How to Find Free Pictures for Your Blog

You’ve just written an award winning blog post about the life cycle of the green bean. Now, to find a great picture to accompany it! But what websites should you peruse? Which photos on those sites can you legally use? Here are a few I regularly use, plus one I stumbled upon just for this blog.

Google Images

Let’s start at the obvious. Google Images scours the Internet looking for anything related to your search terms (just make sure to have SafeSearch on), including many that may not have very much to do with what you are looking for. So, unless you’re able to narrow the terms down as much as possible, you may end up with more images than you’ll ever need in a lifetime.

Searching for “green beans” yields over six million hits, most of them delicious. Google Images asks if I want to narrow the search adding “fresh,” “growing,” or “Thanksgiving.” Since your piece is on the life cycle of the green bean, let’s add “plant.”

Whew, down to 1.8 million. Now, which of these can you use? Click on Advanced Search, then change the Usage Rights to say “labeled for commercial reuse.” Now we’re down to a more modest number of results, so go and find the picture that suits you best!


If you want to skip all the hubbub with figuring out which photos you can use (not to mention dodging all the more “adult” results), try the Stock Xchng, or Stock Photo Exchange. I have previously used this site for a personal blog. They usually seem to have that one perfect photo that fits the bill every time.

A “green beans” search yields 51 results. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a good photo of a green beans plant if you really want to use that, but there are several scrumptious looking photos of cooked and uncooked beans. Also, Stock.xchng also thought it appropriate to add pics of uncooked chicken and jelly beans. You know, just in case you don’t mind a liberal interpretation of the green bean theme.

FreeFoto claims to be the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet, so let’s give them a shot, shall we? Our search for “green beans” has brought 1228 results, but very few of these actually show green beans. Almost everything else is merely green or a field.

I circumvented the categories and found the garden section, but very no green beans plants to speak of. Even worse, I was forced to watch a 30 second ad while I waded through the site!

I would stick with the first two. A lot of other sites out there have some good quality imagery, but if you’re looking for free images, between Stock.xchng and Google Images you should find something to suit your needs. Just remember to obey all rules and never violate copyright law.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here:

5 Responses

  1. Like the headline, the photo that accompanies a blog post can encourage someone to click on it to read more (or not). Choose pictures that are colorful and in some way demonstrate the content of the post. It’s just important to be very careful not to use an image that you don’t have permission to use.

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  4. Valeria Trotta says:

    Hi, Interested in the Google Plus and +1 changes.

  5. picdrome says:

    Hi and thank you for the list!
    I can also add, a growing Public Domain picture collection, free of copyright and licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication. All items are free to download for personal and commercial use, without restriction and are available in high definition. New photos are added on a daily basis.

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