How To Find Free Public Domain Photos or Pictures For Your Blog or Articles

Where do you get your pictures from?
Where do you get your pictures from? | Source

When it comes to online writing, it's a good assumption that to really grab someone's attention you need a really good photo or illustration. Sometimes first impressions really are important. In my experience with online writing, I have found that having a appropriate picture helps in quite a few ways. In addition to drawing the reader in with your title or topic, when you post an article on social media or other sites, often times one one your pictures becomes the thumbnail image for the entire article. So you have better choose something good! But how and where do you get public domain pictures, images, and clip art? There are actually quite a few sources that you can choose from.

First Things First.....

Are you writing a blog article about a vacation you recently took with the family? What about a recipe your made, or a project you just completed? The first thing you should consider is actually taking a picture yourself. This comes in handy if you are doing a How-To article, or if you are trying to encourage refers to try something that they may have difficulty completing without a visual image. It seems like everyone has a camera phone now a days, so why not just whip out your phone and take a shot. Literally. If you want a high resolution, very detailed image, then you may want to take out the old Kodak. An added benefit to taking your owns pictures is that you are guaranteed to have original content that no one ale has!

But I Just Want To Use Another Image!

Ok, since you have decided that you don't want to, or can't take your own photos, there are multiple resources that you can download images from. A quick google search will pull up a lot of options, but they usually tend to lead to paid stock photography sites. The whole point is to locate free images that you can use, not pay for them. Although I will admit there are a hand full of good stock image sites that have a monthly membership fee that you can utilize, but who wants to pay money for a writing hobby?

One of my favorite sites for locating images for use with online blog articles is MorgueFile. Although it has a bit or a morbid name, it has nothing to do with whet you would think. This site has a very straight forward search engine, with quite a bit of high resolution images for both private and commercial use. This site primarily has photos, but a few digitally created graphics and animations can be found as well. There is no registration required, but many of the people who post the photos for use request that you at least let them know where you are using it.

Another commonly used site is the Stock.Xchng. Another great site for actual photographs, you can sort by various file sizes, images sizes, and topic. There is a registration process, but it's simple and only take a few minutes. You can however dig around the site to make sure you can find a great photo before you go through the registration steps. If you are a world traveler, you will find many international images to keep you going.

If you are looking for more historical images, Wikimedia Commons and Flickr: The Commons would be a grew resource! Ranging on all sorts of topic, many historical institutions ahem contributed to these sites to present photos of all types and sizes. Most of them are in black and white, but if you are going for nostalgia, this might be the site for you. Some are available in high resolution, but lets face it, you may not want to be zooming in on historical photographs anyway since they may not be the greatest of quality.

Tips and Other Considerations

All of the sites mentioned have different policies about what you can use their images for. Because some are user uploaded, each individual image owner may place restrictions on what you can use their pictures for. It's rare to find someone that doesn't want their picture on your blog, but just be sure to read the fine print. You don't want a MDCA complaint filed against you.

In order to help your SEO results, be sure to rename your photos before you upload them. Be descriptive when it comes to the image name. Most of the sites will allow you to download images but have formats like "file0839043.jpg", which will do nothing for you with search results. "Man Wearing Cowboy Hat.jpg" however may earn you additional results.

Remember, HubPages has a few rules when it comes to images: No watermarks, and no grainy images. This means that thumbnails you find online probably won't work well for blog articles, and if you do find some of these stock photography sites that you don't want to pay to use, do not upload the sample photo with the sites name across it. Your article will get pulled shortly after you post it. Save yourself some time and just get an appropriate image to begin with.

Remember just because a picture is on Google Images, does not mean that it is in the public domain or that yo have permission to use it. Do not just poach images from google unless you get permission for the owner to post it!

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Comments 8 comments

SEO IT! profile image

SEO IT! 4 years ago from Tucson, AZ

Voted up and useful, especially regarding changing the names on photos and not using Google images with the assumption of legality. However, I have used "public domain images name of what I'm looking for" and found photos - though you still have to check the site to make sure it IS public domain.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

I'm a big fan of wikimedia commons. The creative commons site is also a great place to start looking for images.


mwilliams66 profile image

mwilliams66 4 years ago from Left Coast, USA

Thanks for posting RichardPac. This is a very helpful and informative hub.

Voted up and helpful.


RichardPac profile image

RichardPac 4 years ago from Sunny Florida! Author

Thank you! I realize it can be very frustrating finding appropriate pictures, so I figured I would spread the word!


bankscottage profile image

bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Very helpful hub. I like to include photos on my Hubs and early on became worried about copyright issues. I have used the free sites and also paid for a few images on fotolia.com. One advantage of fotolia.com, if you have a really great image, you may be able to earn money with it if you post it on fotolia.com.

I have been trying to take my own pictures. I am trying to find a compact, light weight camera to take with me just in case the right opportunity pops up. Any suggestions for a camera? I would like an expensive camera, but afraid I would forget it, lose it, or break it.


RichardPac profile image

RichardPac 4 years ago from Sunny Florida! Author

I pretty much use my cell phone camera for pictures on the go. The quality isn't very good when it comes to exposures or flash, but it gets the job done. My personal recommendation would be an older Kodak easy share camera. Check ebay for a cheap one. Remember Hub pages scales down the photos anyway, so you really don't need anything more than around 2 mega pixels. You can find the older camera for a steal online!


picdrome 4 years ago

Hi and thank you for the article!

I can also add http://www.picdrome.com, a growing Public Domain picture collection, free of copyright and licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication. All items are free to download for personal and commercial use, without restriction and are available in high definition. New photos are added on a daily basis.


RichardPac profile image

RichardPac 4 years ago from Sunny Florida! Author

Thank you I'll check out that site as well! :)

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