The Flickr Guide, Part 2: How to Caption or Credit Photos in Posts

flickr guidePhoto by <Stewart.

Thanks to everyone for receiving my guide to finding and using incredible Flickr images so warmly.

Finding photos through Flickr seems to be something many have wanted to do but weren’t sure how to go about it (or how to go about it safely).

One question many people had in response to the post was: how do I add credits beneath the photos I use?

In this follow-up post, I want to provide a comprehensive answer to that question. There are a range of solutions here to suit everyone — from the HTML newbie to the CSS pro.

Skellie’s method for non-aligned images

What little CSS and HTML skills I have came through years of trial and error: changing numbers and values and previewing the page endlessly until I did what I wanted to do without some other part of the page breaking.

The solution I use is in the same DIY spirit, but it works. If you use an image across the top of your posts, or across the post body, my main suggestion would be to resize the image so it’s just as wide as your posts.

It looks a lot neater than a centered image and keeps the lines consistent with your text.

Here’s the code you would use for the type of caption you see at the top of this post, under the image. Paste it immediately after the image code.

<br/><font size=”1″><em>Photo by <a href=”profile of photographer”>Name</a></em></font>

The WC3 method for aligned images

If you prefer to use images with text on either side of them, this method is the best solution for you. It looks tricky on the surface, but is really quite simple.

Open this Figures & Captions page for instructions. The first block of code is what you paste into your posts where you’d like the image to appear. You can customize what is written in the caption.

The second block of code will need to go into your style sheet for the first block of code to work.

First, copy the code from style.css, called Stylesheet in WordPress (or your blog software’s equivalent), into a text editor and save it as your back-up copy in case anything goes wrong.

If it does, you can paste this backup code into your style.css to have everything returned to normal. Phew!

Copy the second block of code under Figures & Captions and paste it into your stylesheet. Test whether it works by adding the first block of code to one of your older posts.

You can change the values in the code to suit the kind of look you want. I’m sure there are some code gurus here who’re willing to led their advice, so leave a comment if you’re having trouble getting this to work.

The simple footer method

This is a method for those who’ve tried the above and decided something simpler is in order. At the bottom of the post where the image appears, you need only create something that looks like this:

Photo by Stewart.

If you use more than one photo, your credits might look like:

First photo by <Stewart.
Second photo by Ahron de Leeuw.

Pick the method that works best for you. All of them are adequate credit for any image requiring attribution.



Did you know that I’m also a freelance blogger? I wanted to share some of the work I’ve done lately, elsewhere. I know a lot of you are bloggers and I hope you’ll enjoy these posts.

10 Things You Can Do Today to Kick-Start Your Blog’s Growth
One of my key blogging philosophies is that, when it all comes down to it, you can create traffic directly. This post outlines ten simple ways you can create traffic, today.

What’s Your Long-Term Blogging Strategy?
This post explains how you can develop a long-term blogging habit — something any blogger dreaming of big things will need to do. I like this one but it hasn’t got many comments. If you have a response to the post, I’d love to hear it over at DBT.

Preventing Ad-blindness on Your Blog
How decluttering and real minimalism can increase the effectiveness of PPC ads.

5 Powerful Techniques to Help Your Posts Stand Out
My top five strategies for creating unique and distinctive content to help make you unlike any other blog in your niche.

I’ve also been offered the opportunity to join the staff of one of my favorite blogs, Freelance Switch. In the coming days, I’ll be writing about how you can use your online presence to turn visitors into clients.

None of these opportunities would have come my way had it not been for the support of a wonderful readership. That means you, reading this — yeah, you!

Thank you! I can’t say it enough.

A Complete Guide to Finding and Using Incredible Flickr Images

flickr guidePhoto by Leposava.

I don’t think this blog would be half of what it is without Flickr. The images included with most posts magnetize the eye to the page and create an atmosphere for the rest of the piece.

It’s also one of the most commented-on aspects of the blog — the images are something I think leaves an impression on a lot of people.

A question I get often is: how do you find such great images through Flickr? Most importantly, how do you find such great images that you can use freely?

In this post, I want to share everything I’ve learned about how you can quickly and easily find Flickr’s best images to suit your needs, whether it’s for a blog post, an eBook, a design, an artwork or anything else.

Secondly, I want to explain how Creative Commons works for Flickr images — and what that means for you.

Why choose Flickr photos?

The most common alternate options are Google Images and various royalty free and stock photo websites. There are some pretty serious problems with both these options, however.

Google images

It’s hard to guard yourself against copyright infringement when using Google Images. A page does not have to list copyright information for an image to be considered copyrighted. It’s also very difficult to know the original source of an image.

I’ve heard a story about a blogger who used Google Images to fetch an image for one of his blog posts.

Unbeknownst to him, the website he’d taken the image from had copied the image from Corbis. Corbis then found out and sued him.

I’m not sure whether this is a true story or an internet myth, but it’s entirely possible. It’s just not worth the risk.

Stock photos

While stock photos don’t put you at risk of getting in trouble, there are two key drawbacks: they often cost money, secondly, they’re often bland and formulaic.

They’re so well-matched to business-friendly keywords like ‘honesty’, ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘success’ that most seem highly contrived.


on the other hand, hosts millions of photos taken by amateur and professional photographers capturing photos of what interests them, not their stock photography bosses. The best of Flickr is vibrant, innovative and dynamic.

Finding images to suit your needs

The kind of photos you want to look for will depend on where you want to use them. Flickr images either fall under a traditional copyright or Creative Commons license.

You’re forbidden to use Flickr images marked as copyrighted (or ‘All rights reserved’) for your own purposes unless you get explicit permission from the author.

Most of us don’t have the time or the patience to put up with the hassle. Here, I want to focus on Creative Commons licensed photos.

boy leading lionsPhoto by SplaTT.

Creative Commons

Non-copyright images on Flickr come under a different kind of license called Creative Commons. Each image is available under one of six customized licenses built to influence where and how each image can be used.

The starting point of your search for Flickr’s best photos will be the Flickr: Creative Commons page. From there, you can enter search portals for each of the six CC licenses. Below, I’ll explain how you can select which license is appropriate for you.

attribution license

Attribution License

The images used at all come under this particular license. It allows you to modify the images (by cropping them, or writing on them, for example) and to use them in both commercial and non-commercial spaces. The only requirement is that you credit the author with a link back to their profile.

Link: the search page for Attribution Licensed photos.

Attribution-NoDerivs License

Attribution-NoDerivs License

This license allows you to use the photo freely in any context as long as you credit the photographer. It’s more restricted than a simple Attribution license because you’re forbidden to modify the work in any way (that includes cropping and writing on the image).

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

This license allows you to use photos in with a credit as long as they’re not modified and as long as you’re not profiting from the context of the image.

Examples of such contexts would be: blogs displaying ads, inside products, online stores. In other words, anywhere it could be argued that the image helped increase your income.

If you’re not monetizing the space at the moment but want to leave your options open, it would be a good idea to stick with the more flexible licenses above.

Link: the search page for Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs licensed photos.

Attribution-NonCommercial License

This license allows you to display and modify the image in any non-commercial space with a link to the photographer’s profile.

Once again, if you plan to profit from the space in future, you’re better off sticking with the more flexible Attribution License.

Link: the search page for Attribution-NonCommercial licensed photos.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

This license allows you to use photos in non-commercial spaces with credit. There is one extra requirement, however: that you link to the license page with the image credit (alongside a link to the photographer’s profile).

Share Alike means that you need to make clear the license of the image wherever you use it. Here’s a link to the Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license page, though you’d probably just link to it under (license)!

Link: the search page for Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licensed photos.

Attribution-ShareAlike License

This license allows you to modify the photo and display it in any context as long as you link to the photographer’s profile and the distribution license for the photo. Here’s a link to the Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.

Link: the search page for Attribution-ShareAlike licensed photos.

Finding the best images to suit your needs

Once you’ve navigated to the search page appropriate to where you want the photo appear it’s time to start sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Let’s use the search page for Attribution Licensed photos as a test case. Open the link in a new window or tab and search for the keyword ‘yellow’.

This will search the tags and title of each image for matches. You’ll be returned with a bunch of ‘most relevant’ results, but nothing particularly interesting.

Now, click the ‘most interesting’ link above the thumbnails. The search algorithm changes and returns images for that keyword with the most buzz around them (comments and favorites, I suspect). As you can see, the images are of a much higher quality.

Within seconds, I have a gorgeous, targeted photo to use with a blog post — or wherever you’d like to use it.

A bonus tip: above the images, click ‘Thumbnails’. This will return the images in a small cluster of thumbnails allowing you to get a much quicker overview of the page. It’s more light-weight too — something dial-up users will appreciate.