Beginner Blogger Q and A: Find Free Blog Images and Photos

Beginner Blogger Tips for Choosing Photos for Your Blog PostsThe beginner blogger question and answer series continues with a question I receive frequently about where I get the photos I use in my blog posts.  Photos are so important in a blog post because they help to visually draw your readers in, and they help to support the “story” you’re posting about on your blog.

What’s the phrase?  “A picture’s worth a thousand words?”  Well as a beginner blogger myself, I didn’t want my pictures to be worth a thousand bucks. 🙂  So I went on the search for ways to find great photos that wouldn’t break the bank.

The right images will really make a difference for your readers aside from breaking up your text and helping you to tell your story.  They can enhance your personal brand as well as boost your blog seo!

Beginner Blogger Branding Tip: Choose Photos that will Enhance Your Personal Brand

My blog is branded toward helping other WAHM and mompreneurs who are building a home based business, so I choose a lot of photos that have images of moms and kids.  Emotionally, I believe that they help to connect me to my reader and to bring up the “relationship” hot buttons that my readers and I share.

Knowing what how you are branding yourself is a critical step for every beginner blogger. If you have a blog that is more technical, sassy, or professional, look for images that are going to flow with and enhance your personal brand.

Beginner Blogger Sources for Free and Budget Photos for Your Blog Posts:

  1. PowerPoint: My first (and favorite) place to look for free blog photos is from the clip art that comes with my Power Point program.  I love this resource because it’s free and many of the photos are elegant and beautiful! Sometimes I will combine the photos with text, sometimes I will alter them into black and white instead of colors if the colors of the photos will clash with my blog.
  2. iStockPhoto: My second favorite place to look for royalty free images and photos is from the website  These photos are not free but if you search the istock photo dollar bin, you will be able to search their least expensive photos, which is a helpful thing for a beginner blogger on a budget!
  3. Picnik: If I find a good photo, but it needs to be tweaked or edited, I will use a free photo editor called picnik.  This is also a great resource for when you need to shrink the size of a photo, retouch it, etc. (Tip: I use this for profile images and blog headers to re-size my photos to the correct dimensions so they don’t get distorted.)

Other Photo Tips for the Beginner Blogger:

  • Use images to enhance your brand
  • Make sure your own photo is on your blog or in your signature of your blog posts
  • Make sure your own photo is included in the comments you leave on other blogs as well as your own. (You can do this by setting up an account at
  • Aside from branding, look for photographs that will look good on your blog and compliment your color scheme
  • Look for photos that will tell a story or evoke a feeling in your reader
  • Recolor free stock images if the image is great but it will clash with your blog
  • Use photos to evoke curiosity for your blog reader
  • Use photos to enhance your on page blog SEO by adding an ALT tag that includes your keyword to every photo you use in your blog post
  • If you want to use photos in your related searches, install the link within widget

I hope you’ll let me know what other beginner blogger questions you have in the back of your mind so I can help you find the answers and solutions to them in this q and a series!  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this post and if you’re using photos on your bog where you are finding them.

I would also be very grateful if you shared this post in social media to help me reach others who are in the beginner blogger stage on their blogging journey!


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  1. That is a good tip that photos are too much important in blogging.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Basam,

      Photos can be the thing that helps someone find your blog, it can help you brand yourself, and it breaks up your text and makes your blog interesting. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment,

  2. Hi Heather
    Thanks for sharing! As I was reading this post I was implementing some of the strategies at the same time!

    I love the way you use photos and video in your blog. They just add a different dimension to the blog.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Way to be an action taker, Sharon! Keep it up!

      I think using photos and video really makes a blog more interesting and video especially, helps your readers to get to know you better. I’m so glad I overcame my fear of video because it’s been a big factor in helping my blog to grow!

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hi Heather,

    I wish I would read these posts when I was a beginner blogger 😉 Excellent stuff.

    I like your tip about selecting or tailoring photos to fit in with your brand. The act of customizing the user experience helps to create a stronger connection with your readers. And yes, a gravatar is a must if you plan to be a successful entrepreneur. People connect with people and a smiling grin connected with a kind comment can be the first step in building a strong connection.

    I’m a Flickr Creative Commons guy myself. Plenty of vivid imagery there and since most of my photos carry a humorous theme I never run out of pics.

    Evoking curiosity is a powerful tip. I like to cause my readers to think “Now what is this about?”, when clicking on one my posts. Many will proceed to read the article.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Heather.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks Ryan!

      I’m having fun with this series, but as I sad to someone in my previous post, it’s been so helpful to see things trough beginner eyes from some of the participants in my blog challenge. I guess I’ve taken for granted the things I’ve had to “learn” through experience and I am getting good feedback now that I’m sharing them. I hope the questions keep coming and the series continues indefinitely.

      I’ll check out flickr creative commons again. I tried it a while back and struggled to find the right image, but a lot of people have great luck with it, and to be honest, I haven’t given it a fair try. I’ll have to give it a second glance. I’m glad you shared it here so my readers can benefit from your knowledge as well!

      Thanks for adding value to the community! I really appreciate you, Ryan!


  4. @Heather you are absolutely right.

  5. Hi Heather,

    I have admired your photos on your blog and appreciate your discussion here as to how you choose them. Sometimes when it comes to making selections, it can be a tough decision and appreciate your sharing your tips and views on this topic.

    Thanks again.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks for the feedback Nelly!

      I agree…for me the hardest part is choosing between all the fantastic photos, which one I’ll use! 🙂


  6. Heather,

    These are all great tips! I really like the tip of keeping the photos in line with your personal brand. That is something that I’ve always tried to do that because the photos can be a great way to show people what my blog is about.

    Like Ryan I use the Creative Commons photos in my posts. There are is a wide range of photos to choose from. You can find fun, humorous, inspirational, etc. Skelliewag has a great guide to using the CC photos properly.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks for the tip on using the creative commons photos, Stacy. Your photos are always beautiful and tell a great story.

      I totally think that the photos should ‘fit’ the blog writer’s personality and personal brand. Otherwise, it would send confusing messages to the readers.

      Thanks for the comment and the tip!

  7. Hi Heather,

    wow, great stuff. I have to admit that I am little bit of a sucker when it comes to using photos in my posts. That’s why I am really grateful that you are sharing your advice. Having a closer look at Powerpoint is a brillant and yet simple idea to start with.

    You are a master in capturing people’s attention by the photos you use, I love them too.

    Take care


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Oliver,

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the compliment on the photos. I choose the ones I like and hope that they’re going to speak to my audience like they do me. Since I’d fit perfectly into my target market, I figure I can’t be too far off…hopefully. 🙂


  8. Hey Heather, visiting from Hector’s blog! I use Flickr as my first place to go to find images (images can be used through their Creative Commons license). When you search for an image, think outside the box a bit on what type of image you are looking for and and you may have more luck finding good images. For instance, I was looking for an image signifying “confusion” so I thought of other words/phrases not normally thought about to help find a good picture like “mixed up, upside down, standing traffic, etc.” 🙂

    Another tip is to click on the “Interesting” tab as you sometimes get some really good stuff in that category (the initial search brings back “Relevant” images)!

    Lastly, I always link the picture to the Flickr page I got it from and leave a comment for the author to let them know I’ve used it and where…it’s just good, common courtesy I believe…

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks for the feedback Kesha. Looks like I need to take a second glance at flickr again! 🙂 I look forward to checking out the interesting tab. What a fun/great tip you shared!

      I totally agree that we should link to the photographer to give them credit and let them know we used their photo.

      Thanks for the suggestions on other words and phrases. Thinking outside the box will definitely come up with some fun new photos for sure!

      Glad you stopped by and added your 2 cents! 🙂 Thank you so much!


  9. Amy says:

    I’m glad you expounded on the whole picture thing. I must look into my PowerPoint program with more intensity.

    You are one incredible lady. Thanks for this post.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      You too, Amy…simply incredible! Keep up the awesome work!

  10. I’m glad I’m not alone with iStockPhoto, I have been using it since I started blogging. As you have said photos tell a story and I always use it emphasize something. 🙂

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Walter!

      I think they have a great selection and I’ve enjoyed using them. Thanks for the vote of confidence, although I just checked out flicker and it’s got a lot of choices. I did have to look through a lot more images to find what I wanted though, compared to what I’m used to. 🙂

      Have a great day!

  11. I definitely can say we have entirely different image sources we use, Heather. 🙂


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Ana,

      I would have guessed that by the great differences in our selections…the hairy back today with the #8 shaved in it, was one of a kind! 🙂 I really, truly laughed out loud today when I saw that!!!

      Looking forward to your picture post!


  12. Hey Heather,

    Awesome topic to cover. And I especially love the point that photos should fit your brand, and be appropriate for your target market…

    I haven’t really thought about it consciously, but I tend to look for humorous or visually impactual images which add something to the overall aesthetics of the post.

    Great to know where you find images, I use a few of my own and look through the image search online. Also love the step by step video sharing the way you look through and how you think about what you’re choosing for your posts…

    Thanks, so much value in this post! Glad you chose the wee kid for the picture!

    All the best,


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Jym,

      Thanks for your comment. I am glad you liked the video and the post. Your photo of the kids sharing melted my heart and left a lasting memory for me of your post. 🙂

      I think your photos are great and I agree that we should look for things that add value to the content or make the post aesthetically more attractive. Great point!

      Have an awesome weekend!


  13. Heather – I completely agree with you when stated images will make a difference for your readers. Not only can images help you tell your story, but they also add more of a welcoming appeal to your posts.

    I have used both Picnik and iStockPhoto before but I have never heard of PowerPoint until now, but I will check it out. Thanks for the tips.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi John,

      Glad I could teach you something today, with the power point tip! I like your choice of words…potos “add more of a welcoming appeal to your post.”

      That paints a nice picture in and of itself!


  14. Hey Heather,

    Great tips you’re sharing here as usual. I love your pictures, you always pick the best and relevant ones 🙂 And they go nicely with your brand.

    I also use istock, but I have never thought of PowerPoint – thanks for that!

    I love this series – keep them coming!

    All the best,

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Mavis,

      I chose power point because I was on such a tight budget when I first got started blogging. 🙂 Necessity is the mother of invention, right?

      Thanks for the comment!

  15. Hi Heather, thanks so much for pointing out power point… phew that was almost a tongue twister. I never thought of that before. I use IStock too the Dollar bin of course… it can get pretty expensive blogging if you use the ‘regular’ files. I appreciate your suggestions very much. ProveIt2011 has turned out to be such an awesome ‘learning experience’ too.. I so appreciate all the great advice from the goup. Thanks so much. BTW I am so impressed with your sudden array of videos. You do a fantastic job! ~Jayne~

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Jayne,

      Thanks for noticing. 2011 is my year to focus on videos and guest blogging. I’m doing ok so far with the videos, but I need to focus more on the guest blogging part of my goal.

      I think networking with other bloggers, like the prove it challenge allows, is one of the best ways to immerse ourselves into a massive educational experience! We can’t help but to be better together, because we’re learning from each other.

      Amazing, isn’t it?


  16. Hey Heather…
    I have a big question… do any of you use life google or bing images? That is where I am getting mine… so new is that a good place… and what about the $1,000 thing you said Heather in the beginning of this post… can I be fined $1,000 or something… I know there are certain images that are like stock images but is it a NO NO to use their images? And if so why do they have them there for us to use?
    Thanks for all this great help… you ROCK!

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Oh, don’t worry, Christina.

      I’m sorry the $1,000 comment threw you. I just didn’t want to spend big bucks on stock photography because I couldn’t afford it.

      Technically, if you’re just taking images off of Google you could anger the photographer. Images are copywrited like our blog content is. But the other side to the coin is, that if you use a photo and give credit to the photographer with a link, they’ll probably be grateful for the exposure and the back link.

      I personally would rather use a royalty free image or buy an inexpensive image, than use an image from the web…but in some cases it cannot be avoided. (The post I did with the children’s book But Not The Hippopotamus is an example of that.)

      I’m pleased to be able to help!

  17. Free pics in Power Point, who knew, not I 🙂

    Thanks Heather for the tip.

    My primary source for pictures is iStockPhoto or BigStockPhoto.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Peter,

      I’ve not checked out big stock photo…but I will have to do that! 🙂


  18. Hey Heather, great video and thanks for the tips.

    I take a lot of my own photos but I also use the site

    On their home page if you click on a photo, underneath it says ‘view image license’, this tells you exactly how you can use the photo. Not all photos are free but you can easily find out which ones are.

    Hope that helps 🙂

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thank you, Liz, for the tip and the link. I’ll have to try that out for one of my next posts!

      I appreciate you sharing and adding value here!!


  19. Bryan Salek says:


    I read this post because I realized earlier tonight i needed photos for my posts. I’ve noticed the images on others’ blogs but never really gave them much thought. The clinched for me is that your blog is completely set apart from all the others i read on my Pulse news reader on my iPad. If the iPad was capable of screenshots, I’d send you one. Anyway, Pulse gives me all the posts from a blog in a row that i can scroll left and right through and all my blogs on individual rows that i can scroll up and down through. When I look at my favorite blogs page, all the others have just a title and excerpt, but yours have a bright captivating picture and the title. This makes your content stick out wonderfully and attracts my attention there first.

    Love your site,

  20. you have provided a good source for images that is my requirement.

  21. Hi Heather,

    I agree on the importance of photos when people first decide if they’re going to read your page. Along with Flikr, Wikimedia is another good one for Creative Commons pictures. Both of these require an attribution link though.


  22. Alvin Jr says:

    I do personally believe that photos can help make some interest. A pure word can be stressful. So its really important to add photos to your blog and even video if you like.

  23. Harieth says:

    i agree…pictures can attract peoples interest! great post i like the strategies!


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