Pixabay.com: A Powerful Free-Source for the Serious Blog, Tweet, Book or School

Inventers dream of ways to solve problems. Computer Science and IT guys solve problems by building a crowd-sourced website that supports dreamers all over the globe.

Problem: Wizzley.com authors being cited for using copyright protected images found on the web.

Solution: Pixabay.com

As Pixabay’s front page stated for years – it is a ‘repository for stunning Public Domain media.’ (As of this writing the site hosts 500,000 images and 1,000 video clips.)

Crowd-sourced, images and videos are uploaded by members. All media is released under a Creative Commons CC0 license which means that it is completely free for personal or commercial use.

Photo by Deog Yeon Hwang - Pixabay user:lalalife
Photo by c – Pixabay user:lalalife

‘Stunning’ is not an over exaggeration of the media quality on Pixabay – it is first-rate.  

Established in Germany, Pixabay’s worldwide popularity continues to grow. To date, 1.4 million user accounts have been created and over 1,500 new images are uploaded every day. With over 10 million visits per month, the site is outshining competing sites such as fotolia.com and pixelio.de.

Users from the United States account for almost 30% of the site traffic followed by Germany at around 8%. Brazil, Britain, France and Japan are at about 4%.

Income for Pixabay is generated by optional ‘gifts’ from its users and from Shutterstock and Google ads. Site founders, Hans Braxmeier and Simon Steinberger prefer to keep the layout and design of the site as clean and uncluttered (by ads) as possible.

As one explores the site, ‘coffee’ buttons are noticeable. By clicking on these, donations can be made to the image author or to Pixabay. “Coffee” buttons on the artist page go to the artist and those on the download page go to Pixabay.

What keeps Pixabay’s good mojo going? Once the site users discover the outstanding image quality, the plethora of subject matter available and the site’s ease-of-use, they soon find themselves wanting to participate in the global community of sharing.

The Pixabay Founders
Hans photo strip
Hans Braxmeier, Germany

Hans is the founder and CEO of Pixabay. He studied computer science in Ulm (Germany), and has launched several web projects.  He has donated over 18,000 images to the site.

“The main focus of Pixabay was never to make a lot of money. The focus is to give something like Wikipedia back to cool users,” says Hans Braxmeier.


Simon Steinberger, Germany

Simon is co-founder and CEO of Pixabay. He studied chemistry in Ulm (Germany) and finished his PhD in 2011. During this time, he started working in the IT sector and developed various websites.

Editor’s Choice award media is awe-inspiring! These are the best and greatest Pixabay photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos. Media for this award is selected by our team members.” – Simon Steinberger

Comments from the Pixabay chat forumsdebbies books

“A personal thank you [to Pixabay.com]. I now have two books on Amazon thanks to this site. I always wanted to write books for kids but had the issue of how to illustrate them. Now I am using images from here and a few of my own.”

Debbie Walkingbird, Oregon

“A huge thank you to all of the generous and talented Pixabay photographers! I manage a blog for a small animal welfare non-profit and you make my life so much easier!” – MsLisaJo

“Pixabay gives me a great place to have my work seen and used and hopefully that exposure will lead to eventual sales elsewhere. Taking pictures that I think are great but just sit in a hard drive doesn’t cut it. I would much rather people see, use and enjoy my work.” – Jim

“I find that initiatives like Pixabay (and many others) are a great way to keep culture flowing enabling others to build on and create new exciting works. For me, being in the academic world, this is a great resource to find new images for web design and illustration of work materials.” –José R Valverde

DH allen books“I used Pixabay images and clipart as artwork for book covers and on my blog. Wanted to say thank you to all who images and clipart I was able to use for these ventures. Pixabay and you guys are the best!” Smile – D.H. Allen | Writer, Traveler, Photographer blog



As Pixabay Member, Steve Buissinne of South Africa puts it, “Across the world people speak in 6500 languages, but we all see in only one. I think that donating images contributes to a more interesting and fulfilling life for us all.”

Related article: Pixabay Member Spotlight


Pixabay.com Member Spotlight

If you are an author, teacher, blogger, web designer, or any type of content creator, I recommend that you run – not walk – to Pixabay.com. It will quickly become your go-to place for powerful (and free!) photos, illustrations, vector graphics and video clips that pack a punch.

I interviewed a few Pixabay members to find out more about what makes this creative resource so enchanting.

Every interviewee had a story about rejected images. Universally, they took this as a challenge to produce and submit higher quality content.

For the curious, the links below explain Pixabay’s standards and image rating system.

Pixabay Image Quality Standards
Help decide which images get published

Pixabay Video Quality Standards

In each photo strip below, you will find the Pixabay member’s profile name and several samples of the type of work that they donate. Clicking on the photo strip or the link on their name, directs you to their Pixabay page.

Adina Voicu, Romaniaadina

Adina teaches foreign languages and literature. She works with students between the ages of 15-19. She uses images from Pixabay in some of her school projects and has donated over 2,000 of her own images to the site.

Pixabay is always open on Adina’s computer. She loves seeing what is new on the site, chatting with other photographers and seeing the feedback messages on her images.

“I live and breathe photography,” Adina says. “It is a way to get to know myself better.”couple-1008699_640

When asked about why she donates her images, she comments, “I have always shared things. What is more wonderful than sharing joy?”

In Romania, Adina lived under communist rule. ” We were not allowed to go abroad and knew nothing about the outside world. We only had two TV channels that broadcast about 4 hours each day. The electricity went off at 10 every night. Children were taught to fear their teachers and were punished for giving wrong answers.”
She remembers December 1989 – the revolution – like it was yesterday. “The first time I heard Michael Jackson on the radio. Wowww!”
“We live in a democracy now, but it is very misunderstood. There is chaos everywhere: in the medical system, the educational system, and with laws that change twice a year,” she says.
“I have been fortunate enough to travel. When I return, I try bringing home aspects from the more civilized countries.”
Pixabay and sharing images with people worldwide helps Adina feel connected outside of Romania. She hopes that this feeling communicates itself to the students in her life.

Venita Oberholster, South Africa
artst bee

Venita is an oil painter, vintage clip art designer and corporate Course Developer and Business owner of Step Across Training. She creates educational clip art and designs learning materials for South African school children.

“I really enjoy sharing my work with people all over the world. And I like getting positive responses from people who use it for personal or business projects. I hope that it will provide a platform for future graphic designers and for people to use for custom assignments. “science-1018806_640

“Pixabay has taught me the importance of high quality images and copyright principles. When I first started upolading images, it was disheartening because a good percent of them were rejected. However, I took this as a personal challenge to improve my standards.”

Click here to visit Venita’s Artsy Bee Images website.

Steve Buissinne, South Africastevepb

“Across the world people speak in 6500 languages, but we all see in only one.”

“Beauty can be found in the most unlikely places.” – Steve Buissinne

Almost 12 years ago, Steve and his wife retired to a small farm in the Eastern Highlands of South Africa. He took with him his SLR camera and a developing interest in photography. “It is an inward-looking or egocentric pastime that developed into a challenging and interesting hobby that has a use to others at the same time.”

In 2013, Steve was searching the internet for photos that he could use on a website for a local firefighters association when he discovered Pixabay.He liked the interface and was inspired by the images. So much so that he decided to upload a few of his own.

Rejections became a motivation to improve. Since then Steve’s been working on his lighting and photo styling techniques. He enjoys working with food  and everyday items used in the home, ‘because they don’t move.’ To date, Steve has uploaded 325 images. One hundred and seventeen of those have received Editor’s Choice Awards.

“It seems as though there are thousands of cooking, health and well-beintax-468440_640g blogs that need images,” says Steve. “The most downloaded of my photos is one that is used in blogs about the prosaic and everyday evil – Tax.”

“I love the site and enjoy all aspects of it. Simon and Hans, have created a fantastic resource that is a privilege to be a part of.”

Now, Steve often plans photo sessions specifically for images that he will upload on Pixabay. “Since I joined Pixabay, photography has become more enjoyable.”

Thomas Breher, Germany
Thomas breher TBIT

Thomas is a freelance graphic designer and developer.  His company is TBIT Design. He first discovered Pixabay when it was mentioned in a marketing forum article.
“I frequently use Pixabay images on my blog and in projects that I design for clients. Since I regularly download images, I decided to donate my own. Pixabay is a community about mutual giving and taking,” comments Thomas.camera-lenses-946404_640
When he works with people who have specific ideas about images that they want for their job, Thomas sends them to Pixabay to help narrow down the choices.
His favorite aspects of Pixabay community are the comments and ratings. “And every few weeks I receive a small donation,” he says.
I can relate to the excitement that is felt when a donation comes in. The first time that I received one, I had completed a photography job for $150. Later that day, a Pixabay donation arrived in the amount of $1.50. The elation that I feel about that donation STILL has me smiling!
When thinking about making a donation to an image author, Simon Steinberger, simon profilePixabay co-founder and CEO says, “We have several image authors who are particularly active and who offer a lot of images. You could concentrate on them – they’ve definitely earned it! An example that comes to mind is Geralt. He is power creator.”
A note of caution: If you pop over to check out Pixabay.com, be prepared to spend a lot of time there. The site is so luscious, that you’ll never want to leave!
The inspiration for this article came as I reached a personal Pixabay milestone. I made my 100th image donation on the website. 

Related article: Pixabay.com: A Powerful Free-Source for the Serious Blog, Tweet, Book or School

Angela Hoy from Writer’s Weekly – Common Themes in Writing Contest Entries

For authors, entering a writing contest is a way to test and flex their mental acuity. The Writers Weekly competition is especially exciting because you don’t know what you’ll have to work with…and you’ve only got a limited amount of time to produce a finished piece. It felt like a version of Chopped for writers. 

As with the TV show, Chopped, judge commentary educates the audience about the strange basket ingredients and how to best to prepare them. Meanwhile, the competing chefs are thinking and working as fast as possible to come up with something prize-worthy.

Having recently been a participant in the WritersWeekly.com Fall, 2015 24-Hour Short Story Contest, it was interesting to learn about the overall writing trends that emerged as the judges read through the 500 entries. I asked Angela Hoy of WritersWeekly.com if I could repost excerpts from her article about the contest’s common themes.


Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com.

WritersWeekly.com – is a free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.

After registering for the contest, entrants are given the date and time that topic will be posted. The required word count is also given at that time.  From that point forward, entrants have 24 hours to craft the story that they will submit.


The barren, tan corn stalks behind her snapped in the cold evening breeze, the only sound louder than the dry, fiery red leaves swirling around her tiny, shivering bare feet. She’d lost her bearings again and she hoped the dinner bell would ring soon. A gray tree with endless arms and fingers, devoid of any remaining foliage, loomed before her. She gazed at the odd markings on the trunk, which appeared to outline a hand-cut door of sorts. And, as she stared, it opened…

(Stories only needed to touch on that topic in some way to qualify.)

Before you continue reading, take a moment to consider where you would take that story…


The top three winners of this contest are posted HERE.


Here are our notes about common themes that emerged with this topic:

Many of the stories were dreams and visions of the characters.

There were lots of faeries!

Several stories featured children playing games in the corn fields.

There were numerous stories featuring elderly and other people who are delusional.

Several stories ended with the main character being a dog or other animal.

And, surprisingly, four stories featured the tree being a hiding place for the Underground Railroad!

As with all contests, some common themes come back again and again, no matter what the topic is.

These include:

The story is about a writer and/or it’s a writer participating in a writing contest (groan).

Vampires, aliens and other scary creatures. We always see LOTS of those.

We find out at the end that the entire story was just a movie/TV scene/play or we find out the first scene of the story (usually the topic itself) is from a movie or TV show/play or even a book or article one of the characters is reading.

The reader finds out at the very end that the main character is actually dead (is a ghost or spirit of some sort), or that the main character has dementia. We always get several retirement home or other senior citizen stories.

The main character dies at the end, and is met by a loved one or an angel of some sort. We also see lots of dead friends/relatives trying to convince the characters it’s their time to die, too, helping them to cross over, etc.

The story is dramatic but you find out at the end the characters are really children playing make-believe or that the main characters are actually animals, not people.

The main character of the story is a writer or someone in the story (usually the main character) is named Angela (the publisher of WritersWeekly).

A common fairy tale is the basis of the story.

Links to the winning stories of the current contest appear HERE.

PRIZES: 1st prize: $300 2nd prize: $250 3rd prize: $200 20+ honorable mentions + 62 door prizes!


Sign up today right HERE: http://24hourshortstorycontest.com



Still Water Muse – Short Fiction – Boyhood Angst – Writing Contest Entry

still water muse“Tell me what you think about before you write a Grammy Award winning song.”

Bernie looked out the window. “I’ll have to tell a story first.”

Maxine pressed the red button on her voice recorder.

Bernie’s eyes moved back to rest on Maxine. “My adoptive parents got me when I was fourteen. I was a dark haired Crow boy suddenly mixed in with a bunch of white, blue eyed farmers.”

“My mother knew that I was lonely and floundering. She bought me my first guitar and sent me to music lessons. The teacher wasn’t much help. But I’d take that old guitar out in back of our place through the corn fields to a big  oak tree where I’d sit and practice.”

“One day there was a woman there. She was beautiful; blonde, full-figured with long legs and huge….” Bernie grinned sheepishly.

“She was sexy but I still didn’t want her there. She stood at least a head shoulders taller than me.”

“’What’s your name kid?’ Her voice sounded like a frog with sandpaper caught in its throat. ’Bernie doesn’t sound like a Cherokee name,’ she said when I told her.”

“I shrugged my shoulders flippantly. ‘You don’t know squat about Cherokee…or C-R-O-W.’”

“She kicked at the dirt. She said that her nickname was Tiny and that it was a bad family joke. She also said that she’d heard me mutilating my guitar. She’d come to help… and to wait for the words. She looked at the tree strangely while patting its trunk.”

“We met every day through the rest of summer. She showed me things that my guitar teacher never did. I learned that she’d been a music teacher and that she came back to the tree because, ‘she got lost sometimes.’”

“When I asked if my parents could hire her to teach me, her eyes blazed and she spoke harshly, ‘If you say anything about me, they’ll never let you out of the house.’”

“As the weeks passed, Tiny taught me to say what I was feeling with music. Then I reached a block. By this time, I was in full-blown lust  – or in love with her. One afternoon when we were getting nowhere she yelled, ‘What do you want?’”

“When I didn’t answer, she stepped closer and asked the same thing again, quieter this time.”

“Before I realized what I was doing, I blurted, ’I want to hold you.’”

“I would have curled up and died on the spot if she hadn’t been smiling. She told me to close my eyes and follow her directions. So I did.”

“She told me to imagine that the guitar was her –  to run my hands over its surface, to feel its curves and to let my fingers stoke the strings. ‘Hold me closer,’ she’d say, ‘Then let the music sing softly and slowly.’”

“She broke through my wall. After that, she’d bring her guitar and we’d make music together. It was a happy time  – until fall came.”

“I remember the last time I saw Tiny. A cold breeze was blowing at sunset. I heard her music coming through my open window. It sounded crazed. When it stopped suddenly, I knew that I had to go find her. As I ran through the dry stalks of corn, I saw her guitar lying on the ground. I jumped over it and ran faster. When I found her, she was barefoot, shivering and unresponsive.  I was terrified. Eventually, I screamed, ‘Tiny! What do you want?’”

At this, she paused and turned toward me. ‘I just want to go home.’”

“Suddenly, we were both crying and I said, ‘Me too!’

“She reached a hand to cover my heart. ‘The difference between us, Bernie is that I am yearning for home, but you are already there.’ Then she kissed me.”

Bernie reached up to trace a finger where Tiny’s lips had left their invisible mark.

A sad expression settled on his face. “A full moon rose up behind the bare branches of the oak tree. I didn’t realize until later that all the leaves had been there the day before. When she got to the tree, Tiny started running her hands all over around the trunk.“

“’What are you doing?’”

“’I’m looking for the words. They have to be here!’”

“’Tiny, stop!’ I cried. She didn’t answer but kept frantically searching. ’There it is!’ she sighed, ‘I knew you’d show me the doorway sooner or later.’ She leaned into the tree hugging it like a lover.”

“‘You won’t be seeing me again,’ she said to me over her shoulder.’ But I’ll always hear you….’ she paused, waiting for me to fill in the space.”

“I couldn’t get anything out around the lump in my throat. I knew that she was waiting for me to tell her my Indian name.”

The unexpected silence that followed Bernie’s last statement was stifling.

Maxine blinked. “That’s it!  What happened to her?”

Bernie shook his head while reaching for his guitar, “That wasn’t part of the question.”

Maxine watched as he traced the contours of the tool that had millions of fans singing and humming his haunting tunes.

With eyes closed, he began to play. “My Crow name is, Still Water Dancer.”

A soft, lilting melody filled the room. “My guitar is named after my muse, Tiny.”

Maxine leaned toward him, waiting for THE scoop of her career.

“Before I write one word or play one note, I say to myself, ‘Hold me closer Tiny Dancer.’

Bernie winked playfully.

This short story was written for a Writer’s Weekly writing contest. The writing prompt [see below] was provided. The story was submitted within 24 hours after the prompt was given.

The barren, tan corn stalks behind her snapped in the cold evening breeze, the only sound louder than the dry, fiery red leaves swirling around her tiny, shivering bare feet. She’d lost her bearings again and she hoped the dinner bell would ring soon. A gray tree with endless arms and fingers, devoid of any remaining foliage, loomed before her. She gazed at the odd markings on the trunk, which appeared to outline a hand-cut door of sorts. And, as she stared, it opened…

Elton John | Tiny Dancer music and karaoke tunes

Predicting the Future – Writer’s Resources

Sicfi fans are smiling together today. It is the day that Marty McFly traveled to in the iconic Back to the Future movie. Remembering that light-hearted, entertaining story about one boy who changed the future will have many of us tuning in once again (Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy ) to share the fun with our kids.

In the original script the time travel portal was a refrigerator. It’s easy to visualize the comedic scenes that could have spun off from that idea. Would removal of a certain item cause the time travel event? Would the characters have had to squeeze inside? Would grabbing the handle make the floor drop out from under Marty and company? It was a cool idea but I think that the DeLorean was a much racier choice.

It’s been fun to see the differences between the movies’ visions of the future and what actually transpired!

Time travel, as a story theme, is fruitful ground—ripe for the imagination. Economists, politicians, governments, storytellers, futurists, scientists, dreamers, children and their parents all wonder about the future.

As a writer, I find that scenes set in the past are much easier to imagine than ones set in the future. Information, history and research is easy to access. What I enjoy most abut that type of writing is weaving in little known facts—learning becomes effortless and fun. (Author, Ken Follett is a master of this technique.)

How can a writer prep for composing futuristic fiction?

robonaut-600982_640 (2)


Currently I am working on a scenario where a character from the year 2135 travels back to the mid 1980’s.  Coming up a story rich in details that haven’t happened yet is challenging.

Since we have we have a 10-year-old son who will be ready to start his professional life somewhere around the year 2030, my research about the future has become a family affair. Together and separately we read and talk about articles in geek, science and technology magazines. We watch TV shows and documentaries where futurists entertain us with their speculations. The links below are to some of our favorites.

“The kids who will control the solar system are the ones who do not give up, who enjoy doing it and persist.” – Chuck Pell, Artist, Entrepreneur and Futurist and host of the TV series, Xploration Earth 2050.

Other Resources:

U.S. National Intelligence Council website Global Trends 2030. Articles submitted by academicians and think tank members discuss a variety of topics such as population, immigration, climate change, aging and more.

MAKE Magazine & Movement

The Futurist Magazine

As with any writing endeavor, research can take tremendous amounts of time. So much so, that it may be difficult to pinpoint where to stop.

As the cast and creators of Back to the Future point out, some future predictions were right and others were wrong. While you are working on a project, you have no idea if it will be a hit or a flop. Only time will tell.

In the end, all any writer can do is create strong characters, set the scene, make their best guess and enjoy the journey.

Today Show cast interview.


PBJ – Short Fiction – Family


WriteOn Writing Prompt: In 500 words, tell the story of a chef who strives to create the perfect dish.
He will be home in an hour.PBJ

Opening the thick, heat resistant door, I turn my head away from the blast that wants to scorch the beard from my face.  Peering inside the dark cavern, I nod with satisfaction as I see the delicate brown tones that cover the surface of my creation. Inhaling deeply, I smell its yeasty, sugary notes with hints of vanilla.

Out she comes to cool. I say as I slip on an oven mitt and pull out the hot loaf. The sound of my voice reverberates around the stainless steel surfaces of my workspace.

After some hunting, I locate the raspberry and loganberry preserves in the pantry with a satisfied, Ah ha!—this was an enterprise from last fall. My mouth grows moist just thinking the marriage of flavors that I accomplished with that particular batch.

I got up at 3:30 a.m. this morning to roast and grind sunflower seeds, hazel nuts and peanuts into nut butter.

My wife fully appreciates the delicacies that I bring home from work—food that ends up on $1,000 plates and rates the highest Michelin stars.

My son, turns up his nose at these things. He’s been known to spit them out—to the great horror of anyone looking on. He knows that it hurts my feelings. His typical response is, “Daaad, I know!” He rolls his eyes at this point. “You told me over and over that you’ve spent your entire career perfecting your craft. But I don’t like that fancy stuff!”

So here I putter, in my kitchen at home, in between shifts at the restaurant, making the world’s best peanut butter and jelly sandwich.


Here’s a musical giggle to go with the PBJ theme.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time song by Chip-man & The Buckwheat Boyz

The Family Secret – Short Fiction – Kids

Family Secret wp

“Oh, John! You must come!” Angie’s holler drifted up into his office.

Breaking the pencil in his hand, John inhaled deeply. He exposed his teeth in a Wallace and Gromit style grimace that was intended to resemble a smile. His footsteps fell heavily on the steps as he made his way down to the kitchen.  Once there, he observed his eight-month-old daughter on hands and knees poking her finger in a puddle of drool on the floor. Angie, in the same position next to Etty, pointed while exclaiming, “Look! She’s drawn the number three.”

“Huh,” he muttered, “It does rather resemble a number.”

His smile was genuine as John went back to work. He remembered thinking that maternity leave would be charming and serene. The reality was that moments like this were oh-so-brief.

They’d had one of their worst fights when Angie stated that she didn’t want to go back to work. John missed the wife who wound her hair in a bun, wore heels, challenged his theories and studied journals with newly published papers in their field. That woman had been replaced with a tennis shoe wearing woman in sports clothes who talked non-stop about their daughter.  “Etty’s special. Mark my words, John.”

When Etty gained motor control of her fingers, she covered every flat surface in their house with numbers, numbers and more numbers. Instead of drool she used crayons, markers, paintbrushes and chalk.

“There angular gyrus area of Etty’s brain, the area that processes spatial information is much more active than we see in most brains,” the specialist told them.  “You may have another Einstein on your hands.”

“See John,” Angie commented as she settled their daughter into her car seat. “I knew Etna was more advanced than the other kids in her playgroup.”

Raising a gifted child was challenging. As Etty grew, she became increasingly demanding, dictatorial and driven. Their social life became an inverse function. For every Facebook follower gained when they posted news of Etty’s accomplishments, the family’s real friends  – the ones they socialized with – reduced in quantity.

The one area where all three family members enjoyed themselves equally. It was when Etty danced. She was awkward and blissfully unselfconscious about her movements. Everywhere she twirled, things on end tables and shelves spilled, broke or were knocked to the floor. The specialists could never explain why Elton John’s music ALWAYS evoked spontaneous dancing in Etty.  It made her parents laugh, even as they picked up in the aftermath of her events. This particular nuance of their daughter’s character, John and Angie agreed, would be kept quiet.  It was fun, albeit embarrassing; how could it ever possibly matter?

Etty and her parents survived her childhood. She graduated at the top of her class at MIT. She had a job waiting for her at the nation’s leading nuclear energy developmental firm. No one, at the time, knew that the department head where Etna was about to work was a former Elton John groupie.


Behind the story:

Creative writing prompt: Where dancing ruins lives

and this video

Here’s a few Tiny Dancer tunes and Karaoke music to play with.

Tiny Dancer music & more
Tiny Dancer music & more