How do you find images for your blog articles?

By Grant Jacobs 04/05/2011

To my patient followers–do I have any left?–I’m sorry for lack of writing for the last long while.

My little cottage needed attention, still does. Work, as always, needs attention – still does, too.

Faced with all this my writing today is brief and off-the-cuff.


Once, when I had more time,* I made an effort to fill my articles with images to cheer them up, give (hopefully) interesting asides from the text.

It’s a lot of work, trying to find images that are appropriate in some way, and have no copyright issues.**

I used to scour far and wide. Well, at least spend far too long in google images.

Eventually I sort-of gave up, limiting my efforts to wikimedia (via wikipedia) and a few cartoons and whatnot I knew to not have copyright issues.

Chasing down the original sources, only to be faced with ‘that’ symbol again and again was too much effort.

How do others find copyright-free images for their blog articles?

I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Those with an essayist approach often forgo them entirely, or maybe just add one particularly relevant image.

Others write blog posts that are more collages with interspersed text. Not my style–to me the text is the body of what I want to offer–but those good at it do well. I guess it suits an ADHD approach to reading.

I like to scatter a few in to enliven the text, but it comes back to that copyright thing. (And time.)

So. Your thoughts?


* I’ll find time again when the current rush is over.

** Rather like writing science blogs are a lot of work.

Other articles in Code for Life:

Temperature-induced hearing loss

Homeopathy — practical remedies to address it?

Of use of the active voice by scientists

Immunisation, then and now

XMRV prompts media thought: ask for the ’state of play’

0 Responses to “How do you find images for your blog articles?”

  • I tend to forgo them as I find them distracting in posts I read and often not particularly relevant. But, in an effort to be helpful, the blogging plug-in Zemanta for Firefox will scan your blog text and recommend related articles and media to go with it.
    The media appears to be public domain/CC/Gnu public licence.

  • As they say above, google/flickr search for a cc-by licence. Or I use one of my own photos…

  • Thanks for the suggestions. Sorry I didn’t get back sooner.

    I’d take my own photos if it weren’t for that I don’t have a digital camera and my budget is focused on paying off the house!

    Bora, your comment reminds me that I originally wanted to try create my own images from scratch as a way to explore infographics, visualisation, and to play around with molecular graphics, etc. (That last one I can do readily as it’s part of my research background.) That’d probably triple the length of the time to make the articles though… art was originally “my thing” before science (as a young student), so I’d probably get massively side-tracked!!

  • Usually I take my own, sometimes ask permission of other photographers for their shots 🙂

    But I own a DSLR or 2…

  • sometimes ask permission of other photographers for their shots

    I’ve asked permission a few times for illustrations (not necessarily photographs). Aardman Productions let me use ‘The Wrong Trousers’ illustration for example. That said, my experience with this has been a bit hit and miss. For some articles the delays in hearing back from the authors spoil the spontaneity in writing the pieces. They’re blog posts after all. If they’re things I’m planning, it’s less of a bother to wait.

    But I own a DSLR or 2…

    As you might remember, my photo gear is an old film Nikon. I’d love to buy a DSLR—then I could get back to photography, which I loved—but it’s pretty hard to make it a budget priority at the moment. There’s also that I’m not sure if I’d have time to get good enough at it again to satisfy myself! The same time could be spent on writing or a dozen other things, too, particularly tramping.

  • Quick loose thought: one issue is that on flickr and elsewhere people have put up images of other’s under commons licences that are actually copyrighted by the original artist. If you’re being careful about it, you’re forced to not trust the copyright statement unless you can affirm that they person posting the image is the original artist.