Where to Find Photos / Images for Your Online Articles / Posts

by AngelaJohnson

Pictures are important, whether online or in print. If you don't take your own photographs, you need to find photos you can legally use to illustrate your articles.

Just because a photo is on the internet doesn't mean you can use it to illustrate an article. Just like we own the copyright to what we write, unless a photo is placed into the public domain, it is copyrighted, too.

~~ About Public Domain Photos ~~

Anyone can use images in the public domain without asking permission from the photographer, although some creators require you give them photo credit.

The creator of the work is the one who usually places it into the public domain, although some works fall into the public domain for other reasons.

If you use a public domain photograph, you must not use it to violate any laws or Terms of Service, such as using pornographic or violent images. And you also can't show identifiable people in a negative or offensive way without their consent.

This Article is Divided into Two Parts

The first part of this article (6 modules) explains what public domain is and how to give credit (attribution) for images you use to illustrate your writing.  I've also provided you with several sites where you can find public domain photographs.

The seventh module goes into detail on how to put a photograph into a module on Wizzley, which is a similar process on many other websites.  This will benefit writers who are new to online writing, but also might provide a good review to others who have written online for a while.

Providing Attribution or Photo Credit

orange rosesI love to take photographs and many times decide to write an article about them.  If I use my own photographs, I don't have to provide photo credit, but I usually do.  That way I don't have to worry that someone else will claim they took the photo.  After all, if I took a photo of a rose, there must be hundreds more people who took a photo just like mine.  Besides, I like people to know I took my own photo.  To give myself credit, I just type "Photo taken by Burntchestnut" or "I took this photograph" at the end of the module.

There are many places you can find photographs in the public domain and you can use these photos freely.  

However, read the terms of service or copyright notices on each site. Some sites allow you to use photos without providing attribution.  On other sites, the photographer grants all rights or rights with restrictions (such as providing attribution or not allowing you to manipulate the photo).

HOW TO PROVIDE ATTRIBUTION ON WIZZLEY (the process will be similar on other sites)

When you find a photograph in the public domain, download it or do a 'right click" to copy it to your hard drive.  Make sure you're using the full image view and not just a thumbnail.

After you have your photograph, copy the url of the page into your module or into a separate text document.  I like to provide the photographer's name and where I found the photo.  

This photo of orange roses is by Karin Bazaz and I found the photo on Pixabay.

So I type:   Photo by Karin Bazaz on Pixabay.  I highlight and copy the url and then highlight the words I just typed, and scroll to the top of this module until I see the toolbar.  On the right part of the toolbar, click on the icon that has two small chains (for link).  When you click on this icon, a small window opens and you paste in your url and then type a description.  For my description I typed, "orange roses."  Click the "insert" button and you'll have a link (see below).

Photo by Karin Bazaz on Pixabay.

"Save" your module and then click on the link to make sure it works.  If you had pasted your url into your module rather than a separate text document, go back and delete it because you now have a working link (and save the module again).

This all may seem complicated, but once you do it a few times, it won't take long at all.

NOTE:  I really didn't have to provide attribution because photos on the Pixabay site don't require it.  I always give credit, though, because I'm thankful photographers are nice enough to let us use their work.  I also want to let readers know where I found my photograph.  If you aren't required to provide attribution, I still think it's a good idea to mention the site where the photo came from.

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What About Photographs Found in a Search on Google?

I typed in "types of roses" in Google and this came up on my screen

types of roses (search on Google)

Now these are all nice images, but none of them are copyright-free.  This is just a screenshot, but on Google, if I hovered over any of the images, I could see what site each of them came from.

The first image is from the website, "David Austin Roses." If I clicked on the thumb nail image, it would take me to the site and to a larger image. I could even do a 'right-click" to copy it, but I would be violating David Austin Rose's copyright to the image. 

It's much easier to go to a public domain site to find photographs, than to check images you find on searches on Google.

Using Photographs on Wikipedia

rose budWikipedia is an online encyclopedia:

Unless I'm writing about my own personal experiences, I like to use Wikipedia to find some basic information on my subject.

Wikipedia often uses photos and drawings to illustrate their articles.  Many of the images are in the public domain, but you must check.

I found this image on a page on Wikipedia when I keyed in "roses" in the search field

There were several images of roses along the right side of the page.  I saw a photo I wanted to use (this one), clicked on it and was taken to a new page with a larger view of the image. I scrolled down underneath the photo to make sure it was in the public domain;  it was (see screen shot below).

screen shot


You may not be able to read this screen shot very well, but the photo is in the public domain, but the copyright holder DOES require attribution. 

Photo of rose from Wikipedia Commons. 

Remember, though, all photos on Wikipedia are not in the public domain.  If there are copyrighted photos there, Wikipedia received permission to post them, but we don't have that same permission. 

Using Photographs on Pixabay

pink roses

The information below is from the Pixabay website

"Over 250,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations

Finding free images of high quality is a tedious task - due to copyright issues, attribution requirements, or simply the lack of quality. This inspired us to create Pixabay - a repository for stunning public domain pictures. Your source for free vectors, free drawings and free photos.

You can use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications."


When you find a photo on Pixabay you want to use, click on it and you'll be taken to a page where you can choose the size you want, and then download the photo.  

On Pixabay you do not have to provide attribution, but I always do.  ~~ Burntchestnut

Pixabay Frequently Asked Questions

Photo by Stefan Schweihofer on Pixabay


Using Photographs on Flickr

Not all photos on flickr are copyright-free

red roses

Just because a photo is on Flickr doesn't mean you can use it.  The people who post their photos on Flickr decide how they want to share them.

Flickr does have a creative commons option, which means these photos ARE available for others to use, although there may be some restrictions.

So rather than going directly to the Flickr home page, I go to Flickr Creative Commons. 

There are four types of creative commons licenses and you can read about them on the link above.  I don't crop or manipulate the photos I use and always give a credit link back to the photo.  That way, I don't have to look at each category under creative commons.

One stipulation some of the images have is a non-commercial use.  I don't feel using an image on a site like Wizzley or your own blog violates this rule.  I believe commercial use means using a specific image to illustrate a product you have for sale.


When you find a photo you like, click on it and a larger view will pop up into a new page. On the bottom right of the image are three symbols; a star, a right-arrow, and a down-arrow.  Click on the down-arrow.  When you do that, you'll see a pop-up window where you choose the size.  I always choose the medium size 640 x 444.  There is no need to put huge images on your pages and it might slow down loading time (which people hate).

Giving credit to the photographer - Flickr has LONG urls for their photos because they're put into photolists.  Look how long the url for the photo in this module is:


However, all you need is the part before "in/photolist..........."

So the url I use is https://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/6879112993/

Don't forget to save your module and check your link, though. You don't want to go to all the trouble to provide credit and find the link doesn't work.

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr Creative Commons.

Three More Copyright-Free Photo Sites

Always Read Each Site's "About" or "Copyright" Page Before Using Photographs


red rose

The information below each website is copied from their "about" page.

Freerange Stock 

"Freerange Stock was formed with the goal to provide quality stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use. For free. We feel that free stock photos can be good photos. Freerange is an advertising revenue supported photographic community - photographers get paid when users click on the ads that appear next to their submissions."


"Imagebase.net is a collection of photos, mostly taken by David Niblack, that can be freely used for personal, commercial, non-profit, artistic, or creative purposes."

Open Photo

"The Open Photo Project is a photo sharing platform created in 1998 by Michael Jastremski
Contributors have offered their images free of charge under terms of Creative Commons licensing.

License terms and conditions vary from image to image."


Photo credit: © Sarah Klockars-Clauser for openphoto.net

How to Add a Photo to an Article / Post

You can skip this part if you already know how to add photos. Scroll down and leave a comment if you like.

There are two ways to add images on Wizzley, but the method will be similar on other sites or blogs.

1.  You can add a photo in the Text Module.  Have your photos ready and on your hard drive where you can find them.  If you found the photo online, copy the the link to a text document so you can give photo credit if needed. 

DIRECTIONS:  In edit mode, look at the tool bar directly under your title and subtitle (see screen shot below).

screen shot of toolbar



Look toward the right and you'll see a small picture of a tree.  Left click on your curser where you want your image to be, then move your mouse to the tree image and left click.

You'll be taken to a window where you can insert your photo (see screen shot below).

yellow roses

screen shot






Once you get an image into your page, you can move it if you don't like its position.  Just click on the image, keep holding down the left key and move your mouse to where you want your image. Let go of the mouse and your photo will be in a new spot.  Photo of roses by Clyde Robinson on Flickr Creative Commons.


 2.  You can add a photo by using the Images Module.

screen shot image module

The Images module is to the right of the Text module in the module list.  The Images Module allows you to add different sized photographs, but no text except for the title.

You can choose to insert a full, half, quarter, or sixth page width photo.  And you can insert more than one photo into this module.  If you use the full page width, each photo will display one below the other.  If you use the smaller sizes, the photos will display side-by-side.

The large photo of rose buds below was inserted into the Images Module using full page width.  

Play around with this module when you are ready to begin a new page.  You can practice inserting photos, saving the modules, then clicking on "page view" at the upper right of the page to see how it looks.  As long as you don't click on "publish page," no one else will see your experimentation.

This all may sound complicated at first, but don't give up.  Soon, it'll be second-nature.  

Photo by Clyde Robinson on Flickr Creative Commons

I Used the "Images Module" and Full Page Width
yellow roses
yellow roses

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Updated: 10/06/2014, AngelaJohnson
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


AngelaJohnson on 09/18/2014

Thanks for mentioning the option of asking someone for permission to use their photos. Links between sites helps gain new visitors.

cazort on 09/16/2014

This seems like very basic info, but I see people violating these principles on a daily basis, so I think it's valuable that you've written about them, both raising awareness of the copyright and legality issues, as well as showing people where to find (and how to cite) genuinely free images.

Lastly, I want to point out that sometimes asking permission can be a great option. In some cases, I was able to obtain photos this way, and work out. For example, my page on Yunnan Province (an important tea-producing region) on RateTea shows a picture of an ancient tea forest. The picture was included, with permission, from a blogger who travels in that region. The blogger gets a little extra visibility from that, I get a great photo for RateTea, and I also think that the link to the blog adds value for my readers because it's a fantastic blog and probably very relevant to anyone reading the page about Yunnan province on my site.

So, in many cases, asking permission can often lead to linking up pages in ways that provide extra value for your readers!

sandyspider on 09/16/2014

Good advice on where to find photos to use.

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