How to Find Free Images For Your Site

How to Find Free Images For Your Site

Adding images to your blog posts is a quick way to make your content more appealing to your readers. If you are a keen photographer then you might be able to draw on your own image library, but in most cases you will need to look elsewhere for a suitable image.

Obviously doing a Google Image search and then ‘borrowing’ a related image isn’t an option for anyone who has any regard for copyright issues or is trying to build a professional reputation. Alternately, purchasing a stock image from somewhere like iStock, isn’t financially viable for most bloggers. With photos often starting at more than $20 each, these costs can quickly add up when you are blogging on a regular basis.

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Creative Commons Image Plugins for WordPress

However there is a middle ground and Creative Commons images are a good compromise. You might not find as many high quality images as you would at a professional stock image library, but the sheer number of options and lack of pricing can help outweigh this benefit. These images still come with conditions for usage, which in most cases involves a clear attribution of the author and a link back to their profile, although this isn’t always the case.

If you want to use royalty free Creative Commons images, it is worth reading up on the different types of licenses that apply to this type of image. Thankfully most of these Creative Commons plugins handle the referencing of the image for you, allowing you to search and select the right image for your site.

Compfight Plugin

The Compfight service is the one I usually use to source Creative Commons images for my sites, so I was pleased to see this free plugin available. Once installed, you can begin inserting images into your posts without going to the main Compfight website and using it to search Flickr.

Image Compfight

The process for finding an image couldn’t be simpler, just enter a keyword into the search box and then select from the results. When selecting an image you can choose from three sizes: S, M or L, and then the image is inserted directly into your post, complete with an attribution link. The images aren’t added to your media library and are just linked to from your posts. When a user clicks on an image on your site, they are taken to the page for that image on Flickr, although you could edit the HTML to remove the link.

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Flickr – Pick a Picture

Flickr is a great source of creative commons images that you are free to use on your site, providing in most cases, you credit the author in your post. However, jumping back and forth between your WordPress post and Flickr can really disrupt your workflow, not to mention ensuring you are correctly crediting the owner of the image.

Images Flickr

That is where the Flickr – Pick a Picture plugin comes into play. By installing this free plugin you can search for images directly from within your site for quick insertion into your posts. The plugin also handles the attribution to the original Flickr author to keep your compliant with the CC Attribution License.

Once you’ve found a suitable image, you can still use the image editing features of WordPress to crop, rotate and resize images as usual.

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Picture Finder

This is another plugin that allows you to search Flickr from inside your site for Creative Commons images that you are free to use. The plugin adds a button that features the symbol of a trident to your post editor menu, from where you can search for images.

Image Picture Finder

This plugin does add the image to your media library which means it will be hosted on your site. This is beneficial in cases where the original image is no longer available as you will still have a copy. The image is also attributed to the owner automatically by the Picture Finder plugin. During the selection and insertion process, the image can be set as a featured image for the post, which is handy as it removes a few steps out of the work flow for setting a featured image.

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Pixabay Images

This plugin allows you to search over 80,000 CC0 public domain images and then use them on your site. For this type of image, attribution and a link back to the author is not required, and they can be used for commercial purposes.

Image Pixabay

To use the plugin, click on the ‘Add Media’ button as if adding an image in the usual way, but then click on the ‘Search Pixabay’ menu item. You can then search for an image and choose to filter the results by type, using such options as clipart or photo.  Once you’ve made a selection, the image is uploaded into your WordPress media library to ensure you have a copy held on your server, before being inserted into your post. When inserting an image, you can choose to resize it using the WordPress image tools and add a caption and description, although the plugin does pre-populate some of these fields for you.

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Free Stock Photos Foter

This plugin lets you search the Foter image repository for Creative Commons images which can be inserted straight into your posts.  At the time of writing, Foter can be used to search through 228,873,191 free stock photos, so there should be something there for your latest post.

Images Foter

Once you’ve found an image, it can be resized to match your requirements as well giving you the option to download the images or simply link to it from your site. Attribution information is automatically taken care of by the plugin, saving you a job.

Images Foter Search

It’s a pretty basic plugin, but it’s a good choice for giving you an additional option for sourcing images to illustrate your written content.

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Photo Dropper

This is one of the most popular plugins of its type for WordPress and its one that gives you access to over 253 million free and premium photos, directly from your site. The free images are available via the Creative Commons license so make sure you carry out the required attribution where necessary.

Image Photo Dropper

Once installed, a new button is added to your post editor and then you can quickly search and insert images from the vast number of options. You do have to sign up with the Photo Dropper service to use the image search but this is free.

While many others have had success using this plugin judging by the user ratings, on my test site, the image search box did not display properly, rendering Photo Dropper unusable.

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Conclusion

With so many sources for finding images for use on your site for free, it might a good idea to install more than one of these plugins to maximise the number of images available to you. Flickr is a great source and the Compfight plugin is a very simple way to find and use images from that service.

If you find it difficult to track down the right image for free, then a service like the photodune envato marketplace is a very affordable way to find high quality royalty free stock photography.

Where do you get the images for your site from?