Free images for your content

This summer, I’ve been helping my daughters Ariana and Daniela (and my intern Tian Hai) to learn how to create a website. I found it funny that the first question that each of them had was, “How do I find images that I can use on my website?”

Before I answered,  I felt the need to discuss copyright and creative commons.  I wanted them to understand that you can’t just take an image from another person’s website and use it.  I carefully explained that they either had to pay for images or find images that could be used or modified even for commercial use.

After they had “the lecture” then I showed them the three sites that I primarily use for creating graphics.  I told them about istockphoto and shutterstock for photo images and icons.  For creating powerpoint slides, I have an account with  However, of course, my children were interested in knowing how to find images for free since I wasn’t going to pay for images on their practice websites.

So I showed them how they can use pictures that we took and upload those to use on their websites.  We took the pictures of some art work the girls did and posted that up.

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 7.37.36 PM

Finally, I explained that when I am creating a project if I can’t find what I need, sometimes I’ll look online for free images that allow use on commercial sites. The first place I go is to google images. In fact, I never can remember the link, so I just google “images advanced search” and click the link.
That should take you to a page that allows you to put in the keywords you are looking for, but MOST importantly, it also allows you to choose the “usage rights”…and I always pick “free to use, share, or modify, even commercially.”  Since my girls want to publish a book next year and the plan is to eventually use their websites to sell their books, I told them to always choose that option.

Ariana picked an image for a story she wrote and it was from someone who had allowed the use from Flickr–but one of the requirements is that he get credit for the photo. It took some convincing, but I finally assured Ariana that adding the his photo credit wasn’t going to “ruin the post”.   When I explained that she wouldn’t want someone stealing one of her stories, she finally got and happily added the photo credit at the end.  I was happy she finally understood.


Coincidently, QDT (Macmillan’s Quick and Dirty Tips) website was recently updated. They were asking the hosts to upload images and provided us a list of places where we could find free photos.  I then wrote back with some additional sites.  I thought I’d share the list here, since so many people are in the same position.

Be sure to check out the last one on the list: .  It’s a cool little site that let’s you play around with quotes and make them graphically appealing. I’ve never seen a site like this one.  The graphic to the left is one I just created in about 30 seconds! How great is that?

Here’s the full list of places to get free images for you content:
(Let me know in the comments if you’ve got another site)

Stock.XCHNG (

StockVault ( (

Flickr/Creative Commons

DotGovWatch Photo Search


Free Digital Photos


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Copyright Lisa B. Marshall ©2012-2016. All Rights Reserved. Photo of Lisa B. Marshall by Joan Ford Photography.