How to search free stock images using google drive

This post goes out to all of my fellow fecktv journos, working their butts off to bring the world, his dog and his goldfish called Sam the latest news accompanied with the prettiest free stock images. But please feel free to dive in, even if you're not yet amongst our elite ranks.

[caption id="attachment_29577" align="aligncenter" width="646"]Finding Google Drive in your Google Dashboard Google Drive in your Google Dashboard[/caption]

One of the biggest bug-bears we face as bloggers and journalists is finding free images to accompany our stories.

Whilst we like to put purty l'il pictures next to the news so you, dear Reader, can perhaps slap our stories on Pinterest, finding free stock images we can use without being hauled over the coals by an irate photographer can sometimes take as long as putting together the article itself.

Gone are the days when hot-linking to on-line images was good for SEO. Even though it may encourage a link back to site, with the devaluing of poor-quality links following several Google updates, that method is a no-no in today's SEO best practise handbook.

In a round about fashion, it's back to Google we turn if we're struggling with suitable pictures from the usual suspects.  Here's a quick how-to guide to using Google Drive to find free stock images.

Getting free stock images has never been simpler

Now don't get me wrong, if you're looking for a picture of David Cameron in a bath of baked beans, or anything equally specific, there's going to be little in the public domain. Even using Google's image search. More generic terms, however, will show usable search results.

As part of our FeckTV.com set up, we've all been required to create a FeckTV-specific GMail account. Accompanying this service will be Google's cloud service, Google Drive. It is by this means we access the free stock images.

Click into your drive (details how to find Drive from your Google Dashboard in the above image).   Below the subsequent ribbon, in the top left of your screen, you'll see a big "create" button. Press this once and a drop-down menu will issue forth; click 'Document'.

A page should open up that looks a little like MS Word, entitled Untitled document. Directly beneath that title, there will be a row of options - click the 'Insert' command.

Bear with me, this may sound long-winded, but it really isn't. From the choices proffered from yet another drop-down menu, click 'Image...'.

In the current layout, right at the bottom of this list is 'Search' - it is this we're going to use to find our free stock images. Click the Search and it should open up the following choices:

[caption id="attachment_29581" align="aligncenter" width="646"]Google Drive with free stock images search Google Drive with free stock images search[/caption]

Across the centre of the box, you are offered 'Google' (which is your usual Google web search if you click the Images tab), 'Life' and 'Stock Images', the latter as ringed in the above screen clip.

The search box will change to have the word 'STOCK' next to it with a filter arrow. You can use the arrow to change the search medium to either of the other two searches if the free images search yields nothing.

Simply enter your generic search term in the search box and click the magnifying glass. That will bring up a display of images with the legend: "Results shown are labeled for commercial reuse with modification. Learn more" beneath the search box.

Click on the image you'd like to use (a thick blue border will surround it) then press 'Select'. Your free stock image will then be inserted into your document.

You can then name the document (optional), which will save automatically in Google Drive. You'll now want to get that onto your hard drive.  Beneath your new title is the 'File' button; click it.

Run your cursor down the subsequent menu to 'Download as', where a choice of downloadable options will pop out to the right. I use Microsoft Word (.docx), but select [your choice] and simply save it to your hard drive.

From there, you can manipulate your saved image to the 646 x 422 image format suitable with our display on FeckTV.com and ta-dah! You're done.

It sounds long-winded but you'll soon get to grips with the process. Moreover, you'll know that any results are free stock images you can use safely, without the threat of legal action from a pissed off copyright owner.

Yes, yes, you can thank me in the comments or send me beer tokens in the post, later...

Have Your Say:

  • Have you got any quicker ways of finding totally safe free stock images?

  • What do you think of the new Clause 68 Vince Cable is trying to introduce, to allow all UK journos to use any image posted online outside the UK under one free license?