5 Tips for Using Images You Find Online and 3 Places to Find Free Images You Can Legally Use

sxc 2When you’re writing on the web, images are most definitely needed. A post without a visual aid is perceived as dry and boring. Most readers won’t bother to scroll down to the end.

So if you need images to go along with your blog posts or other online content, what is the proper (and legal) etiquette? And where can you find ones that are free and available for use?

Here are 5 tips for using images you find online:

  1. There are plenty of places online where you can find images that are free and available for use (three are included below). Stick to these or use your own images. Stealing isn’t cool (or legal!), even if it’s “only online.”
  2. If you use an image, give the proper credit. Most artists will provide you with the kind of credit they would like to receive, but it’s best to always include the artist’s name as well as a link to their website if possible.
  3. Don’t alter someone else’s images unless they indicate that it’s okay to do so.
  4. Google Image search is NOT a free-for-all of available pics. These are images that have appeared on websites around the internet and just because they pop up in the search doesn’t mean they’re free to use.
  5. If you don’t know where an image originally came from and don’t know who it belongs to, don’t use it.

Here are 3 websites where you can find free and available images to use:


sxcAs a user you gain access to hundreds of thousands of high-quality, hand-picked stock photos and graphics all free! Need a wallpaper for your desktop or an illustration for your blog? Want to spice up your commercial website design project? Looking for inspiration? You’ll find everything on SXC quickly and easily.

Note: When looking for images in the Advanced Search section, be sure to select “no” under “Restricted OK”.


everystockphotoEverystockphoto.com is a license-specific photo search engine. Currently we index and search millions of freely licensed photos, from many sources, and present them in an integrated search.

Note: everystockphoto is owned and operated by Vibrant Software, located in Vancouver, Canada.


Flickr searchFlickr makes it possible to post content hosted on Flickr to other web sites. However, pages on other web sites that display content hosted on flickr.com must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr. This provides a way to get more information about the content and the photographer.

Note: When looking for images in the Advanced Search section, be sure to click “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”.