A Quick Guide to Using Free High-Quality Photographs on Your Site
Displaying professional, high-resolution images across your posts, pages, and headers can elevate the look of your site. But what if you need a specific photo — an adorable pup portrait at the park, for instance — but don’t have one of your own? With the new Free Photo Library, you have access to over 40,000 free images, thanks to Pexels, a library of stock photos. Learn how to make the most of this new feature in your Media Library.
Find a featured image for your latest post
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Here’s the scenario: you’re finalizing the new destination guide to New York City on your travel website. You’ve got tons of daytime shots from your last trip, but don’t have a striking nighttime image of Manhattan for your featured image.
In the Free Photo Library, you can choose from thousands of free images that are available under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. In other words, they don’t require attribution, so you don’t need to display a photographer credit.
When creating a post, click on Add, then select Free photo library:
In the field at the top, enter keywords for the type of image you want (“New York City,” “Manhattan”). You can also try general terms (“city,” “night,” “street”) to widen your results, or get more specific (“Brooklyn Bridge,” “Statue of Liberty”) to narrow your search.
Select and insert an image, and that’s it! If you’d like to make additional edits, click on the image and then the pencil icon (Edit), update fields like the Caption, Alt text, and Description, or scroll down to view the image’s dimensions.
Choose a full-width photograph for your header area
Many themes support custom images in the main header area or on individual pages. An image in your header should be memorable and representative of your work or site’s theme — a photo of a vintage typewriter or an open notebook may be fitting for the site of a novelist, for example. Abstract images also work well in a header — if you’re a crime and mystery writer, a moody bokeh image can effectively set the tone.
To display an image in your header, first add the photo to your Media Library (My Site(s) → Media), click the down-facing arrow at the top left next to the image icon, then select Free photo library from the dropdown menu. After you’ve copied the photo to your library, go to My Site(s) → Customize → Header Image, click Add New Image, select the photo, and crop if necessary.
Now, with so many choices at your fingertips, you can update your header image regularly to refresh the look of your site in a snap. You can also enable the Randomize uploaded headers setting so your readers will see a different image on each visit.
Revisit your theme’s support page to check the ideal image dimensions for elements like featured images, headers, your site logo, and more. If you know these optimal sizes, you can adjust an image if needed, right in your Media Library or with another editing tool like PicMonkey, Canva, or Pixlr.
Learn more about the Free Photo Library. It’s also available on the WordPress app, so be sure to update to the latest version (9.9).
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