XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> The Art of Finding Amazing Pictures

The Art of Finding Amazing Pictures

Posted on 24. Dec, 2009 by .

Beautiful PicturePictures are an important part of our life. They are everywhere. When you go out there are pictures all over the place. They truly are all around us. Therefore they are certainly important in our life.

Pictures make you remember good times but also bad times. They capture the past and let you remember all the moments that made your life worth living. Imagine the world without images! It is impossible.

The importance of pictures can also be seen in the Internet. On every other web site you can see pictures, as bandwidth is not an issue anymore. And with digital cameras the burden of having to develop pictures has gone too. As a web site owner you might have asked yourself the question of where you can find pictures.

I hope to uncover this to you in this article: How to find good pictures on the Internet.

First we have to figure out where we can get pictures that we will be allowed to post on our web sites.

Where to Find Great Pictures

If you want to start up your browser and open Google to find pictures than you are not on the right track. The first problem with using Google is that you never know, with the pictures you found, whether you are allowed to use them on your web site or not. Secondly you don’t know whether the person who uploaded it, stole it from someone else. If that was the case you could be held accountable for uploading it to your web site even though you didn’t know about it.

Therefore don’t use Google to find images. It simply doesn’t work for our purposes.

Buying Pictures

One method to find good pictures is to buy them from stock image web sites. The images available on stock image web sites are of great quality. But buying a picture for every article will be quite expensive. As the average blogger cannot afford to buy a picture for every post, it is of no use for us.

But what if you want to find great pictures that don’t cost anything? Which web site could you possibly visit?

Free Pictures

Flickr is the first address I can recommend to find images for articles. Flickr offers pictures from professional photographers for you to download. This is one of the reasons why it has become so popular.

The next source I can recommend is stock.xchng. This is a web site which offers free images available for you to download. All you really need to do is sign up for it and you can start downloading pictures right away.

But be aware, in both cases there are some restrictions you need to know about.

Image Restrictions

If you want to add a picture to your web site you need the rights to be able to do that. You can’t just go on a web site and simply download an image and post it on your web site. That’s not how it works.

Flickr Licenses

In Flickr there are lots of different licenses. These licenses restrict what you can do with the picture you downloaded. Some of them can’t be put on a web site that contains advertisement. Other licenses won’t allow you to edit the picture in any way.

I personally use the Attribution license since you are allowed to do almost everything with the pictures. All you have to do is credit the author of the picture when using it, by linking to the author’s Flickr page. You can search for pictures with the Attribution license here.

The other Flickr licenses, in my opinion, restrict too much what you can do with the photo. If you want to read more about these licenses then go ahead and visit Skellie’s great article about finding and using amazing flickr images.


Stock.xchng’s licenses are similar to those of Flickr. Generally you can use the pictures for anything since they contain very few restrictions. But sometimes the author requires you to notify him or to give him credit by also linking to the author’s page.

Before downloading pictures please read about the standard restrictions of stock.xchng pictures. Also visit both web sites to see which works best for you.

What to Search For

The trouble with finding images is to know what to search for in order to find them. There are thousands of great pictures out there but what good is it, if you can’t find them. First of all let’s explore what you want to find.

There are several types of things you want to find as an image:

  • an object
  • a location
  • an emotion or feeling

You can of course add to this list but I feel that these are the most important ones.

Finding an object is rather easy. For example if you want a picture of an apple you might search for apple. If you want to find an apple that is used in a recipe or simply as food, then you should search for apple food.

Similar to objects are locations. They are also relatively easy to find. All you really need to do is to search for the specific location you are looking for.

You can also search for emotions or feelings. This is actually the very best way to find amazing pictures. Feelings describe a picture as a whole. If you search for a sad picture then the whole picture will convey a sad atmosphere. On the other hand when you search for an object then the object is usually just part of the picture. It doesn’t sum up the picture all together but it is just one element of the picture.

Pictures that stir a feeling in the viewer make the person that much more interested, not only at the images but also at your written words. If you can offer a great image then your visitors will look more closely at it and probably even remember it better.

If the picture conveys more than one emotion than this is great. It is even better if these emotions are almost opposite of each other. For example this picture conveys both sadness but also calmness.

Sad Woman

Photo made by Tiago Riberiro

This picture seems to be very simple. On the other hand it is very complex.

How to Find Great Pictures

Since we now know what we should search for, we can start using Flickr’s and stock.xchng’s search functions.

To find good picture through Flickr you might want to consider using the Attribution license search function. When you enter a keyword such a yellow flower it will return all the results.The results are sorted by “most relevant”. Generally though these pictures are not the best. In order to find better pictures you should click on “most interesting”. And just like that we found a beautiful picture of a yellow flower.

Photo made by doug88888

In stock.xchng it is similar. You can decide whether to use the date as a basis for a search. But of course there are other possibilities such as the number of downloads it has received. In this case, I recommend to use the number of downloads as a basis for finding good images.

Don’t Destroy It

Once you have found a great image that you could use on your web site be very careful with the editing. There are some pictures that you can edit without losing its feeling. But there are some which can be totally ruined through simple image editing.

I actually wanted to use another picture in this article as a way to show you what a great picture is, but then after trying to make it fit to the web site I realized that it lost all of its power.

Therefore always take a second look at the pictures you are including in your articles. You might even compare them to the original ones. If you think there is something wrong with a picture or it simply doesn’t work then go ahead and search for a new one. You now have the skills to do this.

Was this article useful for finding images? Do you now know where you can find the right pictures?

4 Responses to “The Art of Finding Amazing Pictures”

  1. Lees Shizzle

    22. Feb, 2010

    Very well put together here. I’ll be back once I wring out my sponge so I can soak up some more……

    Reply to this comment
    • jules

      22. Feb, 2010

      I hope so Lee ;) I am glad you like the article. Did you already know about Flickr and Sxc.hu?

      Reply to this comment
  2. ChickenFreak

    01. Mar, 2010

    Wikimedia Commons is another great source for free images – it’s where I’ve gotten almost every picture in my blog, except for the few that I took myself. The images often require attribution, but it’s generally no big deal to provide attribution and a link back to the page with the license.

    Reply to this comment
    • jules

      02. Mar, 2010

      Thanks. I’ve never actually thought about that. Seems like it’s a good opportunity to get some great pictures from there. Thanks for mentioning it.

      Reply to this comment

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