Free Tools For Freelance Writers: Article, Website, And Blog Images

by Alicia Sparks on September 29, 2011

How fantastic is this camera? I mean, really.

Hi freelancer!

Welcome to Day 3 of the 7-Day Mini Course, “Free Tools for Freelance Writers: Save BIG While Starting Your Writing Business.”

Today’s focus is on free stock images – and I have seven freebies just for you!

Websites and blogs (especially blogs!) need images; you might even find yourself in need of images for articles you’ve written, such as an article you’d like publish using your HubPages.com account (see: last week’s lesson).

Yet, few beginning freelance writers (or established ones, for that matter) have the funds to pay for each image they use on their sites or within blog posts. Even monthly or annual membership fees to stock photography sites can add up.

This leaves a lot of writers asking, “How can I find free images for my blog?”

Plus, finding the perfect image (or even the nearly perfect image) on less-than-stellar stock photography sites can take forever if you’re not careful.

Fortunately, morgueFile.com exists. This site provides an abundance of free, high-resolution images for both private and commercial use. Of course, morgueFile has a license policy, but basically you can do anything with the photos but sell them or claim them as your own. Even attribution is unnecessary (though, crediting the photographer is just good manners).

Other sites that provide free stock images include:

Check The Terms And Conditions

Remember, you MUST read the terms and conditions for using free website images. With the exception of morgueFile.com, most sites (and photographers) want you to at least credit the image; others prefer both a credit and link back to their professional sites.

Some have preferences on HOW you can use the images (for example, whether or not you can crop them, use them on commercial sites, etc.).

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you the number of professional writers who think it’s okay to do a simple Google image search and use whatever picture strikes their fancy. (So many that once, a couple of years ago, the complete FUBAR’ing they caused sent an entire global blog network into a legal frenzy.

YOU DON’T OWN THOSE PICTURES. Using them without permission or any required attribution is the same as someone using your writing without asking or crediting you. Unless the websites or owners specifically state you do not have to credit the free blog images, DO IT. Do whatever the terms and conditions tell you to do.

Prepare Your Free Blog Images

Of course, once you have your images, you’ll need to resize them, crop them, and maybe even tweak the color, contrast, and sharpness (if you’re allowed, that is – and on the whole, you will be).

For those basic needs, BeFunky.com is your one-stop shop.

What Now?

Take a few minutes today to browse each of these free image sites. Type in keywords and look for images most related to what you normally write or blog about. Download a few of them, and then play with the settings over at Picnik.

Before you know it, you’ll never spend TOO MUCH TIME hunting for just the right picture again, which will leave you with lots more time to devote to the actual writing part of your freelance business!

Missed last week’s class? Head over to Free Tools For Freelance Writers: Creating An Online Presence.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate October 27, 2011 at 10:13 am

Thanks for this! It can be so difficult to find good quality photos.

BTW – There is also a section of Flickr offering open source images, the quality varies but it’s a good place to look for unusual or ‘arty’ images.

Alicia October 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

Thanks Kate! With Flickr, you can also used the advanced search to find photos that are listed as Creative Commons-licensed content, and even specify whether you need content you can adapt or build upon or use commercially. I use this option A LOT for my Celebrity Psychings writings with PsychCentral.com – Wikipedia helps some, too.

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