Book Blogging Tips

How To Use WordPress To Get Free Photos

How much time do you spend searching for images to give your blog post more of a wow factor? If all you want to use is a book cover image, that’s easy enough. But if you want something more generic that:

  • has impact,
  • isn’t ubiquitous,
  • is free and
  • doesn’t have copyright restrictions

you can easily spend an hour sifting through photo library sites like and

It’s only recently I discovered that WordPress also has a photo library containing thousands of images, and they’re all free to WordPress users. It’s also easy to use but of course you first need to know where to find it.

How To Use WordPress Photo Library

You can access the library in two ways. This is the method I prefer.

  1. Navigate to My Site → Site → Media.
  2. Click on the drop down arrow alongside the button for media library source button in the top-left corner.
  3. Select “Pexels free photos” from the 3 options.

4. Now do your search using the search box at the top of the screen. As an example, I searched using the term “reading”. As you type, the screen below the search box will fill with options.

5. Initially, the screen will show the possible images in small size but if you use the slide tool in the upper right corner, you can change the view.

This is how my first screen looked.

I found it difficult to really see the images clearly so I used the slide bar to change the view. By moving it to the mid way point I could see 6 images per row instead of 12.

Although it does mean you have to do more vertical scrolling to see all the options, I find it easier to work in this view.

If I wanted to see the images even more clearly, by moving the slider bar to the far right, I end up with just 3 images per row.

6. Now all you have to do is select the image you want (you can select more than one at a time). Your selected image will show with a small red dot in the bottom right corner.

7. Click on the “Copy to Library” text top left of your screen. Your chosen image/images are now in your media library, ready to add to your post in the usual way. You can edit the image here – changing the size, adding a title to make it easier to find, and an alt-tag.

How to Use The WordPress Image

8. When I’m ready to add the image to my post, I just select a new Image Block, click in “Select Image”

9. From the drop down menu I choose “Image Library”, and select the image I just added.

When the image appears on your page, you may notice that the caption has been pre-filled with the photo credit. One less thing for you to worry about.

Photo by Pixabay on

10 The alternative method is to access the WordPress image library while you are writing your content and building your blog post. You just “insert image” and from the drop down menu choose “Pexels Free Photos” as shown at step 10 in the graphic above. Then you just search that library, select the image in the same way.

I prefer having my images already chosen before I begin designing the page but both methods will get you to the same results. Just choose what works for you.

A Good Solution?

The catalogue is extensive though some of the images available are a bit on the cheesy side. But so are many of those you’ll find in other libraries.

You do need to think carefully about the search terms you use. The more general your search term is, the more results will be returned but many of them could be irrelevant. Again, that’s no really any different to what you’ll find in other photo libraries.

Of course the best images will be ones you create yourself since there’s no risk you’ll find another blogger using the exact same picture. But if you don’t have great photography or design skills, this is a good option.

This post is part of my A2Zofblogging series. Don’t forget to check out the other articles listed in the series page.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

31 thoughts on “How To Use WordPress To Get Free Photos

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  • Thanks for this very helpful article. I usually don’t spend the time to look for illustrative photos, but this makes the task look relatively simple.

  • I think you will have saved me hours in the next few weeks. Many thanks. Caroline (Bookword)

    • So glad to hear this Caroline. Anything we can do to reduce the time it takes to get a blog post created and published is good news

  • Wow! That’s a nifty feature, and I”ll look into this. I just found about the unsplash plugin and am planning to use that too!

    • This is a great exchange of knowledge since I was unaware of the unsplash plugin….Thanks for alerting me to that Nish

  • Oh my, you just opened up a whole new world for me. I am trying to use more photos, but the time it takes to find them and then to see if they are free is so time consuming. Thank you for pointing out this great resource. Certainly will cut down some time!

    • Definitely is a time saver over doing a Google search for example. If you use you know that you are safe to use them but with Google, you can also set up a filter so you see only results which are OK to use

  • I don’t use images in my posts aside from book cover images but this is very handy to know.

    • It’s handy when you want to do general round up type of posts or discussion topics

  • This is so cool, I had no idea the option was available!

  • Wonderful resource! When I write book reviews, I photograph the bookcover and add a bit of book-styling for interest.

    • That’s a good approach – it makes the post look just that bit different .

  • Excellent tip. I don’t think I have ever used this feature.

  • I can (and do) access these free photos from the WP app on my Android phone: when I want to add a pic I can choose from previously uploaded photos in my media library, or download from the gallery on my phone, or browse the WP Free Photo Library. If the last I can select a thumbnail photo (or photos) and ‘Add’ it (or them), and the app gives me a chance to preview it/them before adding.

  • I have the really old editor and I did find the free library once on it but now I can’t find it again, just can’t find a + button or an option with the words free library or free pexel photos.

    • If you go to your media library, and click the symbol, do you not get the Pexel option in the drop down menu? Maybe it’s only available with the block editor…..

  • Such a useful post! Thanks, Karen. I tend to use book jackets or holiday shots but on the rare occasions I’ve needed an image I’ve found it very frustrating.

    • it can be frustrating indeed – especially when you keep getting search results in photo libraries that are nothing like what you wanted

  • Very useful and explained so clearly. Thanks Karen 😊

    • My pleasure. I’m happy to pass on tips like this that I think will be helpful

    • There is so much about WordPress that I am discovering …. I’ll pass on tips as I make new discoveries

  • Good reminder! I always forget about this feature. I usually use Canva images because I have my Pinterest template set up in Canva and it’s easy to pop in a pic and edit the text! Can you save a WP image in your own file? Because I can access my own file from within Canva. I like how the photo credit is already there for you using WP!

    • Technically yes this is possible – you can do a right click on the image in the image library and then save to your desktop. But I hesitate about whether this is permitted – WordPress will have agreements in place with various image providers and that may be limited to use within the WordPress blogging environement only

      • Huuummmmmm……that’s a good point!

        • I can’t find the answer on the WordPress help site so will ask in the forum Carol

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