The best ways to search for images online

Magnifying glass and lock
itanistock / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo

Find inspiring images online and stay afloat in the sea of online content with our top tips on how and where to search for images online.

Whether you’re looking for images to complete your next project or just want to see some inspirational images, there are loads of great places for you to look. In this blog, we give you our advice on where to look and what to search for so you can filter down your search results and find exactly what you need.

1. Google Images

Whether you’re just looking to get a feel for what’s out there, or are looking for something specific, Google Images is a great place to start your image search. We recommend heading straight to the ‘Images’ tab in Google and then entering your search terms. Google pulls in content from loads of different places on the internet, so there’ll be plenty of image results to scroll through.

Top tip: To refine your image search so that you only see images that are available to license, add, ‘stock photo’ after your search term. For example, if you’re looking for an image of a cat, search for ‘cat stock photo’ rather than just ‘cat’.

You can find out all about how to use Google for your image search in our blog ‘how to use Google Images effectively’.

2. Instagram

If you’re looking for inspiration for your mobile photography or want to see what’s trending right now, Instagram is the perfect app to check out. With options to search for the most recently uploaded images, by place name or by hashtags, it’s really easy to find what you’re looking for.

Just click the ‘search’ icon to see some of the latest uploads to Instagram, or if you want to search for images of a particular subject, just enter your search terms into the search bar. You can search for places, hashtags or people, and Instagram will pull in all the images that are related to your search.

Get a daily dose of image inspiration on Alamy’s Instragram feed.

3. Pinterest

This is an awesome place to look for inspiration in general, not just images! Pinterest is packed full of creativity, with loads of different topics to explore. It’s really easy to search – all you need to do is pop one or more search terms into the search bar, and all results on the site that match your search term(s) will be shown. When you find something you like, all you need to do is ‘Pin’ it to your account and it’ll save in your ‘Pins’ tab! If you click on the pin you’ll be taken to the website where the pin is hosted, so if you want to buy the image or product it should be simple!

You can also search for ‘Boards’, which are collections of content that focus on a particular subject. When you enter your search term, just select ‘Boards’ and your search results will show all the collections that match your search.

Check out Alamy’s Pinterest Boards to find inspiration now!

4. Check out creative websites

The creative world is constantly changing, with new trends emerging and dropping off the radar all the time. One of the easiest and most fun ways of keeping yourself updated with what’s trending right now is to take a look at creative blogs and websites. It’s their job to be on top of the latest trends, so what better way to find image inspiration?

To give you a helping hand on where to start, head over to our blog for 7 great places to look for creative inspiration.

5. Use a stock image library

Ultimately, if you’re trying to find imagery online to use, one of the best places you can look is a stock image library. With more than 100 million images on Alamy, all you need to do is pop you search terms in the search bar on the home page and you’re set.

There are loads of ways to find creative imagery on Alamy, no matter what you’re looking for. You can filter your search down using our selection of search filters, head to our curated image categories or check out our latest imagery and featured photographers pages to find the very best of our collection.

When you use a stock library, there’s also the added benefit of being able to purchase the license for your image use. This means you can make sure you have the right permissions to use the images you find, helping you to avoid legal issues down the line.

Speed up your image search with our top tips!

More from the author

More articles about...

Alamy’s WorldTips and Tricks

Latest Imagery

With 100,000 new images added everyday there is always something new to see on Alamy. See our editor's pick of what's new...

See Latest Imagery