Unless you exclusively blog using your own photography, when a blogger chooses which images to post on their blog the decision can be… political. Lately I’ve been more and more interested in learning more about copyright for photographers, and how bloggers can help make life better for other creative types by being intentional about which images they circulate to their audience.

what's this all about?

The basic argument (as I understand it) is this: when you choose to post images that come in tact with their original sources, the chances go up that the artist who produced the image will benefit. When you choose to post images that aren’t associated with a source, you’re sending that image out to an exponential number of people who will have no chance of fall in love with the artist’s work and support them in creating more of it.

There are more nuances than that, but at it’s core that’s the kind of math that I can get behind.

The only problem is that while there’s lots written there about how to cite images properly, how to use an SOS image and why crediting sources is important there isn’t a lot out there about how everyday bloggers like you & I can reliably find images that come with their to use on our blogs. Since I’ve been making a big effort to only use images that I can trace back to original sources I wanted to share some of the sources I’ve been loving.

nifty alternative image sources

Pinterest Users You Love

Pinterest is steeping in inspiring images, and against all odds it somehow hasn’t been totally flooded with images orphaned by tumblr reblogs in the same way We Heart It has been. The best way to make sure an image that you’ve found is tied to its creator is to take a moment to view where the pin came from. You can do this by clicking through from browsing to view the pin on its own, and then seeing if where it was found.

image: nature boy by lizzie stewart on pinterest via Sarah Peracchino

Pinterest can be a little touch and go when image origin is what you’re focusing on, but it’s a great way to search through a high volume of images at once that have a better than average chance of being credited to their creators. And as with any online experience, a good thing to remember is that what you see all depends on who you follow. :)

Flickr Photos Resized with HTML To Fit Your Blog

I’m a perfectionist, and it really bothers me when I can’t display a photo to fit my blog properly. I love using Flickr to find great images, but when downloading is disabled you can’t re-size the images to fit the width of your content column! The horror… the horror… There are some great tools out there that let you search for unique and interesting Flickr content (compfight is my favourite) but if you can’t use the images you find without having your blog look lopsided, they become a lot less useful.

The easy solution is to roll your sleeves up and resize that image yourself! When you grab the embedding code, choose an image size that’s larger than your content column. Then look for the height and width controls in the code:

embedding code from First Snow by Terra Kate

If you change the height and width numbers you’ll be reducing the height and width of the image that displays. You need to do this in a way that maintains the proportion so the image doesn’t change shape, and a quick way to do this is by using an online proportion calculator. If you enter the image’s dimensions into the left side of the calculator, and enter your content column’s maximum width into the right side the calculator will tell you the correct height number to enter. Just remember to round up :)

It’s as easy as that- just make sure to paste it into the HTML section of your post editor, then flip back to see your results. There are a lot of great tools for finding out the maximum width of your content column, but a simple way is to great a square of colour that’s 500 px, 550 px or 600 px (etc) wide and loading it into an old post to see how it looks. Once you’ve found your perfect fit you’re set!

[Edit: Kaelah Bee left a great tip in the comments– if you only complete the width field your image will automatically adjust. Technology! Apparently it’s not just for playing Oregon Trail anymore.]

Etsy Treasuries

It’s almost always safe to use an image that’s advertising something for sale, and just because the photographs on Etsy are selling something doesn’t mean that they don’t have their own moods and styles! Etsy is a great source of incredibly styled vignettes, as well as amazing illustration.

vintage bumblebee skirt, three georges tumblers & 1950s metal picnic basket from Hello Yellow Treasury

I love etsy not just because of the quantity of images but also because of the amazing community around treasuries. Treasuries allow etsy users to create themed galleries of products (like I do in my Friday Finds posts), but they also allow the curators to tag their collections with words like “hope” and “autumn trends” which makes it easier to search for an image that fits a mood or an idea. Even better? Users who create treasuries want them to be beautiful so when you search them you’re already sifting through the best of the best product photos.


This is just a start, but it could be a good resource for other bloggers who want to do better with their photo choices but aren’t sure where to start. I’d love to hear what some of your tips and tricks are for sourcing images too.

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