How to Use Reference Photos in Midjourney


When it comes to harnessing the power of reference photos in Midjourney, you’re stepping into a world of boundless creativity. Midjourney offers an array of features that allow you to seamlessly integrate reference images into your prompts, fueling your imagination and elevating your creative outputs. Whether you’re a writer, artist, or content creator, this guide will walk you through the process of utilizing reference photos in Midjourney with finesse and expertise.

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How to Use Reference Photos in Midjourney

To use reference photos in Midjourney, follow these steps:

Upload Your Image: Start by uploading your desired reference image to Discord. You can do this by double-clicking the “+” icon next to the text bar or by selecting ‘Upload a File’.

Command Your Image: After uploading, employ the /imagine command. This will add the image’s URL to your prompt, seamlessly incorporating the visual element.

URL Requirements: Ensure that the URL of the image ends with a valid extension such as .png, .gif, or .jpg. This step ensures proper compatibility and display within Midjourney.

Drag and Drop: For added convenience, you can directly drag the image file into the prompt box. Alternatively, right-click and paste the image link within the prompt box.

Enhanced Privacy: Should you prioritize privacy, consider direct messaging the image to the Midjourney Bot. This prevents other users from accessing the image.

Amplify Image Influence: To enhance the impact of your reference image, utilize the “–iw N” parameter. N represents a value between 0.5 and 2. Experiment with different values to achieve your desired effect. The default value is 1.0.

Version Compatibility: Keep in mind that different versions of Midjourney models may have varying image weight ranges. Be sure to adjust the parameter accordingly.

In summary, incorporating reference photos into your Midjourney experience involves uploading the image, integrating it using the /imagine command, and potentially enhancing its influence through parameter adjustments.

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Elevating Your Creative Process

Now that you have the basics covered, let’s explore some advanced tips to elevate your creative process with reference photos:

1. Exploring Multiple Perspectives

Dive into the world of multi-perspective exploration by utilizing a range of reference photos. Experiment with varying angles, lighting, and compositions to breathe life into your creations.

2. Infusing Realism

Inject realism into your work by selecting reference images that capture intricate details. These details can serve as invaluable guides, aiding in the depiction of textures and proportions.

3. Fusing Imagination and Reality

Blend the lines between imagination and reality by using reference photos as a foundation and allowing your creativity to take the reins. Let your mind wander while maintaining a solid visual base.

4. Collaborative Creations

Engage in collaborative projects by sharing reference photos with fellow Midjourney users. Exchange ideas, draw inspiration, and witness the magic of collective creativity.

5. Cross-Disciplinary Inspiration

Don’t restrict yourself to one medium. Draw inspiration from reference photos spanning various genres and art forms. A photograph meant for a landscape could spark a captivating character concept.


Q: Can I use reference photos with any type of prompt?

A: Absolutely! Whether you’re crafting a story, generating art, or brainstorming ideas, reference photos can enhance your Midjourney experience across all prompts.

Q: Are there limitations to the image file size?

A: While Midjourney doesn’t impose strict size limits, larger image files might affect prompt generation speed. Optimal sizes typically range between 500KB to 5MB.

Q: Can I use copyrighted images as reference?

A: It’s recommended to use images that you have the right to use. For copyrighted material, consider seeking proper permissions or utilizing royalty-free resources.

Q: How do I know which “–iw” value to use?

A: Start with the default value of 1.0 and gradually experiment. Lower values like 0.5 reduce image influence, while higher values like 2.0 intensify it.

Q: Can I share prompts with enhanced reference images?

A: Absolutely. Sharing your prompts with enhanced reference images can provide collaborators or clients with a clearer vision of your creative direction.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of reference photos I can use?

A: Midjourney doesn’t impose a strict limit, but consider maintaining a balance. Overloading a prompt with too many reference photos might impact prompt clarity.


Unleash your creative prowess by harnessing the potential of reference photos in Midjourney. From seamlessly integrating images to amplifying their influence, this guide has equipped you with the tools to embark on an enriched creative journey. Elevate your prompts, refine your artistry, and watch as your imagination flourishes. Remember, with Midjourney, the only limit is the scope of your dreams.

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