One of the things I love about blogging is selecting just the right image for each post.

There are plenty available from commercial sites, at a premium price, but as a newbie hobby blogger, I need to keep costs to a minimum.

Pixabay is a fantastic source of royalty-free images, photos, vector graphics and illustrations which are segmented by category, orientation and even principal colour – great when seeking an image on a white background. You can leave the photographer a message and even buy them a cup of coffee with a donation via a PayPal if you really value their work.

Another way to access Pixabay is via Creative Commons, which also acts as a portal to other sources such as Flickr, Google images and Wikimedia Commons.

I’ve also found a few free images that fit my theme at MorgueFile which, despite its name, has some inspirational pictures, although many are intended for purchase.

As my blog has expanded, my go-to source for purchased images is StockFresh where images cost from 1 to 2 credits depending on size, and 5 credits are just $4.99 – the price comes down the more credits you buy.

You can also set up an account at commercial sites such as BigStock which allow you to download a certain number of free images over a trial period. Check their terms and conditions, as they will often charge your credit card a certain number of days before the free trial ends.

Whether using a free or paid resource, it’s vital to check the individual license for each image before you download to ensure it’s available for your intended purpose.

Just to be certain, I only select those I can use for ‘commercial purposes’ and which I’m allowed ‘to modify, adapt or build upon’. I also record a copy of each license and URL in a spreadsheet with a thumbnail of the original. This provides a reassuring record when the image is deleted from your original source (as seems to happen quite regularly) or the site disappears altogether.

Just as I value the copyright in my own written material (you are free to copy my posts but please link back to my blog) I aim to credit all the images with a link back to the photographer. Copyright for the images I use always remains with the original creator and, without their generosity, my blog would remain a visually boring space rather than one that looks welcoming and gets your taste buds tingling.

To learn how to take drool-worthy pictures and become insta-famous don’t forget to check our Photo Booth course.