Ask An Ambassador: So You Need A Picture?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

Once upon a time I believed a blog post with good content shouldn't need to have a picture.  Why do you need "irrelevant" eye candy when it's information you're after?  There's a peek inside the inner mechanisms of an engineer!!

But thanks to some guidance from my peers here in the Rain, I learned that SOME people won't even try and read a post without one picture in it.  So I adapted and frankly finding the RIGHT picture can sometimes be more challenging than the actual writing of the post!

But as Debe and Jeff and others have recently covered, ActiveRain is standardizing the look of the front page and if you want to have ANY chance of being Featured, you'd best attach a Featured Image to your post.  Now the attaching part is easy, click, browse, attach.

But where does that photo come from?  In a perfect world, it's one you've taken yourself. With the quality of most smartphone cameras, you don't need a 20 pound bag of camera gear and lenses to be ready to take a picture you can use later.

But that world and my picture inventory isn't always perfect, so I've got to go to other sources.  And before you go, "I just find what I need on the Internet and use it!", that MIGHT be the thing to do, but with conditions.

Some of those pictures you find with a general Google search come with restrictions.  Copyright protected, they're for sale if you buy them, maybe they come from the Getty catalog and those attorneys are just praying some idjit improperly uses their picture so they can send a demand letter for some serious $$$ for the offense.

So what are you looking for?  Picture sites that allow COMMERCIAL use (and the vast majority of us here are trying to generate business with our blog) of pictures.  There are sites you can purchase photos from (e.g. Shutterstock), but there are plenty of sites with ample photo inventory that allow commercial use either with or without attribution.  Basically you're looking for "creative commons" that allow the use of the photo and adhere to the terms of use regarding attribution, modificiation, etc.

My personal go to site is  No attribution required and I can usually find a picture that will work for me.  For today's post a search for "camera" and there were plenty of choices for me, all cool for commercial use and no attribution required.  Time to bring up site, search and download my choice?  Maybe 2 mintues.

But maybe you want other choices?
Caveat:  check the sites for latest terms and conditions to verify commercial use is still allowed. aware of attribution requirements for some photos)

You now have easy access to 1000s and 1000s of photos you can use to spiff up your blog post.

Got another favorite site for photos?  Please share in the comments section!

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Ginger Harper 02/10/2021 09:45 AM
ActiveRain Community
Ask An Ambassador
photos for your blog

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Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Same as Thom Abbott, iClipart is an annual fee and you can use all you want - commercial or not. Lots of great photos, clipart and gifs.

Great information here, Liz and Bill Spear! I'm always shocked to see people who have been blogging for quite some time, stealing pics, graphics (and even infographics). 

I'm loving the new front page format - glad the developers are making progress with the site. 

Feb 09, 2021 09:01 PM #4
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for the education about photos, Bill, and for the suggestions on where to find them if you aren’t using your own, especially for newer bloggers.

Whether required (for a feature) or not, I’ve always felt photos add so much to a post. I prefer using my own, but Pixabay has been a winning site for me, too!


Feb 09, 2021 10:14 PM #5
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome


To be safe...I enjoy using my own photos and making my own graphics. Lenn Harley encouraged that way back in the early days of AR.

Feb 09, 2021 11:37 PM #6
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

Great resource for photos thanks!

Feb 10, 2021 05:19 AM #7
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I like to use my own photos, but sometimes also have used with the filter set to available to use commercially with no restrictions. But I'm going to check out pixabay now!

Feb 10, 2021 05:59 AM #8
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Great tips and yes, I am one of those who enjoys a little eye candy with my posts.

Feb 10, 2021 09:40 AM #9
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Great idea on where to get those truly free photos.

I just had YouTube try & whack me for copyright on some pics that I purchased. Sent along my permission slip & everything became ok.

Feb 10, 2021 12:27 PM #10
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Thanks for sharing the information. 

Feb 10, 2021 06:37 PM #11
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Pixabay here I come!  Certainly Lenn Harley scared and educated lots of us! Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 You are not alone! 

Feb 10, 2021 07:29 PM #12
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Blog posts without images look copy and pasted  incomplete. A sea of words bland like straight lumpy porridge that lacks taste. Pour in some imagery seasoning. Help retention of what the blog post is about in the skim to see is this worthwhile or a waste of time to actually read read read.

The images from your community enhance the copy you hunt and peck. When the size of the image is not too big, not too small and just right. If it is featherweight light and loads like lightning. If the images are alt tagged and SEF named correctly. Then the pretty images do way more than just break up the paragraphs text along with the <H 2-3-4> headings.

Your images saved from a blog post on Pinterest, etc are what drive where you end of landing high or low on a search Liz and Bill Spear.

maine farm photo

Feb 11, 2021 04:01 AM #13
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Liz and Bill Spear - my personal choice is  I have a subscription with them.

Feb 11, 2021 05:55 AM #14
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Front photo is eye catching. There are people who remember what you posted thinking it is interesting and give you a call. One local broker says you crack me up on some of those posts. 

Sam Shueh

Feb 11, 2021 07:30 AM #15
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Thank you,Thank you, Thank you, for this information.  I have been lost wondering where to find photos.

Feb 11, 2021 08:32 AM #16
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Bill, Great ideas for the use of pictures in your posts. I do like to take my own photos especially when doing market reports 

Feb 11, 2021 08:42 AM #17
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I've been using Pixabay for awhile now and I'm very happy with it. I don't think I've ever not been able to find what I need there.

Feb 11, 2021 11:24 AM #18
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hey Bill this is great information.  I was looking for a new source as I just don't get out and take a lot of photos latley and my other source dried up. I am going to give Pixabay a run!  thanks again!

Feb 11, 2021 04:30 PM #19
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

That would be a way to do it and I say it’s probably the best way! Love and light and all the best as per usual!

Feb 11, 2021 09:03 PM #20
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker I don’t think anybody’s any different in that regard in the quarantine times. Hang in there, Mrs. Banana. :)

Feb 11, 2021 09:04 PM #21
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

A proper photo sells the post but knowing how to get one and stay out of trouble is the most important part

Feb 14, 2021 05:11 AM #22
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I'm super fortunate that I bought paper "clip art" a million years ago with a license to use commercially (I was building print ads for other people at the time) and I have now scanned tons of them and use them.  I have pretty much stayed away from most on line sources with a couple of exceptions. I no longer use, but have used mexapixil for $25 a month.  No contract.

Feb 22, 2021 10:27 AM #23
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RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
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