authentic photo

How to Source Authentic Photos for Your Articles for Free

If you’ve ever been tasked to source pictures for an article, you know it’s no easy feat. Pictures these days have to feel authentic to stand out, and stock photography just doesn’t cut it anymore. Clients expect the world from you, and you have no idea where to begin once Google fails to deliver. But don’t worry, because this handy guide will set you on the right track to source high-quality authentic photos at no cost!

Iconosquare / Webstagram

source authentic photos

These two sites are possibly the best source for free quality pictures if you’re in the service sector. The sites are basically search engines for Instagram and you can search hashtags and even usernames. Webstagram has a very useful location function that will let you search for photos at a specific location.

While most people in my experience have been fine with me using their Instagram photos as long as I credited my sources, it’s safer to shoot them an email asking for permission first.

Creative Commons


Quite possibly the saviour of freelance writers across the world, Creative Commons is a great way to source some royalty free photos. While fitting photos may be far and few in between at times, it’s nothing a little extra time searching shouldn’t fix.

Flickr / Photobucket

source authentic photos

These sites may have been the go-to answer a couple of years ago. But it seems like plenty of us have forgotten about them. They are great sources for quality images from professional or even really good casual photographers. The photos are also available in different sizes so you can pick what suits your needs best. Just don’t get distracted by the cute cat photos or you’ll be lost for hours.

Pinterest / Tumblr

source authentic photos

Pinterest and Tumblr are definitely some of the most overlooked sources for good photos, especially for commercial products. They are both based around communities that value authenticity, and visual representations on both of these platforms are really strong. 


source authentic photos

Back when I was doing plenty of lifestyle writing, I often found that some of the best photos I could find weren’t on a company’s website, but on their Facebook page. Go figure!

General Tips

1. Use photography terms

A good tip to getting some good search results is to throw in some photography terms. It’s not unusual for photographers to tag their photos with terms like low light, depth of field or wide lens. These photos tend to be better and you can specify an image that has a certain style if you know what to look for.

2. Take them yourself

source authentic photos

Sometimes the best way to get things done is to do it yourself. If you find yourself constantly searching for photos, it might serve you well to just take a basic photography course and taking pictures yourself.

You won’t need a professional camera either, mobile phone cameras have come a long way, and with some editing, your photos can look just as good! There are plenty of videos you can check out online for tips, but start with this one:

3. Use Gifs

source authentic photos

When all else fails, see it as an opportunity to inject a sense of humor in the article instead. Gifs are a great way to diversify your visuals, entertain your readers and keep things light. There’s a great site for them here.

Picture this!

Now you have the swankiest tools and slyest tricks to really push your article to the next level and deliver the quality your clients deserve! For more resources like this article, check out our page, or follow us on Facebook!

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