Sourcing great images for Pinterest

Continuing my love affair with Pinterest… we need to look at the images we are using in our blog posts and pages. The better the image, the more chance of a re-pins and conversations starting. But we also have to be aware that we could be infringing copyright, more on that later in this post.

Where can we find great images to add to our blog posts?

Graham Hunt recently recommended Photo Pin to me and I have to say, I love it :) You can choose an image via keyword, download the image and then copy and paste the html code to add to the bottom of the post (or the capttion area as you upload the image) to credit the photographer / image creator. It’s quick and easy and the images are creative commons licensed from sites including Flickr.

woman with boxesAndy Yeow recommended Clipdealer. Andy’s site has a mind-blowing slider and it needs some spectacular images. Clipdealer do perfect, blog sized images reasonably cheaply. I put £25 in an account before Christmas and now it’s March, and I use it almost weekly.

Yes, they are “stock” images but they are not common images. I struggle to get great transport images and Clipdealer has an excellent selection. They cater for with multiple other niches including the tough ones.

Ana Hoffman has an excellent article about where she sources her images – images in blog posts. She looks at sites as ICanHasCheezburger for funny images, a place where I would never thought to look. Go check her post out, from the flamingoes at the top to the child sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper, the images are relevant, funny, attributed and pinnable.

Barbara Saul loves Fotalia. Images are reasonably priced and there is a huge range. I understand it’s one of the few places where £25 can last what seems like forever :). The monthly background changes over at Birds on the Blog are chosen from Fotalia, and so far they have every single image that we have asked for.

Another two sites to keep an eye for images are AppSumo and Mighty Deals. At the moment Appsumo has a vector pack of 1,000 images on sale for $29. These images can be manipulated and they be used to create unique images as well as being used as-is.

And finally, I like to use for slightly more expensive images that are not found anywhere else. If you join them you get 10 free credits; an image sized for blog posts is one credit.

Copyright and Images You Find on the Web:

Before you start pinning you should take a look at Pinterest’s Pin Etiquette page at:

Pinterest stress the importance of providing proper credit for the images you use.

This means you must go to the original source of the image, rather than directly pinning from Google Images. If you are using Google Images to find your photos, click to view the original page and click the “X” at the top right corner of the image. That will bring you to the original web page and you can pin from there.

Pinterest google images



When an image is pinned through Google, if it’s not pinned from the source it will be attributed incorrectly. That doesn’t help anyone. At best it seems lazy and at it’s worst it could be copyright theft.

If you are an artist or creative you will understand the important of attributing the images you pin correctly. Make sure if you use Google for images that you click the “x” and pin directly from the website. It would be handy to know if the site actually owned the image or had attributed it, but it’s you who has to make the final decision. If in doubt, don’t pin it.

  • If you re-pin an image that has been sourced via Google Images you could also be breaching copyright.
  • When re-pinning look at the image source.
  • If you still love the image then go to the source of the image, and then make a judgement call whether you will be infringing copyright if you pin those images.

Love celebrities?

We all love a good celebrity pic, there’s something uplifting about seeing another person’s photo taken precisely at that moment they are at their peak or in some cases their worst. The chances are your celebrity was snapped by a professional photographer who was paid for that image. You could get in trouble if you post it. I say could here most carefully. At the moment magazines are generating a huge amount of traffic from the images pinned from their sites.

Pinterest hasn’t just become a significant source of referral traffic for retailers; it’s also becoming a top traffic driver for women’s lifestyle, home decor and cooking magazines, some of which are seeing bigger referral numbers from the image-collecting service than from major portals like Facebook and Yahoo.

Lauren Indvik, Mashable

At the moment it suits the magazines to have the images pinned, it keeps the advertisers happy. But, that could change – so be very, very careful with what you pin directly from magazines. If the advertisers find themselves on boards of competing products or don’t like something then they will yank the chain of the magazine, and we all know that money talks.

I refuse to take down my Sons of Anarchy board;)

If you have images that you are happy to be pinned, then you can watermark them or add your logo, you can read more about that and how botanical photographer Anita Hunt preserves the beauty and integrity of her images in the For Bloggers, By Bloggers Pinterest start up guide. Towards the end of the Pinterest guide you’ll see how to prevent pinning on your site. Yes, you can stop people from pinning your images directly from your site.

A quick Pinterest / images  recap…

  • Be careful where you get your images from, this applies to your blog as well as Pinterest
  • Attribute the images unless you own them, if they were my images I’d say that too.
  • Think carefully where you place the pins from magazines
  • Never pin directly from Google Images
  • Never re-pin if Google Images is the source
  • You can brand your images
  • You can prevent pinning directly from your site


PS I am investigating Pinerly if you want to schedule your pins, this is the dashboard to do it.

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Sarah Arrow

Blogging an issue for you? Social media not quite working how it should be?That's okay I understand. I started blogging back in 2006 and grew into a kick-ass blog coach as well as creator of Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), I'm frequently listed as both a top content marketing expert and as an influential marketer.
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  1. Hi Sarah,

    Another great Pinterest post – I think your series is wonderful, and very informative – thank you.

    Question: Have you looked at Facebook images? There are loads. I follow a number of groups with a constant flow of sharing images, and is often very hard to find the source…

    • Hi Anita, I personally would never pin a Facebook image that I didn’t own.
      People lift images from Google images and other places and upload them. The original creator doesn’t get credited and often has no idea that their image is being shared in this way until it’s too late.

      On a separate but related note, I wouldn’t want to send traffic back to Facebook – I would prefer to send it back to a site that I owned, that had my details and data capture etc in place and was under my control.

      I can see that it would be useful to pin FB fan page images, but personally I wouldn’t do it.

      • Oh yes, I know… just thought I would mention it as so many are sharing (like on Pinterest without accreditation), thought it may be an interesting discussion. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

        • Yes, so many share on FB without accreditation it’s a wonder they are not sued more for copyright violations. Sorry I misread you :)

  2. Thanks Sarah for this informative article. I just signed in with Pinterest and have not had time yet to see how pinning images works on our blog.
    Is there an article or explanations on how to use Pinterest? This would save me so much time so that I can use theis resource at the best as you so clearly explain.

  3. Hi, Sarah:

    First of all, your mention is MUCH appreciated.

    Also, saw the posts you mentioned to Patricia; I think I am going to check them out. So far I haven’t been willing to invest any real time on Pinterest; I’ll see if you can change my mind. lol

    Image attribution: something we definitely need to be careful with.

    Not only would I suggest to go to the source Google is getting the image from, but even to the source of the source, if given.

    Better safe than sorry.

    • Hi Ana, thanks for stopping by and sharing your wisdom.
      I don’t know if I have mentioned before but Pinterest is Do-Follow links :). A correctly categorised board with relevant pins is a powerful traffic driver plus it’s amazingly fast to set up.

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for sharing all these sources for finding pictures for our blogs, most of them are new to me and I will certainly check them whenever I need images for my blog posts. Most of the times I use Flickr or I create images by my self, or even take real photos that could be used on my blog. Most of the times bloggers forget that we could make our own pictures too, it’s just a matter of imagination…

    • Hi Kostas, thanks for stopping by. I agree we just need a little imagination and we can have our own, perfect images to use.

  5. Great information! I confess, a few of my “places I want to visit” images on Pinterest are from Google – and yes, it was just easier that way. I appreciate your insight and will dig in a little deeper from now on. Thanks!

    • Thanks Marty, Google image is such a treasure trove of pic delights, it can be very tempting to pin direct from there and not the source. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Having a picture is critical for blogs. By having a picture it will let the viewer to know what the blog is about. People will also want to share the blog post because of the picture’s attractiveness.

    • I agree totally Jacob, and they must have the correctly attributed images. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts

  7. Hi Sarah, Thanks so much for this valuable information. I know some people that had their pictures taken off because of the new standards. When I heard that, I started taking my own shots and also paid for some.
    I clicked on some of the above links and they are awesome!
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Thanks Donna, I can understand why people want images taken off. Glad you like the links, thanks for taking the time to comment.

  8. Who would have thought that there would be so much about this site that started out just being a place where people share things they like visually?

  9. Hi Sarah,
    I really appreciate the links and explanations you are providing in this very helpful post.

    The tip you give about going to the actual website of the photos we find on Google clarifies how to attribute a photo correctly.

    Thank you so much for this useful information!


    • Glad you found the post useful Yorinda :)
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  10. Thanks for all the information, Sarah. I generally either use my own images or Google images – you have opened my eyes to how this all works as well as providing some good alternatives.

    I have bookmarked your post to come back to next time I post!


    • Thanks Alan, glad to be useful :)

  11. Hi, Sarah! Thanks for the great post. I have a question about attributing the image correctly. If the image has the proper attribution on my blog my blog post, do I also need to be concerned on how I pin it? In other words, do I have to give proper attribution in the text of the pin itself, or just make sure it’s attributed correctly on my blog?

    • I’d put it in the pin if possible, but sometimes that’s always easy to do – especially if other people pin from your site, so I like to link to the source in the “caption” area of the image so it’s obvious very quickly where the image has come from. I hope that helps Steve.

  12. Hi Sarah. What a great post. I just finished a course on Pinterest, and I’m ready to go to town. I bookmarked this to my Graphics folder so I can refer back to it. I want to keep to the best practices on Pinterest, and using my own graphics is one way to do it. It’s also nice to know where to get quality graphics when I can’t find the perfect one in my own resources. Thanks for a great article.

    All the best,


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