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How To Find Images For Your Blog

Madison Taylor Marketing

Topics: Content Marketing

A good image can make or break your blog post or web page — it’s important to strike the right tone and supplement the text without confusing or distracting your readers. We’ll tell you how to find images that work for you and what to do with them when you do.

Where To Find Images

Take Your Own Photos

If you have the option, taking your own photos for your blog has a lot of advantages. Every photo you own is your own property, and each one is a unique piece of content — good for SEO purposes, since search engines like original content better than stock photos.

You can get a good entry-level dSLR and a few accessories for under a thousand dollars, and the web is filled with tips and tutorials for new photographers to take high-quality imagery. The outlay is a bit higher at first, but over time you’ll save money on stock photography.

You can get a good entry-level dSLR and a few accessories for under a thousand dollars, and the web is filled with tips and tutorials for new photographers to take high-quality imagery. The outlay is a bit higher at first, but over time you’ll save money on stock photography.

Commission New Images

If you need something more specific, like an infographic to explain your product, you can commission it. Sites like 99Designs will allow you to issue a brief, explain exactly what you want in an image, and allow any artist who wants to take a crack at it to submit a design for your image.

You can then work with those artists to tweak your design and even create lasting partnerships with them, ensuring that you’ll have a consistent brand style and viewpoint for all your imagery going forward.

Find Images Online

If you create a lot of content, you might not have time to take photos or commission new imagery every time you need to post something. Sometimes you just want to write something, add an image, and publish as soon as you can.

Fortunately, there are lots of really good websites to choose from where you can find high-quality, high-resolution images for free. They’re modern, thoughtful images too — not the corny stock photo style you might be familiar with.

There’s a list at the end of this blog post with some sites to check out, but keep browsing if you don’t find what you’re looking for — we’re just scratching the surface here.

How To Pick Photos

The imagery on your blog post is important — it both creates and emphasizes your brand. Maintaining a consistent brand with consistent messaging is vital to the success of your business, and the imagery you choose is as important to that as the text, if not more so — the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” wasn’t coined for nothing.

The moment someone sees your website or one of your posts, they’ll start to get a particular feeling about who you are, what you do, and what your businesses symbolizes. The images you choose will play a large part in what that feeling is.

The worst thing you can do is to fill your blog with the same boring stock photos as everyone else. White backgrounds, washed-out lighting, forced smiles, and impersonal situations aren’t attracting or convincing anyone.

Think of adjectives that describe your brand — clean, friendly, and simple? Dark and serious? Glamorous and colorful? The way you describe your brand should be the way you describe your visuals.

The Three Main Types Of Imagery

Running afoul of the law isn’t a hassle that anyone wants to deal with, so you’ll have to know which images you can use legally, and in what ways. To begin with, every photo belongs to the person who took it.

If you take an image yourself, you own that image by default — there’s a common misconception that you have to file a copyright claim, but that’s not the case. If you don’t own the picture, you’ll need to know who does.

Public Domain

Public domain images are images whose copyrights have expired, or whose creators have given up all rights to the work. They’re free for anyone to use for any personal or commercial purposes, with one exception: if the image contains a recognizable person, you might need their permission.

Some sites with public domain photos will already have taken care of release forms, so check the license agreement that comes with the photos.

Royalty Free

Royalty-free images are simply images that require a one-time fee to use. Once you pay that fee, you can use the image as much as you want, without paying additional licensing or royalty fees based on reach or duration. It also means you don’t have to offer attribution for the images you use.

Creative Commons

Photographers who use a Creative Commons license can specify the usage rights of their images. There are various levels of CC license, but the one we’re most concerned with is CC0. A CC0 license means that the owner of the photo has relinquished all rights to the photo — you can use it for any purposes, for any length of time, without attribution.

Creative Commons 0 (CC0) and Public Domain Sites

  • Pixabay - Over 1.5 million royalty free stock photos shared by content creators, all licensed under CC0
  • New Old Stock - Vintage photos from historical archives — mostly photos that are old enough that their original copyrights have lapsed.
  • Unsplash - Beautiful, high-quality photos gifted by photographers, with at least 10 photos added each day.
  • Foodie’s Feed - Gorgeous high-res photos of food, all free to use. You just can’t re-sell them.
  • Death to the Stock Photo - Free images for personal or commercial use, delivered monthly via email. Free to use as long as you don’t claim these photos as your own.
  • Magdeleine - One free photo every day, plus access to the catalog. Includes search filters to find images that are either public domain or require attribution.
  • Pexels - a searchable database of CC0 images.

These are all great resources, but they’re far from your only options. There are dozens more sites that offer CC0 imagery, so poke around!

Next Step

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