5AM FLASH 230712: Free photos – for creatives by creatives

Every now and then at 5am (probably posted by my clone) I will be bringing you a newsflash, update on what I’m doing, invited guest piece, or whatever takes my fancy, and today I’d like to mention a great site for free photographs…

Morgue File

At some stage in their writing, blogging, eBooking, writers need photographs. Some will have their own stash of ‘could be perfect’ shots they took thinking it might just come in handy one day but if that’s not you or it is you but you just don’t have what you’re looking for try Morgue File.

The home page is http://morguefile.com and shows their favourite photograph of the moment.

There are thousands (probably tens of thousands – there’s a great one of green icing cupcakes no. 542347 – http://morguefile.com/archive/display/542347) of free photographs to choose from and all you do it put a keyword (or more than one) and, unless you’ve picked a really obscure photograph, you get a gallery of thumbnail photos to choose from. Click on the ones that appeal and you have the option (on the left, under the photo) to download it.


Most free photo sites restrict your use but Morgue File is the most flexible I’ve come across. They say… “You are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit the work and to adapt the work. Attribution is not required. You are prohibited from using this work in a stand alone manner.” And they don’t mind if you use it commercially.

Do take a look though at the photographer’s comments underneath that licence statement as they usually love to know that you’re using their photo (as we writers love to know that someone’s read our free stories :)). For instance the photographer of our green cupcakes says… “Let me know if you use my photo :)I would love to hear about your project. Thanks and enjoy! http://photodaisy.blogspot.com.”

Why is it called ‘Morgue File’?

As the site explains, “a ‘morgue file’ is a place to keep post-production materials for use of reference, an inactive job file. This morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use.

The term “morgue file” is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues flats. Although the term has been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers as well. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits. This is the world wide web’s morguefile”.

Picture origin

I would recommend making a note of the reference number (i.e. the end of the photograph’s website address, the 542347 of our cupcakes) because should you use a photograph somewhere and its origin be challenged* you have a record so I rename the file e.g. green cupcakes 542347. I found that photograph, by the way, from a keyword search of ‘pretty’. 🙂

http://www.roniloren.com has an interesting article on that subject.

File size

When you download the photograph you’ll probably find that it’s a huge file size. This is fine if you’re creating something like an eBook cover and you need it to be a certain size and clarity but for day-to-day (for instance I use a picture for my daily 5pm Fiction slot) you can shrink it (I use Preview or PhotoShop and reduce it to c. 100×150 pixels), crop it, whatever you want to do with it really.

So, whatever you need your photograph for, or of, you’re bound to find something on Morgue File and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. 🙂


You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

5 thoughts on “5AM FLASH 230712: Free photos – for creatives by creatives

  1. Books & Art - Spirit & Soul says:

    Reblogged this on Inspiration Import and commented:
    With much of the Internet’s images being used without the creators consent, Morguefile.com has seen a market for Free Photos for Creatives, by Creatives. It allows for manipulation and distribution without copyright infringement. I also use freephoto.com which is great but a little more time consuming as FreeFoto.com (s) images fall under Creative Commons, as does my own work. (http://www.CreativeCommons.org)


  2. Sophie E Tallis says:

    Thanks Morgen, again like the above blogger, there’s been so much worry and concern over bloggers getting sued by innocently using google images (I myself have ensured that I have no such photos on my blog), that it’s great to know that there is a safe place we can get visual aids/pics without fear of litigation! Huge thank you, Morgen! 😀 xx


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