Finding the Images You Need

Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Because we are writers, we think of ourselves as word people. And that makes sense. After all, we communicate through the written word.

But there are times that a few well-chosen images can enhance our writing. This might be on your web site, your blog or even a brochure. A lot of writers are intimidated with this and either avoid using images altogether or go with ho hum images that came free with their word processor or other software.

I prefer to use photos either as simple photos or as photo badges. The image at right is a photo badge.

I used to take most of the photos that I used. I’m a so-so photographer and there were times that it was time consuming to get even a so-so image. I now have access to much higher quality photos now that I’ve learned to make use of photos with a Creative Commons License.

Creative Commons is a form of copyright that allows creators to append a copyright notice to their work. The notice tells you what rights are being offered. This array of rights can range from all rights to noncommercial no derivatives, meaning that you can use the photo as is in a non-commercial way. You can find out more about Creative Commons licensing at their web site.

When I want to use a photo, I look for an image with a CC0 license. This means that the work is “open use,” zero rights have been reserved. You can use it commercially or non-commercially in any way.

To find these kinds of images, search for CC0 photographs. Or visit one of these sites: Pexels, Unsplash, Skitterphoto, or Pixabay. There are other sites but these are the ones that I use most often. They are searchable although sometimes you have to get a little creative searching “blog,” “computers,” and “office” vs simply “office work.”

Take the time to seek them out and CC0 photos can provide the professional quality images that you need to enhance your writing. After all, words and images together pack a powerful punch.


Sue is the instructor for our course, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins on January 11, 2016.


Crystal Otto said...

Great tips Sue - thank you!

Suzanne Lilly said...

Thank you! It's always good to know where to find quality photos and how to use them within the copyright guidelines.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I took a Coursera course on the topic which is where I learned about CC copyright. The course is Copyright for Educators and Librarians. (see link below) It was very useful but WOW what a complex topic.

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