Images are Content. Where I Find Mine

Even as metaphors are worth a thousand pictures, images are worth a thousand words — at least a hundred. We are a visually active society, and we see images in our own culture, language, and context more than we are able to take words in.

Great communicators have always been able to use symbols to rally support and bring people together — fans, voters, tribes alike.

Over the years, many have noticed that the images to my posts are chosen with care to complement the message of the post.

My sources


Creative commons licensed photograph on Flickr are one of my favorite sources. I love photography and enjoy giving visibility to great photographers, like Michele Catania for these landscapes, for example. They are stunning visuals that complement presentations and inspirational topics.

To find image-attribution rules set by photographers, apply the search filter within Flickr.


Another site I use for high quality photography is iStockphoto. They have different price points and a variety of images, including illustrations. There are many other stock photography sites. 


If cost is an objection, you can sign up for Stock.xchng, a site where photographs are free to use when you sign up. The site has grown considerably and has a nice inventory. 

Balance intellect and emotion

Of course, there are also the photographs I take. They may not be the best, yet they are definitely safe to use since I know when and where it was taken and have the complete rights of authorship. I took this one above in Montreal.

I enjoy creative short decks with inspirational quotes that I can use as illustrations or leave behind from certain events. For example, see this deck I created at SxSW this past year. It requires a little bit more planning, as you will need to research photo groups from an event, and remember to jot down some memorable quotes.

Picture Sandbox

I like Picture Sandbox a lot. It's a smart image search engine. Above is the results of a search I ran for bicycle. You can filter the results by site when you select a tab. You need to pay attention to licenses for Flickr and some of the other sites are paid sites. However, it may save you a lot of time by centralizing your search.


Wiki Commons also has images you can browse by category, file size, and format. They have a sense of humor as well. 


Another site with good images also licensed with Creative Commons is


For personal, non-commercial use, you may also search the historic LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.


Although I am partial to photography, I have also found useful to use illustrations. This community, Vecteezy,  shares and rates vector free art (see licenses when you elect images).


Company logos, books covers, search screen shots, event badges and banners, Twitter screen grabs, Facebook wall threads, custom t-shirt compositions, quotes designed in PowerPoint, Keynote, Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop are also examples of images I have used to complement my blog posts.

I have made moderate use of infographics. The reason being that I like to tell the story myself and infographics, many of which are commercials for the companies that develop them, usually have already told the story. We'll talk about graphics, data, and charts in another post.

What do you use as sources? Do the photographers in this community open their shots to Creative Commons licenses? Why not, if that is the case? 

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0 responses to “Images are Content. Where I Find Mine”

  1. I love seeing images used in blog posts. I use an image to begin every post. I think that readers like to see what images I use and it has become part of my brand.

  2. Very helpful, Valeria.
    So much of the content I produce comes with it’s own images. The people I interview on Gearbox provide their own images (I ask them to share some of the favorite pictures), and when I write on my own project blog for my own cars, there’s a pretty good chance I’ve taken pictures while doing whatever it was I’m writing about.
    But when I start writing about conceptual things or whatever on my personal site, I find I often have a need for some images to complement the story. More often than not, I end up on Flickr CC, but now I have a couple other options to keep in mind! Thank you!

  3. Valeria,
    Great post and resource for anyone with a blog. I’m far from an expert blogger, but I’ve found that images can make a good post really great. Having a list of sources to find license/royalty free images is a gold mine.

  4. @J – thank you for stopping by.
    @Fred – if you are a frequent reader, you will know that I am quite picky for images to my posts. Sometimes it takes me longer to find the right graphic, than it does to write the post.
    @Brian – you would, of course. I would use my own photography more if I went more places and actually took photos. I do that on vacation in Europe, but I won’t see one of those for a while. Glad to have provided more options for you.
    @Brian – charts and quotes also make for great visuals. We’ll talk about those in another post.
    @Jeff – thank you for sharing from your private stash of resources. I wasn’t familiar with either service. Good to know.

  5. Thank you for the list of places to find images. I wasn’t aware that there were so many image sources. Yes, nothing worse than looking at a blog with long chunks of text and lacking even an anchor image for each blog post.
    You know I love images too! I take a number of my own. I have had readers share images via email that they thought would be a fit for my blog.
    Anyways, thank you for the helpful list of resources.

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