PR Toolkit: Find Free Visuals with Compfight

How to find free visuals for your blog or website

By Callie Gisler
The Hoffman Agency, Portland-Vancouver

Whether it’s hunting down feature images for a blog post or finding visuals to add to social media posts, finding quality images online that are both free and available for use can be a challenge. Stock images can get expensive (and cheesy) very quick, especially if you don’t have access to a subscription. At the same time, pulling random images from Google can leave you in a heap of legal trouble.

Flickr is one of my favorite sources for images. But to save time and find the images that suit my needs? Let me introduce you to Compfight.


Compfight is a Flickr search tool that lets you locate images licensed under Creative Commons licensing, which means the creator has granted permission for his or her image to be used with proper credit. Before we go any further, I’d recommend familiarizing yourself with the different types of Creative Common license agreements, which are available here.

To start your search, enter in a keyword associated with the topic you’re looking for. For example, you might be looking for a visual to go along with a post on pet ownership. Keywords like “pets,” “puppy” or “hamster” are all great ideas. Stick to one word, otherwise the engine can get finicky.


When you’re searching, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you select “Creative Commons” under licensing on the sidebar to sort images accordingly. This option will only show Flickr images labeled with a Creative Commons license. Of course, it’s always safe to click through to the image on Flickr to verify. Second, make sure to look for images below the dotted line — highlighted in red above. Images above that line are often associated with paid stock photo ads.

Once you’ve found an image that works, it’s smart to view and confirm the license agreement. Then you can download, save and insert the image where you need it! Finally, remember to provide proper credit to the source. If you’re uploading the image to a blog post or website, Compfight automatically generates an HTML code that you can copy and paste to provide attribution.

Do you have a resource for blog and social media visuals? Share it with us in a comment!

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