How to Use the Pexels API to Randomize Images with Bannerbear

Learn how to use the Pexels API and write a short script that retrieves a random relevant graphic for your Bannerbear image generation workflows.
by Julianne Youngberg ·


    ⚠️ Warning: This is a low-code tutorial. A sample script is provided, but a fundamental understanding of JavaScript will help you modify it to suit your needs.

    When generating images automatically, you often need them to match: identical background photos, exact formats, and so on. But sometimes, you just want to make sure your final product contains relevant elements while being unique. There’s just one caveat: you shouldn’t have to do it manually.

    Incorporating a step that selects randomized images from a stock photo site, like Pexels, is a great solution. With the Pexels API, you can easily pull images and use them to create unique graphics with Bannerbear.

    In this article, you’ll learn how to access the Pexels API and incorporate its capabilities into your Bannerbear nocode workflows. Let’s get started!

    Automatically Sourcing Images for Bannerbear Workflows Online

    Pexels' image API is a powerful tool for sourcing relevant images automatically. With it, you can easily access a vast library of high-quality images.

    Screenshot of Pexels home page

    When you use Zapier to run a script that retrieves random relevant photos from Pexels, you can use them with Bannerbear in consecutive steps for things like:

    Overall, Pexels' API provides an efficient and cost-effective way to source and use images for various purposes—and you don’t need much technical ability to use it.

    Here’s how you can start using the Pexels API with Bannerbear:

    Get a Pexels API Key

    To use the Pexels API, you’ll need access to an API key. This means signing up for an account, generating a key, and saving it for your project.

    Sign Up for an Account

    Go to the Pexels home page and log into your account. If you don’t have one yet, sign up by clicking Join.

    Screenshot of Pexels home page with red arrow pointing to Join

    Fill in the name, email, and password fields. You can also sign up using Facebook, Apple, or Google accounts.

    Screenshot of Pexels sign up page

    Click Create New Account when you’re done.

    Generate an API Key

    While logged into your account, hover over the profile icon in the top right corner. Click Image & Video API.

    Screenshot of Pexels menu with red arrow pointing to Image & Video API

    You should now load the API page. Click Your API Key.

    Screenshot of Pexels Image & API page

    Pexels generates new API keys for every project, and you’ll have to fill in a form before getting a key.

    Fill in your project details, including its name, category, description, and a website URL if applicable.

    After agreeing to the terms and conditions, click Generate API Key.

    Screenshot of Pexels API key generation page

    You should now have access to an API key that you can save and use in your workflows.

    Prepare the Script

    Pexels has yet to release a built-in Zapier integration, but we can use a short script to choose a random image based on set requirements.

    Bear Tip 🐻: Pexels has official client libraries for Ruby, JavaScript, and .net. We will be using JavaScript for the sake of this tutorial.

    Pexels’ GET endpoint allows you to set parameters for:

    • Query (keyword string)
    • Orientation (landscape, portrait, or square)
    • Size (small, medium, or large)
    • Color (red, orange, yellow, etc.)
    • Locale (‘en-US’, ‘pt-BR’, ‘es-ES’, etc.)
    • Page (page number requested)
    • Per Page (number of results requested per page)

    Bear Tip 🐻: Read more about the Pexels API and parameters you can use for retrieving images in their documentation.

    We have prepared a sample script you can use to set up image variables, fetch random images matching your parameters from Pexels, and return an object containing the link to the random image:

    let images = [];
    const res = await fetch(
        headers: { 'Authorization': inputData.pexels_api_key }
      }).then(res => res.json())
      .then(json => {
        images = json['photos']
    return { link: images[Math.floor(Math.random() * images.length)]['src']['large'] };

    You’ll have to adjust the script to align with your needs. Do this by modifying the request in line 2 (eg. changing orientation=landscape to orientation=portrait), keeping the supported options described in the documentation in mind.

    Make sure there is an ampersand (&) in betweeen every parameter.

    Screenshot of Pexels image fetching script with red box around parameters

    Remove any unneeded parameters.

    Screenshot of Pexels image fetching script with red line crossing out parameter

    You should be left with a script that retrieves random images based on your needs.

    Add a Retrieve Images Action to Your Zap

    Now that your script is ready, all that’s left to do is to add an action to your Zap that sets up image variables, fetches relevant images, and returns it as an object you can use in the following actions.

    Log into your Zapier account, and load into the editor for your Zap.

    Add a new action, choosing Code by Zapier as the app. Select Run JavaScript as the event.

    Screenshot of Zapier Run Javascript in Code action

    Set up the action by adding two pieces of Input Data : keyword and pexels_api_key. Your keyword can be inserted as text or as a dynamic item from a previous step of the Zap.

    Paste your modified script into the Code section.

    Screenshot of Zapier Run Javascript in Code action setup

    Click Continue and test the action. It should return a link to an image matching your set parameters.

    Screenshot of Zapier Run Javascript in Code action test results

    Use Output in Consecutive Steps

    All that’s left is to complete your Zap. If you’re producing images with Bannerbear, this usually means a Create Image with Bannerbear action. Simply set up an action as you normally would, then use the media link produced from the Run JavaScript in Code by Zapier action as the input data.

    Screenshot of Zapier Bannerbear create image action

    This dynamic link will produce a different relevant image every time the automation is run, allowing you to generate unique graphics.

    Some other ways you can use the retrieved images from Pexels are:

    • Automatically selecting stock graphics to match social media captions
    • Generating videos or animated GIFs
    • Storing photos for later use

    The possibilities are endless!

    Randomize Images with the Pexels API

    Using the Pexels API to randomize images with Bannerbear is a powerful and easy-to-use solution for when you want to generate unique graphics without having to source materials manually. With the ability to access an ever-growing library of high-quality images and the flexibility to set various parameters, Pexels’ API is efficient and cost-effective.

    By following the steps outlined in this article, you can quickly incorporate Pexels into your Bannerbear workflows and generate amazing graphics that will stand out from the rest. Try it out for yourself, and see how much easier and more enjoyable working with images can be!

    About the authorJulianne Youngberg@paradoxicaljul
    Julianne is a technical content specialist fascinated with digital tools and how they can optimize our lives. She enjoys bridging product-user gaps using the power of words.

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    How to Use the Pexels API to Randomize Images with Bannerbear
    How to Use the Pexels API to Randomize Images with Bannerbear