How To Access And Use The WordPress Free Photo Library

If you don’t know anything about the WordPress free photo library, it contains thousands of free images that can be used by all WordPress users.

#bloggingtips #blogging #WordPress #images #photos #Howto
The WordPress Free Photo Library

I’ve been using the feature ever since it first became available. I can’t remember when WordPress first launched it, but it was certainly more than 18 months ago. 

I’ve been surprised by the number of WordPress users who didn’t know about the WordPress free photo library.

It got me wondering why they hadn’t found it. I think the main problem may have been that to access the library, you had to know where to look for it. 

Now, ever since WordPress mentioned it on the new ‘My Home‘ page we all see on our blogs, it’s become a lot more visible.

#bloggingtips #blogging #WordPress #photo #free #library
See it on the home page of your blog

Not only does the photo library include hundreds of free photos, it’s also easy to use.

And when you factor in that a blog post that contains images is 70% more likely to get read, it makes sense why WordPress created a free photo library for all its users.  

Here’s how to access and use it. 

In the draft post below, I want to insert an image of a dog between the first and second lines of the post.

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This is a draft post on the WordPress blogging platform

Click the ‘+‘ add block symbol and click on the ‘image block.’

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Finding the image block

You can also use the ‘search for a block‘ bar to find the image block.

Inside the image block, click on ‘Media Library.’

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The Media Library

In your media library, click on the box in the top left corner (just above the ‘Add New box

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The WordPress Media library

On the small dropdown menu that opens, click on ‘Free photo library.

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Free Photo Library

You will now have access to the WordPress free photo library.

In the search bar of the library, type in ‘dogs.’

As you type, images will start appearing.

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Type in a word associated with the images you are searching for

Select the image you want to add to your blog post and click on the ‘copy to media library‘ button (in the bottom right corner). In the image below, I’ve selected a photo of a corgi. 

#blogging #bloggingtips #images #photos #Howto
Select the image you want to use and click on the ‘copy to media library’ button

The image now appears in your media library.

Make any edits to the image before adding it to your blog post. 

#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress #Howto #editing #images
Click the edit button to edit an image

Edits include –

Alternative text for the image.

Adding a title to the image (to make finding it easier).

A description for the image (so it’s easy for you to find).

Checking and editing the dimensions of the image. Click here to find out why and how to resize the dimensions of an image to help save storage space in your media library.

Once you’re happy with everything, click on the ‘Insert button.‘ 

The image will appear on the post. 

#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress #media #library #dogs
The image you selected will now appear on your blog post

Any credits are also added just underneath the image. This means you don’t need to worry about not giving credit to any owners of the images you are using. WordPress takes care of this for you when you use their free photo library.

Remember – you should always give credit to the owners of any images you use in your blog posts. Failure to do so could result in you being prosecuted and/or fined for copyright infringement.

Where I can, I prefer to use my own images on my blog posts. However, where I do not have a suitable image to use, the WordPress free photo library is a fantastic source for finding that perfect image to help compliment my post.

What about you?

  • Did you know the WordPress free photo library existed?
  • Are you using the WordPress free photo library?
  • Do you find it easy to use?
  • Have you encountered any problems using it?

Join the discussion by leaving your comments.

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Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar to learn more about me and my blog.

129 thoughts

  1. Hi Hugh, I believe it’s important to note the galley is only accessible only to the paid plan members. This option is not available on the free plan.

    So in essence this is not free, it’s an option for the paid plan members.

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for highlighting this to me.

      I’ve contacted WordPress to confirm the details and am waiting for a reply from them. Once I know, I’ll update the post accordingly.

      However, in the meantime, I found this on their site.

      I’m not sure what they mean by ‘every WordPress.com member.’ Do they class ‘member’ as only those who have a paid plan, or is “member’ everyone who uses their site (including those who have a free theme?). Once I find out, I’ll let you know.

      1. Hey Hugh, very thorough of you to contact WP!

        I believe they specifically mean “member” and not “user” so that it sounds much better than it is. I for one do not have access to this photo library on my free plan.

        I would love to be wrong but yea, let’s wait for the official response.

        1. Well, we can’t let them get away with saying it’s free, if it isn’t, Sam. Mind you, I’ve noticed now that they’ve changed the name of the library from ‘Free photo library’, to ‘Pexels Free photos.’

          However, having looked into it further, on the home page of my blog, WordPress describes it as ‘The Free Photo Library integrates your site with a library of over 40,000 beautiful and useful copyright-free images to use on your site.’ Of course, there are plenty of other sites one can go to to get free copyright images, but there are not many things that we can claim to be absolutely free. After all, to get to those free copyright images, we have to have a wifi connection and a device to find them, so we’ve already spent money on items to be able to get those free images.

          Unfortunately, WordPress seems to have limited chat support available at the moment (I’m not sure why – maybe they are working on something big?), so I can’t get in touch with one of their Happiness Engineers to find out the answer, but as soon as they come back to me with a response to the email I sent them, I’ll let you know.

        2. Hi Sam,

          I’ve just had this back from somebody in the WordPress forum –

          This is available with a free plan, yes.
          You can access the Free Photo Library by going to My Site > Site > Media, clicking on the image icon (in the main menu bar) and selecting ‘Free Photo Library’ from the drop-down menu.
          If you need further advice, https://wordpress.com/support/free-photo-library/ might be able to help.

          I’ll let you know when I hear back from WordPress directly.

        3. Hi Hugh,

          I managed to get to it, this was not that easy to get to get to and I very much appreciate your help.

          I will admit I normally use the /wp-admin control center instead of the standard wp menus but hey great news it works.

          If you have some pull over at WP I’d also make a note that the Pexels library cannot be accessed directly when you write a post. You have to add the free photo to the library separately via the process you mentioned above, then go back to the text editor and add it to your post.

          This again seems hard to do/ find if someone does not have a specific guide on it.

          In conclusion, my bad, user error, the free library is accessible to free plan users but there’s a very specific way to do it.

          Thanks again Hugh and much appreciated!

        4. Hi Sam,

          I’ve now heard back from WordPress (and I also checked with several bloggers who have free WordPress accounts), and the photo library is available to all of them.

          If you’re not able to access the free photo library, then WordPress asked that you contact them directly. They’ll sort out the problem for you.

          I hope that helps.

  2. That’s cool Hugh. I didn’t know about the photo library free or otherwise. I assume it’s just for WordPress.com. When I click Image I don’t see that choice.
    Janice

  3. I just checked, and my Media Library page is different to the screenshot example you show. It might be because I have stuck wth the ‘Old Editor’. Thanks for the tip anyway. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Yes, it will be different for those who are still using the classic editor, but nonetheless, the WordPress free photo library is available to all WordPress users.
      Thanks for your comment, Pete.

  4. I knew about this but just couldn’t find it – have finally cracked the mystery. It takes me ages to find a suitable image that is copyright free. Unsplash is my go-to option but I shall now know to look in the WP library too.

    1. I’ve also used Unsplash, but not as much as I use Pixabay. However, my first point of call is now the WordPress free photo library (if I don’t have a suitable image of my own). I’m glad you finally found the WP library. It’s a fantastic feature and easy to use.

  5. Its funny that I only noticed the Free library in the last couple of months. I think it was when I had to access my photos for my blog via google photos and not my lap top. I must investigate it a bit more to see if there is anything I can use. Thank you for such informative posts. #SeniSal

    1. I’m glad this post has helped. I use the WordPress free library if I don’t have any suitable images of my own. I can usually find something, although not all of the time. It’s my first port of call, though.

  6. Hugh, Isn’t this WP free photo library fantastic? I used a few images from it before for my blog, maybe about a year ago. I like that it automatically adds the source of the photo. I also like a feature in WordPress Media in the upper right corner that it shows the percentage of what my images have used out of the total storage limit. I always resize my photos before posting and WordPress seems to make them look great despite the small file size. Thank you for sharing another good feature in WordPress that many commenters didn’t know. #senisal

    1. The fact that it adds the credits to any image you use from it is fantastic, Natalie. I love that feature because it means I don’t have to remember to do it.

      Like you, I always resize my images, and I agree that WordPress still makes them look great.

      I was surprised that so many WordPress users knew nothing about the WordPress free photo library. I’m glad to have bought it to the attention of so many other users.

  7. Hi Hugh, thanks for a wonderful post. I didn’t know about this library! I’ve been on WordPress for many years. I went onto one of my draft posts to access the image library and my media library doesn’t have that drop down menu dang it. No access to free image library for me. I do use Unsplash.com and am easily able to credit each and every image. I’m going to look into this more to understand why my WordPress site isn’t accessing this free option.

    1. Hi Lisa, which WordPress editor are you using? If the classic editor, the free photo library link can be found when clicking on the image button in the toolbar of a draft post. If you have problems finding it, let me know, and I’ll include a screenshot highlighting where it is.

  8. Thank you for this post, Hugh! I’ve been using WordPress (self-hosted) now for almost five years and I had no idea about this free photo library! Do you think it came with the change to the Gutenberg editor? I always use my own photos on my blog, as my posts resemble my lifestyle and adventures, but it certainly is good to know about this option, especially – like you wrote – if I don’t have a fitting image myself one day.

    1. Hi Liesebet. The WordPress free photo library has been around for at least 18-24 months. It wasn’t launched as part of the Gutenberg editor, and all users can access it and use the free photos regardless of which editor they’re using. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many people didn’t know anything about it.

      I don’t know if it’s available to all self-hosted sites, but it should be available to those who self-host through WordPress.

      Where I can, I try and use my own images, but the WordPress free photo library is now my next port of call if I can’t find anything in my own photo library. For me, the only other downfall it has is that unlike Pixabay, it doesn’t have any illustration images. Sometimes, I prefer an illustration image rather than a real photo.

      Otherwise, it gets top marks from me.

  9. I had no idea, but then I don’t read all the announcements that come from WordPress. Also, I don’t use the “block editor” so don’t have that sidebar. Will have to check this out.

  10. Hi Hugh…I discovered this library from a WP email like you Hugh …It’s a great tool…I use my images where possible or pixabay but I like your tip that WP adds the blurb which is one less job to remember when using pixabay…Be well and stay safe 🙂

    1. Yes, the credits being automatically added makes the WordPress photo library the first place I now look when I don’t have a suitable image of my own to use, Carol. At some stage, I hope they start adding some illustrations to the library, too.

      Stay safe.

  11. I think I had been using WordPress awhile before I found it; it seems they are promoting it more, there’s a note on the new My Home page. My blog is about health and medicine, and I needed a photo about lab tests. I searched for photos by the term “drawing blood” and you can guess what kind of photos it brought back-people drawing pictures of blood, lol. So be very specific when you use the Search feature.

    1. That’s an excellent tip, Aletha. I’ve had a few occasions when I’ve not been able to find exactly what I was looking for when searching the WordPress library. I’m hoping that they’ll also add some illustrations to the library, similar to what they have available on Pixabay.

  12. Like you Hugh, I have found this free library to be a great addition to my blogging. I try to use my own shots but sometimes for a cover shot I use the free library as they tend to be the right size and add that something different to a post. It’s very easy to use and there are so many to choose from! Great to see you’ve enlightened many others as to this gallery. You’re always so helpful and your instructions are clear.

    1. Thanks, Debbie. I’ve been amazed by how many didn’t know about the WordPress free photo library. I’m delighted to have bought it to their attention. I’ve been using it since it was launched, and it acts as a greater backup for when I do not have a suitable image of my own.

      1. I use it in the exact same way Hugh. I always find these topics interesting, especially when I hear so many bloggers don’t know about them. You are doing a great service talking about them!

  13. I didn’t know about this! I have a feeling that it might just be a Guttenberg thing. It’s not obvious on the old editor. I’ll have to look around more. Hmmm. It might be time to switch. Great tutorial!

        1. I had a look and the free photo option cames up as one of the choices when I clicked on the ‘insert image’ button, Diana. It’s been such a long time since I used the classic editor, but the free photo library is definitely available to all WordPress users.

  14. Thanks Hugh for another helpful tutorial. I typically use my own photos but sometimes I need something different from what I have in my own library. I tried the Free Library and your step by step instructions make it very easy to use. I really should take some time to explore WordPress, but until I get around to doing that, I appreciate the benefit of your knowledge. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Indeed. It acts as an excellent backup for me when I can’t find one of my own images to suit the subject of the post I’m writing.

      Thanks so much for reblogging and sharing the post with your readers.

  15. Wow, thanks for sharing! It hadn’t even occurred to me that WordPress would have a feature like this. Very useful 🙂

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