How to Search For Images For Your Blog – Faster

how to search

I’d like to share a little trick we’ve learned to find just the right image for that article you worked so hard on — and find it fast.

Currently we use Shutterstock images to add visual interest to articles here on Small Business Trends.  We love Shutterstock images because they are high quality and interesting.

Now we could go directly to the Shutterstock website and search for images.  Often we do just that.

But there’s another way to search — a way that saves us time.  We search Google first, to find Shutterstock images.  That’s right.  Shutterstock images are indexed in Google. Google’s image search is detailed and intelligent enough to narrow down the search results quickly — and get us started in a matter of a minute or less.

Google search is fast and easy.  You plug in a keyword to find images by subject matter.  You can narrow down the search by color (something we often do).

Best of all, with Google search you can load hundreds of results on one page almost instantly.  Only after we find a promising image through Google, do we jump over to the Shutterstock.com site. There we can either refine our search, or expand on it.   And then we can download the image under our Shutterstock licensing agreement.

Don’t get me wrong.  Shutterstock has great search tools right on its site — and we use those tools.  But using Google as the first step this way saves us time.

Here’s How to Search for Images – Faster

Step 1 – Go to Google.com

Go to Google.com.  Use the site search command (site:[url]).  That limits your search ONLY to one site’s content.  You can also add a keyword for the subject of an image. We’re going to use the keyword “shopping.”

In the Google.com search box, type in the following:

Site:http://shutterstock.com shopping

Step 2 – Click on Images Search

The results that come up initially will be standard Web search results, i.e., text.  You want to click on the “Images” tab right under the search box.  See image above, underlined in red.

Voila – you should see lots and lots of images.

Step 3  - Select “Search Tools”

Click on the “Search Tools” button.  This will open up some drop-down menus, allowing you to narrow down your search.

So simply use those menus. Let’s say you want to search by color. We often search for a nice warm color such as yellow, orange or red (warm colors get people to take action – see the psychology of color).

You also can narrow it down by type of image.  For instance, let’s say you just wanted a fun clip-art type of image — you could search “Clip art.”  Or maybe you want an image with a person’s smiling face in it — for that you select “Face.”

Step 4 – Jump Over to Shutterstock

Once you find a promising image, click back to the Shutterstock site.  From there you can do related searches for similar images. Maybe the one you chose is good, but you want one slightly different. Often a photographer will have a selection of similar images.  You can expand or narrow your search to find just the right image you want.

And that’s all there is to it.

P.S. these instructions “should” work with other stock image sites if you substitute the URL when you search.  However, we haven’t tried many searches on other sites.  We do know that this method works very well for Shutterstock.com images.

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Amanda Stillwagon


Amanda Stillwagon As Chief Marketer for Small Business Trends, Amanda oversees online marketing, email marketing and social media marketing for the Small Business Trends group of sites.

11 Reactions

  1. Amanda, That’s a great tip, especially the part about Search Tools. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Really nice guide. It is quite hard for me to just use Google Images. After all, I just don’t want to grab anything which I don’t have the rights to. Although I try to link back to them, I still want to search for safe images only.

  3. Amanda,

    Some nice tips!

    I have actually practice this with Flickr. You see, Google’s search technology is superior, in such a way that it can help you find Flickr images even better than Flickr’s internal search system. Beats me :)

  4. I use a site called photopin.com. They pull in images from sites like shutterstock, but also flickr and other photo sharing sites. You can use many of the images for free on your blog, so long as you include a link giving proper attribution back to the original author. I will usually include the attribution link at the end of my post.

  5. Thanks for sharing the step-by-step methods on searching for that free Shutterstock photo. I kinda like the photos used in this blog and a picture is worth a thousand words.

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