Blog Candy: Finding Quality Photos Reasonably Priced (or Free)

Flickrr Creative Commons photo from fabs15

And Learning How to Place the Artist’s Attribution in Your Article

One thing you will see in almost every article on increasing readership for your Blog is advice to include an eye catching photo that relates somewhat to the title. If you are creating a piece with a short tutorial, using an illustration or screen shot for the major steps will break the article up visually, and make it easier to scan.

Either way, buying professional photos on a daily basis can get expensive very quickly. But it is important to use only graphics that are licensed for this purpose. This means when you purchase a photo for your blog, some stock photo companies will charge a lower fee if you only are using a small resolution photo suitable for the web. This does not give you rights to use a larger photo and have it printed on your brochures. That can require a separately license fee.

One stock photo site that I have used in the past is Fotolia. For these images you have the choice of a subscription fee of $75 a month, which allows you to download 50 images a day, or  purchase credits from $1.30 each. Each web sized image costs from 2-6 credits each depending on the size you choose. So you can find a photo for as little as $2.60.

But Wait, What About Free Sources?

There are many sources for free photos and illustrations on the web. Here are links to 5 of them. Creative Commons licenses are set with different ranges of permissions for use.

From the site comes this explanation of them:

Attribution iconAttribution means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work – and derivative works based upon it – but only if they give you credit.

Noncommercial iconNoncommercial means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work – and derivative works based upon it – but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivative Works iconNo Derivative Worksmeans:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike iconShare Alike means:
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work. is a great resource for photography that can be used without standard licensing fees. As long as you search only in the Creative Commons area, you will be able to use photos in these different licensing categories for free. There are millions of photos that are available here. Many are amateurish, and the sheer number of choices can be mind-boggling and time wasting. But I have found appropriate photos with little effort for most of my recent articles. I’ll touch on how to place the attribution in your article at the end of this post.

Stock Exchange is another service which provides a service for uploading and sharing photos with your peers. The company is now owned by Getty Images, who is notorious for being heavy handed when it comes to protecting their premium priced stock photography. Premium results from Getty are shown mixed within the Stock Exchange results, so beware which you are using.

Yahoo images also maintains a search section with Creative Commons licensing. I haven’t used this before, but it seems to be fairly easy to use.

Google makes a creative commons search available, but it is NOT located within their standard search bar. Your photo search here needs to be done within the Advanced Image Search and you will likely get some of the same images from your search at Flickr. Might as well just go there in the first place.

PicScout is a newer image exchange service. You can use it to locate the artist of photos and graphic creations that you find on the web. By using PicScout you can ID images, connect to licensors, and find license type, pricing and image details. Although here it comes: PicScout is now owned by Getty Images. offers links to websites with their own search engines for photos and images from Flickr, Fotopedia, Open Clip Art Library, and Google Images.

If you Google “Free Stock Images” you will get a list of links, but my experience is that they have little to offer and are merely time wasters.


Now once you have selected a photo you will need to credit the artist, or give them an attribution. I usually rename the photo with the name of the artist and a description. To find the artists name on Flickr click on the photo. The link will take you to the artist’s photostream. In the top right hand corner there will be a link to this person’s Profile. This will list their full name.

When I upload the photo to my WordPress media library, I also add a the name and description to the Title and Alternative Text Area available there. What I will be doing from now on is adding a credit at the bottom of my article, listing the name of the artist again in a smaller font that is slightly different from that of my article.

How do you handle attributions for your Creative Commons photos? I’m curious what the standard practice is for this. Please let me know in the Comments section below. I’m always on the lookout for new sources too. So if you use something different for your blog photos, please let us know!


 And so here is a case where I wasn’t able to find the real name for the artist. So I thank Fabs15 for the use of the photo, and I will leave a link to it here: Fabs15 Photos on Flickr

About Denise Sonnenberg

Denise Sonnenberg is the Social Media Dot Connector, coaching you to Connect with Your Target Audience by developing your Social Media Marketing Strategy.

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