Complete Guide to Image Prompts in Midjourney

December 7, 2023

Tory Barber

Midjourney image prompt graphic

How to Prompt with Images in Midjourney?

There are two ways a person can add reference images to Midjourney:

  • Image Prompting
  • Use the /blend command.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on Image prompting since it has the broadest use cases.

What is Image Prompting?

Image prompting refers to the process of adding image link(s) to the beginning of your /imagine command. This allows you to pull styles, compositions, & colors from your reference.

Midjourney Image Prompt location

You can add what seems like an unlimited number of URLs to your prompt. I’ve tested added up to 11 with no issues.

Image prompting is a great way to ensure that all your assets across your project maintain a similar style; especially when used with Midjourney’s Style Tuning command.

How to Add an Image to Midjourney?

All you need to use image prompting is the URL of an image hosted somewhere on the internet. If the image you are going to use, already exists on the web you can just use that URL. However, if the image is not already hosted, you can add it to Discord’s servers and copy the URL there.

From Midjourney

To add an image directly in Discord, simply press the “+” on the left-hand side of the chat bar, and then press the “upload file” option from the popup menu. Alternatively, you could just double-click the “+” button to bypass the popup menu.

Upload an image button in Midjourney Discord private chat

Next, select the image you’d like to upload and press enter to send that image into your chat.

Finder window selecting Miami Vice image

Select File

File uploaded to chat

Successful File Upload

Now all you’ll need to do is copy this image’s URL. How to do this depends on what device and application you’ve opened Discord in.

Copy image link Midjourney Discord Desktop App

Discord Desktop App

Right-click the image and click “Copy Link“.

Copy image link Midjourney Discord Web App

Discord Web App

Click on the image, then right-click and select “Copy image address.”

Copy image link Midjourney Discord Desktop App

Discord Mobile App

Tap and hold the image, then select “Copy Media Link.”

Still having trouble? Simply open the image in your browser and copy the URL from the top bar of your browser.

From the Web

Copying the URL of online images is even easier than uploading to Discord since the images are already uploaded to the internet. Simply right-click your image and open it in its own tab. This way we can just click on the URL bar at the top of our browsers and copy the URL for that particular image.

Open image in a new tab right click

Open Image in New Tab

Open image in a new tab URL copy

Copy Image URL

Allowed File Types

The image prompt will only accept URLs with the following extensions:

  • png
  • gif
  • jpg

While you can upload other file types to Discord such as webps, the /imagine prompt won’t accept them in its image prompt area.

How to Add Reference Images to Your Prompt in Midjourney?

Now that you have ensured your images have been uploaded to the internet, type in the /imagine command, and simply paste the URL(s) you would like to reference in the first part of the prompt area. Make sure you have a space in between each of the URLs.

Midjourney Image Prompt location

Next, add in your text prompt and parameters, then press enter and watch the magic happen.

Do You Need to Add a Text Prompt?

As long as you’ve added more than one image URL, you do not need to add a text prompt. If you’ve only added one photo then you’ll obviously need a text prompt, otherwise there’s nothing to combine with the image’s style.

That being said, if you don’t plan on adding a text prompt, you may consider using Midjourney’s blend command instead. It’s built to blend images together and is much easier to use.

Image Prompt Parameters

I go into much more detail about Midjourney’s Parameters in my Visual Guide, but for the purposes of this article, here are a couple that are particularly helpful for image prompts, and a couple more that won’t work when images are added.

Helpful Image Prompt Parameters

Image Weight

–iw 0-2

Image weight is a parameter built for image prompts. It dictates how much weight you’d like Midjourney to put on the image prompt versus the text prompt. The lower the number, the more Midjourney will focus on the text prompt, the higher the number, the more it will focus on the image prompt.

image weight parameter prompt Midjourney

See how each of the following images become closer and closer to the reference image? Colors and composition get closer to the original image the higher the –iw value. The last one even adds a woman even though she is not part of the prompt!

Reference Image

woman at the motel pool illustration original image weight

–iw 0.5

Miami vice style illustration of a car image weight 0.5

–iw 1

Miami vice style illustration of a car image weight 1

–iw 1.5

Miami vice style illustration of a car image weight 1.5

–iw 2

Miami vice style illustration of a car image weight 2

Aspect Ratio

–ar <number>:<number>     –aspect <number>:<number>

Midjourney warns that for the best results, you should ensure the aspect ratio of the reference image and final image are the same. This is where –ar comes in. It allows you to dictate the aspect ratio of your generated images.

Midjourney aspect ratio parameter in a prompt

No

–no

When you add images for reference, you never know what part of the image Midjourney will key on. Sometimes it will pull in elements you do not want in your final image. This is where the –no parameter comes into play, it allows you to list things you don’t want in the final images.

midjourney no parameter prompt

Take our examples from the –iw section. When we turned the –iw up to 2 it added the woman even though we didn’t prompt for her. Let’s use negative prompting to remove her.

Reference Image

woman at the motel pool illustration original image weight

Before

Miami vice style illustration of a car image weight 2

After

Miami vice style illustration of a car no womN

Parameters that Don’t Work with Image Prompts

Weird and stylize do not work with imagine prompts with no text prompt.

How Graphic Designers Use It

Due to its ability to generate images with a more consistent style, image prompts open the door up further for creatives to utilize Midjourney as a tool.

Here are a couple of ways I am personally using Image prompts in my own day job:

Character design

I actually used Midjourney to create the characters on my agency’s site Fulton St. Digital!

I first prompted until I found a character I liked.

Fulton St. Character Generation original style

Prompt:

1970s stylize flat vector minimalistic illustration of a female graphic designer wearing glasses with brown hair dressed in jeans & a t-shirt on a white background; big 1970s cartoon eyes and cartoon gloved hands; exaggerated proportions; modern and minimalistic –ar 4:7 –niji 5 –style cute

I then used the image prompt to generate male and female characters of a similar style that better matched how my husband and I look.

Fulton St. Character Generation male

Prompt:

https://s.mj.run/954OWOTCr8s 1970s stylize flat vector minimalistic illustration of a female graphic designer wearing rectangle glasses with long brown hair dressed in jeans & a t-shirt on a white background; big 1970s cartoon eyes and cartoon gloved hands; exaggerated proportions; modern and minimalistic –ar 4:7 –niji 5 –style cute

Fulton St. Character Generation

Prompt:

https://s.mj.run/954OWOTCr8s 1970s stylize flat vector minimalistic illustration of a female graphic designer wearing rectangle glasses with long brown hair dressed in jeans & a t-shirt on a white background; big 1970s cartoon eyes and cartoon gloved hands; exaggerated proportions; modern and minimalistic –ar 4:7 –niji 5 –style cute

I simply pasted the link to my original character in the image prompt area and then adjusted the text prompt to better match each of us. A few generations later I have the beginnings of my branded mascots!

I brought these images into Illustrator, vectorized them, and added some personal details of course, but much of the heavy lifting was done by Midjourney!

Tory & Matt Fulton St. Characters

It still took a decent amount of time to get the characters I was looking for, but I had both characters generated, vectorized, and personalized all within a day! That’s insanely quick!!

Not to mention the future benefits! Now that I have my two characters finalized, I can use image prompts to prompt to see how they may look in different positions, doing different things. This will be incredibly helpful for when I go to animate them! Now I can get inspiration for how to position them within seconds with Midjourney!

Combine with style tuner to generate consistent on-brand images

Like image prompts, Midjourney’s Style Tuner helps creatives generate images with consistent styles. When the two methods are combined, they become unstoppable!!

I go into how to do this in more detail in my Style Tuning article, but here’s a quick overview for the purposes of this post:

Simply add image URLs to the beginning of your /tune command—same you would with /imagine…

image prompt in tune command Midjourney

…train your style on the tuning link…

Midjourney Style tuning training

…and then use the style code to generate beautifully consistent images!

Synthwave Miami Vice Illustration of a car generated in Midjourney

Prompt: https://s.mj.run/QTu1tRspjrM an illustration of a car parked on the beach in the style of miami vice, synthwave 80s video game illustration –style kBLAwFldmf2el6iT –ar 16:9

This is perfect for large marketing campaigns, website designs, or any other project where you need a large amount of visually similar images!

 

How are you using image prompts? Reach out, I’d love to hear more ideas!

Privacy Warning

Important thing to note, all the images you upload to Discord, and all the images you add to your image prompt can be used to train future models of Midjourney according to their terms of service.

So be careful in uploading your own work, or even worse, someone else’s work you don’t have permission to share because you could inadvertently train future versions to be able to replicate it.

Tory Barber Headshot Thumbnail

About Me

Hi I’m Tory!I’m a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, and AI OBSESSED artist from good ol’ Canada, eh!I record all the things I learn as I dive deeper into the Generative AI rabbit hole so I can teach people like you!

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