Buy Nothing Project
Using Photos in Community Posts
image description: two people smiling and looking at a phone screen together, photo credit Pexels

Tips & Best Practices for Using Photos to Build Community
Even a single photo with each of your Buy Nothing posts can have a big positive impact.

  • Many people react more immediately to photos than to words, and will stop to read if an image intrigues or invites them to engage with a post.
  • We encourage you to take photos of your own and to use those, but you're also welcome to use the photos in our Helpful Posts and other resources, as noted in each resource's copyright info.
If you'd like to use images from elsewhere, here are some things to consider:

  • Only use a photo you find online or elsewhere if you know for certain that you have permission to do this. If you copy or download an image that doesn't have a public use copyright, sharing that image will be a violation of law.
  • You can find quite a few free-to-use public copyright photos online. We recommend checking sites such as Pixabay, Nappy, Pexels, Unsplash, the Creative Commons section of Flickr, and other such sites that offer diverse collections of public domain images. Search for "public use," "copyright-free," or "public domain" images.
  • If a particular photo requires attribution, be sure to include that when you share the image; it's easy to add this information at the bottom of your post, after the photo description that you'll also want to include (more on that later).
  • Add a photo description after the main text of your post, to make the image accessible to your community members who use screen readers or other adaptive tools to interpret visual components of posts.
  • If you're using a public domain meme or other photo with text embedded in the image, be sure to type the text out below, as part of the image description, so the wording is also accessible to everyone, as in the point above.
  • Use images that reflect the full diversity of Buy Nothing - People of all races, ethnicities, religions, philosophies, political alignments, ages, abilities, genders, etc are part of the Buy Nothing community. Please use images that reflect this strength - No one photo can represent every person in your community, but if you're mindful about your image choices, you'll be able to represent many people over the course of your Community Builder posts.
  • Positive images are always more inspiring than negative images. Use photos that show your community the changes you'd like to be a part of instead of showing whatever you'd like to shift away from. For example, photos that have the red slash "NO" icon over them are always less likely to change anyone's thoughts and actions than a picture that shows the "YES, please do this" actions you're working to inspire.
  • If you would like to share an image or reminder you have taken or created so we can share it on the website, please feel free to email it to us, with your permission to republish it, at [email protected]
  • Some links to sites that have some free-to-use photos that you can search by topic/theme:

  • Check to be sure you're in the "free" section of each site. Many sites combine free public domain photos with images that need to be purchased.
  • This site makes it easy to create image descriptions/captions for photos:
  • For further information about copyright law and photos, Pixabay has a good article about the use of public domain images.