I'm an experienced online content creator with several streams of passive income from my writing. I'm here to share my secrets.
How to Find Free, Legal Photos for Articles on HubPages and Other Sites
One of the most common stumbling blocks for new online writers is finding free, legal images and photos for their articles. HubPages, and its many Network Sites, have very strict standards for both the quality of the photos you can use and your legal status for using them.
This article will help you find legal, free images to use on the HubPages Network and across your other online articles. If you are a good writer who is struggling to get your Hubpages article featured due to problems with using copyrighted images, then you are in the right place.
My Favorite Source for Free Photos and Images
I have written hundreds of online articles and make substantial monthly income from my writing, but I couldn't do it if it were not for Pixabay.com. I actually worry sometimes that the site will change its policy or start charging money, but so far so good!
Working with free-to-use photos from Pixabay is easy and actually fun. I signed up for a free account, so I can immediately download whatever photo they have that fits my needs. They have millions of free photos that you search with keywords, just like a Google search, and as long as you are thoughtful about how you use keywords, you can almost always find at least something that fits.
Pixabay photos are also perfectly legal to use on HubPages even when you make money from your articles.
The quality of the free images on Pixabay is top-notch, too. These are professional photos, not someone's iPhone snapshots. A lot of them appear to be straight from a portfolio. Even if I don't find an exact match for my article topic or keywords, I have found that a closely related image works fine and makes my article look better.
Do You Have to Pay for Pixabay Photos?
In a nutshell: No, you don't have to! They do have an option to donate to the artists and photographers who put their work on the site, and I occasionally donate a few dollars to support the site and the photographers whose work makes it possible, but that's voluntary.
Pixabay also makes it an option to attribute the photographer, but like payment, that's up to you. If you do use one of their free photos for your HubPages article, I suggest that you do not make it an active link. HubPages does not much like outbound links, so minimizing them is always wise.
Pixabay.com Landing Page
Pixabay photos are perfectly legal to use for free on HubPages even when you make money from your articles.
Sample of Pixabay Search Returns for Keyword: Guitars
Another Option Similar to Pixabay: Unsplash
Unsplash.com is another site that many money-making HubPages writers use for their articles. Sometimes, when I don't find what I'm looking for on Pixabay, I will turn to Unsplash. It works almost exactly like Pixabay, only their search returns tend to include more distantly-related images. But I like Unsplash as a back-up plan, and there have been many times when I find a free image there that I can use for my article.
Unsplash Landing Page
Why Do High Quality Photos and Images Matter?
To answer this question, we really don't have to go much farther than this article that you're reading. I spent some time on Pixabay, looking for photos that would make this article look as good as possible. If you're looking for evidence that high quality, free images make your online content look better, it's right here.
Another Free Image Option: Wikimedia
Wikimedia.com is the image division of Wikipedia. It's a fine resource, but it's very limited. Few of the images on this site are professional quality; they are designed to illustrate and inform, and so the aesthetic quality of these images leaves something to be desired.
But there have been many times when I have needed a specific image, and found it nowhere but on Wikimedia.com. For my insect identification articles–which, by the way, make me a nice amount of passive income–this source is invaluable.
A Last Resort: Take Your Own Photos
I have focused here on professional-quality images that you can find online to use on your articles, but you can always take your own, if it will suit your purposes. For me, this has generally not turned out well. Unless you're a skilled photographer with experience and the right equipment and editing software, getting a photo to look good will be an uphill battle. And it really matters, because you are competing with pro-level content. If your article is great but your photos are janky, people will turn to your competition. Readers notice the quality of your images, and they need to be top-quality.
Remember, you are competing with pro-level content. If your article is great but your photos are janky, people will turn to your competition
I am a seasoned online content writer with over 15 years in the business. I make decent money from this side-hustle: last year I made about $20,000 from my combined libraries of online articles, and all of that income was passive (I made money 24 hours a day, whether I was writing or not). It's a sweet source of income that I use for travel and other luxuries.
When I first started writing online, it was really more for my own entertainment than anything else. I chose topics at random, ignored SEO, and thought I could do everything myself. As a result I made more or less every mistake a rookie online writer can make. But I learned from my mistakes, and I got better.
These articles are my way of sharing what I've learned with other online content creators. They are free for you to read and act on, if you choose. If there's anything I have left out or got wrong, feel free to comment down below. Good luck to you, and I hope you see your income streams become rushing rapids!