Here’s rule #3: Use at least one strong image for each blog post.
This seems much easier than it is. Occasionally, I start with the perfect image (artists sometimes like to say images instead of saying pictures. We just want you to use them and you can call them whatever you want) and build my post from there. Those days are rare. Finding an image and making it useable takes as long as writing a 400 word post some days.
Most bloggers don’t have a photo budget. We have to work to find the right image. If you have a budget for buying stock photos, life is a lot easier. However, it’s not a guarantee that you’re going to find exactly what you need. Unfortunately good pictures don’t grow on tree’s so you are going to have to go out and find your own!
Legal Sources for Pictures and Photos
So, how do you find images to use legally?
1. There are a lot of sites that provide free images. Some of them offer illustrations, vector images, photographs and more. Some even have stock video that you can use. You can find great images at the following sites:
Rgbstock is a great place to begin your image search. Just read the licensing agreements, you know—like you always should!
Morguefiles is one of my go-to sites for photos. Their downloads of pictures require no attribution, but they do require alteration. It can be as simple as adding a frame to the photo. Pixlr (see #3) allows lots of options –many of them are fun to play with.
Kozzi overflows with free images. The search can be awkward, but you can find some great pictures.
Flicker’s Creative Commons is a good source of photos, but it can require a lot of time to find the image you want with a license you like. There are many free images here, but many that are copyrighted. Be careful what you choose. Read the license carefully.
istockphoto offers a few free photos each week. It’s worth registering. They may have just what you need gratis.
Freedigitalphotos has super free photos, but the license requires an attribution. This shouldn’t be difficult. In fact, it should be your norm unless you’re using a sight like morguefiles that specifically states no attribution in necessary. If you’d like to use an image from freedigitalphotos without an affirmation, you can buy it.
Fotolia has some free images, but most are for sale
Can’t find the right picture? Make Your own!
2. Use your own images or find a friend to create what you need. This is fine if you’re not in a hurry. I’m usually looking for images at the last minute, so this rarely works for me.
3. Editing software is your friend. If you’re a photoshop guru, skip this point. If you’re like me, keep reading. The best site I’ve found to alter photos for my blog is www.pixlr.com. It’s fairly intuitive. (I know people say that about things when it’s not true, but trust me. This is very do-able with a little practice.)
4. Please give credit where it’s due. Give a credit to the photographer. Link back to the original work of where you found the picture. Write the artist a note giving her the link to your work that incorporates hers. It’s common courtesy and it’s just a nice thing to do.
What other tips do you have for including an image with each post?