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A Comprehensive Guide to Scraping Images from Websites Using Python

Scraping images from websites can be an extremely useful technique for gathering visual data at scale. Whether you need images for a machine learning dataset, content for a blog, or any other purpose, being able to systematically download images from across the web is a powerful capability.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll walk through everything you need to know to scrape images from websites using Python. We‘ll cover:

  • Why you might want to scrape images and what you can use them for
  • The basics of how web scraping works
  • Choosing target websites and checking their terms of use
  • Setting up a Python scraping script
  • Extracting image URLs and downloading images
  • Best practices like using proxies to avoid getting blocked

By the end of this guide, you‘ll have the knowledge to build Python scrapers that can extract image data from almost any website. Let‘s get started!

Why Scrape Images from Websites?

Here are some of the most common reasons you might want to scrape images from the web:

Building Machine Learning Training Datasets

One of the biggest use cases for scraping images is to build training datasets for machine learning models. Whether you‘re working on image classification, object detection, or other computer vision tasks, you need large volumes of images to train accurate models. Web scraping provides a scalable way to source this training data.

For example, you could scrape product images from ecommerce sites to train a classifier that identifies different types of products. Or you could scrape images of different bird species to train a model to recognize birds. The possibilities are endless!

Populating Blogs and Other Websites With Images

Scraping can also be useful for content creators who want to legally source images to use on their own websites. For example, a blogger writing a post about cities might want to populate their article with creative commons images of city skylines scraped from Flickr. Or an educational site explaining a scientific concept could use scraped diagrams and illustrations.

Just make sure you follow proper attribution and licensing guidelines when using scraped images this way. We‘ll go over that more later.

Any Application That Requires Large Volumes of Images

Beyond machine learning and content creation, there are many other potential applications for downloaded image datasets:

  • Search engines that want to associate images with indexed pages
  • Market research and analysis of visual brand trends
  • Testing computer vision products and services at scale
  • Marketing assets and creatives
  • Academic research and archiving of imagery

The use cases are nearly limitless. Any time you need a large repository of images, scraping is a great way to build it efficiently.

How Does Web Scraping Work?

Before we jump into the code, let‘s go over some web scraping basics…

Web scraping refers to the automated extraction of data from websites. It works by:

  1. Sending an HTTP request to a target webpage to retrieve its HTML content

  2. Parsing the HTML with a scraper program to identify the relevant data

  3. Extracting the data through patterns like CSS selectors or XPath queries

  4. Saving extracted data like image URLs to a local file or database

So in our case of scraping images, we‘ll access a webpage, parse its HTML to find all <img> tags, extract the src attributes that contain the image URLs, and save the URLs to download the images.

To accomplish this, we‘ll use two essential tools:


Python is the most popular language for web scraping due to its simplicity and wealth of scraping libraries. We‘ll use the standard requests module to send HTTP requests and BeautifulSoup to parse and query the HTML.


When scraping at scale, using proxies is crucial to distribute requests across multiple IPs and avoid getting blocked. We‘ll cover how to integrate proxies into your Python code later on.

Alright, let‘s move on to choosing websites to scrape!

Choosing Target Websites for Scraping Images

The first step is picking websites with images you want to download. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Static sites are easier to scrape – Dynamic websites that load content via APIs and JavaScript will be more challenging than simple static HTML sites. Stick with static sites for your first scrapes.

  • Avoid sites that prohibit scraping – Check a site‘s terms of service to see if they allow scraping. Respected sites like Wikipedia often have scraping restrictions.

  • Look for Creative Commons licensed images – Sites like Flickr allow scraping of CC-licensed imagery for attribution. This is safer than scraping commercial sites.

  • Consider image variety and quality – Some sites will have more diverse, high-quality photos than others based on their purpose. An interior design site likely has better images for your needs than a basic blog.

  • Pick sites relevant to your goals – Tailor sites to the topic of images you want. A dataset of cat images will call for different sources than one of landscapes.

To get started, great sites to scrape include:

  • Flickr – Tons of creative commons licensed images if you filter by CC.

  • Pexels – Free stock photos users have uploaded.

  • GoodFreePhotos – Another public domain image sharing platform.

  • Any site in your industry or niche – Interior design sites for interior images, etc.

Next up, we‘ll go over the code!

Setting Up a Python Image Scraper

We‘ll use Python 3 along with the requests and BeautifulSoup modules to build our script. Here‘s how to set it up:

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
import requests

# Webpage URL 
url = ‘‘ 

# Send HTTP request and store response
response = requests.get(url)

# Parse HTML 
soup = BeautifulSoup(response.text, ‘html.parser‘)

This gives us the initial boilerplate to send the request and parse the HTML. Now let‘s get to the good stuff – extracting image URLs.

Extracting Image URLs

We want to find and loop through all <img> tags in the page‘s HTML. Here‘s how to accomplish that:

# Find all img elements 
image_tags = soup.find_all(‘img‘)

# Loop through image tags and extract URLs
for image in image_tags:

  # Get img src attribute value
  img_url = image[‘src‘]

  # Print the image URLs    

This loops through the image_tags list of elements, gets the src attribute from each, and prints the URL.

After running the script, you‘ll have a list of image URLs you can then feed into a downloader script to capture the images themselves.

Downloading Images

Now we can put it all together and write a script to scrape image URLs and also download the images.

We‘ll add a few new steps:

  • Extract the image filename from the URL to name the local file
  • Send another request to download the image itself
  • Write the image data to a local file

Here‘s the full script:

import requests
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup

# URL of page to scrape
url = ‘‘

# Get page HTML
response = requests.get(url)
soup = BeautifulSoup(response.text, ‘html.parser‘)

# Find all image elements
imgs = soup.find_all(‘img‘)

for img in imgs:

  # Get image URL
  img_url = img[‘src‘]

  # Get filename
  filename = img_url.split("/")[-1]

  # Download image 
  img_data = requests.get(img_url).content

  # Write to file
  with open(filename, ‘wb‘) as handler:

And that‘s it! This script will iterate through the image URLs, download each image, and write them to your local filesystem.

Using Proxies to Scrape Safely

When scraping images at scale, it‘s crucial to use proxies. This hides your real IP and distributes requests across multiple endpoints to avoid detection.

Here‘s how to integrate proxies into your script using the requests module:

# Rotate proxies to distribute requests
proxy_url = ‘‘ 

# Construct proxy rotation logic
proxies = []
for i in range(10):
   proxy = proxy_url + str(i) 

index = 0 

# Rotate proxies for each request
for img in imgs:

  # Get next proxy
  proxy = proxies[index]

  # Create proxies dict
  proxies = { 
    "http": proxy,
    "https": proxy,

  # Update headers for proxy
  headers = {
    ‘User-Agent‘: ‘ScrapingBot‘

  # Send request with proxy  
  response = requests.get(img_url, proxies=proxies, headers=headers)

  if index == len(proxies):
    index = 0 

This provides a simple way to load a list of proxies, rotate through them in order for each request, and route your requests through them.

Using residential proxies that provide real device IPs is the best approach for image scraping versus datacenter proxies. This avoids easy blocking based on infrastructure IP ranges.

Best Practices for Scraping Images

Here are a few other tips for effective, safe image scraping:

  • Check robots.txt – Read a site‘s robots.txt file first to understand scraping limitations

  • Limit request speed – Don‘t hammer sites with an excessive number of rapid requests. Add delays between requests.

  • Follow image attribution terms – If you plan to re-use scraped images, be sure to provide proper attribution per Creative Commons and public domain rules

  • Store extracted data responsibly – Follow data protection best practices like encryption when storing scraped image datasets locally or in the cloud

  • Scrape ethically – Avoid putting excessive strain on sites you scrape and respect website terms of service

Scraping Images of Any Site with No Code Tools

If you don‘t want to code your own image scraper, scraper APIs and browser extensions provide a no code alternative:

  • ScrapingBee API – Scraper API with image scraping capabilities and a free plan

  • ParseHub – Visual web scraper with image extraction features

  • Octoparse – GUI web scraper and scraper bot with image grabbing support

  • Scraper API – Browser API and scraper bots that can extract images

These tools make it easy to point-and-click your way to extracting images from sites without writing any Python.


And there you have it – a comprehensive guide to scraping images with Python, from understanding why and how to scrape to writing your own scripts. The techniques covered here should equip you to start scraping almost any site for images.

Some key takeaways:

  • Web scraping is extremely useful for aggregating image data at scale for datasets, content sites, and more

  • Python libraries like requests and Beautiful Soup make it straightforward to write scrapers

  • Always use proxies and other best practices to scrape safely and avoid blocks

  • No code scraper tools provide a simplified alternative to writing your own code

Whichever approach you choose, having the ability to systematically scrape and download images opens up many possibilities for projects and applications.

Happy image scraping! Let us know if you have any other questions.

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