How to Use DALL-E To Generate Images

How to Use DALL-E To Generate Images

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools are revolutionizing numerous sectors, such as marketing, finance, manufacturing, and content creation. With the right prompts, AI tools can help you produce new forms of data, including images and text, explore new creative fields, and quickly try different ideas.

OpenAI’s DALL-E is a generative AI platform tailored for image generation. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or simply an enthusiast, DALL-E allows you to produce images in various styles, including photorealistic, surrealistic, and minimalist.

Regardless of your sector, DALL-E can help you with AI image generation tasks. For instance, educators can use DALL-E to illustrate complex concepts, while marketers can leverage this technology to generate visual materials for their campaigns. Graphic designers can also quickly produce illustrations of creative materials that they can build upon.

Keep reading to uncover how you can use DALL-E to generate stunning images.

Table of contents:

What is DALL-E?

DALL-E is an AI art generator that lets you generate images from simple textual descriptions. Released in 2021, DALL-E has come a long way from generating incomprehensible splotches to producing photorealistic images.

DALL-E has also evolved—from DALL-E to DALL-E 2 and now DALL-E 3. Compared to previous versions, DALL-E 3 can produce high-quality images better, process and interpret prompts more accurately, and even decipher context more effectively.

At the core of DALL-E, you’ll find deep learning models, machine learning algorithms, and natural language processing technology working together behind the scenes to contribute to its overall functionality.

Specifically, DALL-E runs on a modified version of the generative pretrained transformer model (GPT). In this case, it's tailored for image generation. These models have been trained using vast amounts of data containing text-image pairs, which enables DALL-E to generate images in different art styles.

Getting started with DALL-E

The DALL-E 3 image creator is directly integrated into ChatGPT, providing an intuitive and user-friendly platform. OpenAI also has partnerships with platforms like Microsoft and Bing, which enhance user experience. Apart from the web browser version, you can download the Microsoft Bing Chat app and use it on your phone to perform tasks like text and image generation.

Note: In this article, we’ll use DALL-E 3 to generate images. DALL-E 3 is integrated into ChatGPT Plus, requiring a monthly subscription of $20. Depending on your needs and budget, OpenAI also offers other pricing packages to suit your needs.

To access DALL-E 3, you need an OpenAI account, which you can create from the official website (

You can create an account using an email and password or use Google, Microsoft, or Apple credentials, as shown below.

Create your account

Once you’ve created an account, log in and proceed to the following ChatGPT dashboard.

ChatGPT dashboard

Click on DALL-E on the left navigation bar to access the DALL-E dashboard.


And with that, you’re ready to start submitting prompts and generating images with DALL-E.

How to create images with DALL-E

From creating effective text prompts to saving and using generated images, here are steps for creating images with DALL-E.

1. Create effective text prompts

While DALL-E can generate stunning and appealing images, you must submit the right prompts to get it to produce the desired outputs. Note that the details and specificity of a text prompt can drastically alter the output.

For example, a prompt like “a dog near a house” is a little vague since it does not specify what kind of dog or type of house DALL-E should produce. In this case, a good text prompt could be “a fluffy golden retriever sitting outside a red barn and looking in the distance.”

Another example of a vague prompt is something like “a car.” Such a prompt will give DALL-E more creative freedom to produce different car images, some of which may be unsuitable for your use. Instead, use a prompt like “a vintage red car parked next to an old-fashioned hotel.”

When working with DALL-E, consider tweaking your prompts to access varied results. Use different adjectives to describe scenes and characters. You may want to specify mood, actions, lighting, and artistic style. Also, try out different angles and perspectives to generate more unique images. And since DALL-E uses text descriptions to produce images, understanding its natural language capabilities can help you produce better results.

2. Generate your image

Once you’ve entered a prompt, click the send message button to generate images with DALL-E, as illustrated below.

Generate your image

As shown above, immediately after submitting a text prompt, DALL-E begins processing the prompt and creating an image. However, the processing time may vary depending on several factors, such as server load, internet connection, and the complexity of the prompt.

3. Manage expectations

Like other AI-powered tools, DALL-E has ambiguities and flaws in interpretation, meaning its outputs might not be perfect. In some cases, DALL-E can misinterpret provided prompts and generate images that don’t fit your needs.

As a result, you need to keep an open mind and be ready to embrace the “surprise element” in DALL-E’s image creations. Such outputs can actually inspire and help you be more creative in your artistic journey. Besides, DALL-E’s outputs can serve as a learning opportunity, allowing you to identify what you need to change and what to keep while drafting your next prompt.

4. Refine and iterate

You can refine DALL-E’s outputs to enhance their quality and tailor them to your needs. Techniques like inpainting and outpainting can help you alter existing images to expand their scope or focus more on specific objects or scenes.

However, inpainting and outpainting features are yet to be fully integrated into DALL-E 3. A good alternative to these features is to manually tweak your prompts to allow DALL-E to produce images with wider aspect ratios or with different objects.

To illustrate, we used the prompt “a vintage red car parked next to an old-fashioned hotel” to generate the following image and then asked DALL-E to increase its aspect ratio.

Original image:

Original image

Image with wide aspect ratio:

Wide aspect ratio

Note that there may be some variations in the above visuals, including different license plates, rims, and front bumpers. Nevertheless, each new image serves as a learning opportunity, allowing you to try different ideas and find those that suit your needs. Always inspect your images closely to ensure that details are correct and appropriate for your needs.

5. Save and use images

Once DALL-E has produced the desired images, you can download and save the image. To do this, press the small arrow button at the top right corner of an image, as illustrated below.

Save and use images

Alternatively, you can click on an image to access an expanded view. Then, you can right-click on your mouse and save the image, as shown below.

Save and use images 2

Relating to digital rights, you have complete ownership of the images you generate with DALL-E. This includes the right to reprint, sell, merchandise, or use for other commercial activities. Images generated with DALL-E 3 do not have visible watermarks. However, the original image name shows the DALL-E model and the time and date the image was created.

Whether you’re working on personal projects, graphic design, or other creative endeavors, DALL-E images can add a creative touch, allowing you to visualize ideas and quickly produce artwork in different styles. For instance, DALL-E can help produce images for your website and social media to boost engagement.

You can also use DALL-E to create scenes and characters to assist you in conveying a story. A good example is illustrating a children’s book because this format requires a lot of visuals to communicate with young readers.

Tips for using DALL-E

DALL-E is a robust AI platform that can enhance your creative process. Here are some tips to help you harness the power of DALL-E in your workflow.

  • Use clear prompts. While DALL-E is a powerful platform capable of producing stunning images, you have to submit concise and descriptive prompts. At the same time, DALL-E may have trouble interpreting overly complex textual descriptions. Typically, a good text prompt should include details like mood, colors, setting, style, and aspect ratio.
  • Experiment with different styles. DALL-E has been trained on vast amounts of data, allowing it to generate images in different styles, such as photorealistic, minimalist, or 3D visualization. Consider experimenting with different styles to find images that suit your needs.
  • Refine prompts. Like other AI tools, DALL-E might not return desirable outputs from each prompt. When this happens, try to change different words and phrases and resubmit the prompt.
  • Understand DALL-E’s content policy. Understanding DALL-E terms and conditions allows you to make effective use of the tool while staying in compliance. This ensures you don’t violate policies that could lead to an account ban.
  • Keep yourself up to date. OpenAI regularly releases updates to its deep learning models like GPT and DALL-E. It’s a good idea to keep yourself updated with the latest advancements to harness the power of these AI platforms effectively.
  • Join forums. Participating in online forums like those on Reddit and the DALL-E community can help you learn from peers and improve your understanding of DALL-E. For instance, you can discover how to draft effective prompts that will lead to desired images when submitted in DALL-E. You can also access different tutorials to boost your knowledge of DALL-E.
  • Find freelance opportunities to use DALL-E. Look for freelance opportunities on platforms like Upwork. Apart from earning extra income, you can gain experience using DALL-E, which you can apply in other areas.
  • Share your work. Sharing AI-generated images with others can help you get valuable feedback, which you can use to customize your prompts for better results. Besides online forums, consider using social media platforms like Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Instagram.

Examples of what you can generate with DALL-E

In this section, we’ll generate images in different styles to demonstrate DALL-E’s capabilities. Note, we’ll use the ChatGPT chatbot to generate tailored prompts and then add them to DALL-E to produce the images. You can draw inspiration from these prompts to create your own.


Prompt: A photo of an autumn forest scene with trees covered in golden and amber leaves. A small, serene lake reflects the colorful foliage and the clear blue sky. Nikon D810, ƒ/2.5, focal length: 85.0 mm, exposure time: 1/800, ISO: 200



Prompt: An impressionist-style oil painting of a serene lakeside at sunset, with vibrant colors and visible brush strokes creating a dreamy, textured effect.



Prompt: A surrealistic painting where time and nature blend in an impossible way. A large, antique clock is melting over the branches of a lone tree in a vast desert landscape, symbolizing the fluidity of time. The sky above is a vivid canvas of swirling colors, dotted with floating islands defying gravity.

Enormous, colorful butterflies flutter around these islands, adding a whimsical and fantastical element to the scene. The composition challenges the viewer's perception of reality, evoking a sense of wonder and intrigue.



Prompt: An abstract composition featuring a blend of geometric and organic shapes with a vibrant color palette of blues, reds, and yellows, intersecting and overlapping in a dynamic and harmonious arrangement.


Pop art

Prompt: A pop art image featuring a comic book character with bold outlines, bright primary colors, and dotted shading set against a background of colorful, repetitive patterns and a speech bubble with a catchy phrase.

Pop art

Note: When using AI-generated images, especially those created from detailed prompts like the one above, it's crucial to inspect and proofread the final product closely. In the generated image, the speech bubble included the phrase "Blast of to adventure," which should ideally be "Blast off to adventure." This small oversight underscores the importance of careful examination of both the visual and textual elements in AI-generated art. Always ensure accuracy and appropriateness before using the image in any professional or public context.


Prompt: A detailed mosaic capturing the essence of a quaint Mediterranean village by the sea. Each tile piece, carefully selected for its hue and shape, contributes to the vibrant depiction of charming, sun-bathed houses with terracotta roofs nestled along the winding coastline.

Small boats, each meticulously crafted from shades of blue and green tiles, float gently on the water that glimmers under the radiant sun. The entire scene is framed by a clear sky rendered in a gradient of blue tiles, conveying the tranquil and picturesque beauty of the seaside setting.



Prompt: A fantasy-style image showcasing a majestic dragon perched atop a towering cliff overlooking a mystical forest with ancient trees and a magical, glowing river winding through it under a starlit night sky with a full moon.



Prompt: A minimalistic illustration of a single tree in a serene and peaceful landscape, using a limited color palette of soft greens and blues.


Science fiction

Prompt: A futuristic cityscape on a distant alien planet featuring towering crystalline skyscrapers that emit an otherworldly glow, hovering spacecraft zooming through neon-lit highways in the sky, and a purple-hued, bioluminescent flora that thrives amidst the advanced technology.

Science fiction

Find AI artists on Upwork

Whether you’re an artist or non-artist, DALL-E can inspire and assist you in producing appealing images quickly. You can also use DALL-E to explore ideas and visualize new concepts to determine if they suit your needs.

However, DALL-E requires users to submit clear and descriptive prompts to generate the desired digital art. Consider working with AI artists on Upwork to help you integrate AI art tools like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney in your workflow.

And if you’re an expert looking for work, Upwork can help you find different AI art jobs and projects that you can use to build your portfolio while earning extra income. Get started today.

Upwork is an OpenAI partner, giving OpenAI customers and other businesses direct access to trusted expert independent professionals experienced in working with OpenAI technologies.

Upwork does not control, operate, or sponsor the other tools or services discussed in this article, which are only provided as potential options. Each reader and company should take the time to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.


Projects related to this article:
No items found.

Author Spotlight

How to Use DALL-E To Generate Images
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

Get This Article as a PDF

For easy printing, reading, and sharing.

Download PDF

Latest articles

X Icon