meaning to look into. Very timely, so thanks for that.


    • Ana Hoffman

      I’ve heard a lot of Getty image nightmare stories; I suppose they are trying to make an example of a few to deter the rest.

      And I am with you, I used to use images however I wanted to as well, too bad I know better now. :)

  23. Adding images to blog posts is very good just that i don’t it because i feel it delays the loading process of a blog, i want my blog to load faster.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I understand that concern, Emebu, but there has to be a balance between loading quickly and catching your readers’ eyes at the same time.

  24. Hi Ana,

    Very informative and detailed post. :)

    I would like to know: once we go from Creative Commons site ot Google Images site to Flickr, are these images totally free like “”? Or in former case, we still need to link-back?


    • Ana Hoffman

      Great question, Avadhut.

      Rule of thumb: always give attribution. Most of Creative Commons images still require it, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  25. Found your post on Twitter via @kikolani. Thanks for sharing Ana! I didn’t know that Bing had an image search like that, but I’ll be sure to check it out. BTW, I have used for years and found them to be a reliable resource.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks for coming by, Jeremy, and thanks to Kristi for the thumbs up on Twitter.

      It sounds like MorgueFile is a good one to add to my list; thanks.

  26. Ana Hoffman

    Glad to hear Twitter is still alive and kicking! lol

    Thanks for the resource suggestions, Jennifer; I’ll see you around when you are more bright-eyed.

  27. Another great post loaded with info and resources Ana. I did want to mention one thing about searching for Creative Commons images. I can’t remember who it was but a couple of years ago a blogger was being sued by one of the bigger image sites for using one of their member’s (photographer) photos without buying the rights to it. He found the image on Flickr that allowed the photo’s use with attribution, which he did. It turned out that it was never the person’s photo that put in on Flickr in the first place. They purchased a single use license and then uploaded it to Flickr. I guess my point is that it’s important to make sure we’re getting permission from the true owner, which I imagine can be pretty tough.

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are so right, Brian; I can’t believe I forgot to mention that in the post.

      I think I’ll add it; thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  28. Great info Ana! It’s a shame that some people make such a stink over “their” pictures, but I guess I can understand to an extent. Thanks for sharing the above links. I got a few news ones now that I can use. I usually use FreeDigitalPhoto’ :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      If I knew I could create the kind of pictures that would be shared all over internet, I’d be doing it day and night as long as they link back to me. I suppose that’s a blogger in me talking…

      Thanks for another resource!

  29. Hi, Ana!

    Have to say, that slide with James Bond was nothing short of amazing. I’m curious, how they found it though?

    Where did you find the “trick” with Bing images?:) I didn’t think a lot of people know that. I’ve heard that from Finch from Premium Posts.

    I think all pictures in MS Office (Clip Art) are royalty free, but I’m not totally sure about that.

    Best wishes,

    • Ana Hoffman

      That Slideshare presentation happened to be featured on Slideshare home page for a while; might’ve caught someone’s eye there.

      I read a lot of marketing news; that’s how I learned about Bing images just last week.

      And I think you are right, those picture are free to use; too bad, there’s nothing great there, plus if everyone uses the same images… well, you know.

      PS Where are you from?

      • Hi!

        How do you get featured? By paying some fee? I just recently started to use 5 document sharing sites. I had no idea you could get that much traffic from these.

        I’m from Latvia :)

        Best wishes,

          • :O

            No way you are Russian! I’m Russian too (though I live in Latvia). Your name should be Anna then, pretty sure :) I suppose you married American? (judging by your last name).

            And thank you for the link! You gave me some ideas I want to act on..

            Всего доброго,

            • Ana Hoffman

              My full name is Oksana – Ana for short. And yes, my husband is American.

              Nice to meet you, Aleksey!

  30. Zohmygosh Ana! You’re absolutely freaking amazing!

    I was just on here a couple days ago looking for this exact information! You always have such neat images, and I need lots of new images to use for all sorts of books, posts, and other media – but I don’t have room in my budget for them.

    This was one of the best-timed posts ever, from the time I needed the info to when I saw this. Amazing (uncanny.)

    Thank you again! Another bookmarked post of yours that I’ll be using all the time . . . :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      MUCH appreciated, Lindsey; always a blessing to be at the right place at the right time.

  31. I remember the JB episode… such a shame.

    I’d like to share an additional experience… I’ve a client who accepted a guest post from a famous author. She sent over a photo of herself and a copy of the book cover. It turns out the author didn’t have permission from the photographer to use the image (even though the image was of her, he still owned the rights to it).

    Image ownership is tricky at its easiest. And a court case at its worst.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Wow – it’s definitely one of those cases, Sarah; can’t believe we might not be free to use an image of ourselves, whoever took the pic.