One of the things I enjoy about blogging besides the writing itself and commenting, is the hunt for an image that illustrates the gist of the post. Finding that one picture can be so fun and making your post to be just right.
What added value can the right image mean for your post?
An image that draws the attention of the reader can make people click or even share your post. In no way shape or form you are obliged to use pictures when blogging. When your message is clear and people want to read it, they’ll read it anyway.
On the other hand, when you decide to promote your posts on social media, the right picture can make a difference. It can open the door, pave the way for your words to be read. I have one post that I’ve pinned and the picture draws in a few readers every day. It doesn’t do a lot for me in terms of comments but it’s good for the views, if that is something that is important or exciting to you.
Can you use every picture that you come across?
In the beginning I typed up a word, like ‘depression’ and Google gave me a lot of options in terms of images. I scrolled and scrolled, clicked and looked just to bump into the rights that can be placed on an image. You can’t use everything that your eyes like. Not to be disappointed every time, I learned to choose from images that were royalty free. Free for use. What you need to be cautious of, is if attribution is required. When it is, I recommend to do so. Usually when attribution is not required but recommended it will be clearly stated on the site. When it’s personal artwork from somebody who is sharing it, it’s nice to attribute. But the final decision is up to you.
What rights can you stumble upon while scrolling for pictures?
CC or Creative Commons, which means you can use the image. But as you see in the second picture below, you can’t always use it commercially (NC). When you have a blog that brings in money, you can’t use that picture. When you have a personal blog, go ahead.
Credits (BY). It states that you must credit the source. How to do this is usually explained on the website. Some sites are fine when you place the credits at the bottom of your post, others would prefer to see it as close as possible to the picture itself.
ND or No Derivatives. The image needs to be used as you’ve found it. That means that you can’t make alterations unless this is explicitly stated in the rights.
SA or Share Alike. Adapted material can only be published under the original or with a specific licence.
Now, where do I find my illustrations?
Here are some of my most used websites by me to find royalty free images. Feel free to check them out but please don’t forget to return to this post as looking for pictures is a big rabbit whole you may not come back from, ever.
On Flicr you’ll find beautiful pictures, illustrations and really bad sketches or drawings of people. Everyone can upload everything. By searching for something quite innocent you can see images pop-up from a more sexual nature. If you’re looking for pics for your blog I wouldn’t recommend using those ones. In terms of licenses you can filter for CC. You can find gems on Flicr but it can take you some time.
On Pixabay you can look for images, photo’s or illustrations or for those three at the same time. You’ll get decent results. It is a large database and ‘adult’ content can be filtered out, if you’re not looking for that. It took me a while to see the positives on the site because there is so much to choose from that it can feel very generic. Once you get the hang of it, it’s great. Bonus is that you can find a lot of images that are free to use also for commercial use.
My first go to when I need an image is CleanPNG. All images are free to use. They have a decent variety and you can look for drawings, sketches and watercolor paintings. Did I mention that I like to use paintings and drawings? Well, now you know for sure.
4. Other useful sites to find free pictures.
- Freepik. Attribution is mostly required and they tell you where and how to do that.
- Creative Commons. Do I need to say more?
You’ve found some nice images and now what?
I used to download nice, royalty free images and store them on my hard drive. That was all fun and games ‘till I needed a specific picture to embellish my post with. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, …. Got it! And now I needed to see where that picture came from to be able to give credit. After a while I started to pin my images in a board that I’ve made on Pinterest. Now I go searching for a picture, click through to the website and find the correct address to credit. I’ll share my board with you as it is a method that really works well for me.
Where do you find your images for your blog? Do you crop them before using them? Do you have a way of organizing your images? Share your wisdom with the world in the comments, your insights may be very helpful to new bloggers (and for me too!).
Further reads, credits, resources and notes.
If you want to now more about the different licencing schemes, wikimedia explains them all here: The Creative Commons Licensing Scheme.