Images are an important way to add that extra kick to your blog posts. They are often the first thing that attracts visitors to read further. But where do you find good image?
After completing your masterpiece, you begin to search endlessly around the internet for an image that depicts the core message of your post. When you finally find that perfect one, it is locked up in licenses and conditions that require a lawyer or a credit card. You are obviously frustrated and find yourself spending more time looking for another image than writing that post. Let’s explore some resources that will help you find that image!
Stock photography sites require a paid subscription and offer many choices and sometimes the best results. It can also be the most played out, overused, politically correct looking fluff out there. However, there are so many sources available, from the super expensive sites like Getty, to the middle of the road places like Shutter Stock and iStockPhoto.
Creative Commons is a tax-exempt charitable corporation that works with artists to set various licenses for their work. They search various places like Flickr, Google, Yahoo, etc. For these ‘free’ sites, you will usually need to attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. No matter which sources you use, it is important to credit the image. If possible, you should also attempt to inform the authors that you used their work and provide them with a link.
Here is an cool introductory video on the basic idea behind Creative Commons called “Wanna Work Together?“.
FreeFoto.com is another great resource that uses the Creative Commons license. You can only use images in an online setting, and must provide attribution and a link to either the photo or the site. Stock Exchange also allows you to re-use images available on the site. It offers more than 100,000 free images taken by amateur photographers around the world. Due to the overuse of the site, Stock Exchange can be a little slow.
National Parks Service Digital Image Archives has some beautiful nature images that are all free to use. The images may be used without a copyright release. Need a great shot of the Grand Canyon, a landscape or a mountain vista? This is a great resource for those types of images. I used a picture from here in the title graphic to incorporate it into my theme of the ‘wild west’ of internet imagery. ;)
Public Libraries such as the New York Public Libraries Digital Gallery have some great images that can be used humorously or as historical points of reference. The low-resolution images available on the website are suitable for immediate printing or downloading to provide good-quality reference for a wide range of educational, creative, and research purposes.
Or maybe you need a photo of a chicken or maybe a certain crop? Check out some of the images, offered for low resolution download, on the USDA Agricultural Research Service site.
At Public-Domain-Photos.com , you have access to a collection of general images. Although this site does not offer the best variety, it is worth checking out. You don’t have to license or attribute the image to the original source. Another similar site is Pix, , it is a free ‘image repository’ project (sounds like Napster for photos to me). It allows you to download images without registering. More on the public domain front is Old Book Illustrations.com with a lot of cool woodcuts and engravings for free downloads.
Let’s move away from the web-based resources now and get a bit creative with what we have. Do you own a camera? Digital or film, doesn’t matter. Start your own library of photos! Shoot them on film and scan them in or get a digital CD when you develop them (almost every photo lab will provide this service.) If you need a photo ASAP for a post on video games correlation to obesity in children, snap a picture (with the permission of the parent) of your family member zoned out playing video games. The picture might not look like one from a stock photo site, but that may just be what will make it stand out as original and interesting.
Can you draw? Maybe not so well. How about stick figures? Think about how you can use the skills you have, even if they are primitive, to spice up or add imagery to your posts. It doesn’t have to be comparable to a Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece, just get an idea across or support the main idea with your drawing. Have fun and be creative.
Still can’t find that image and you need to add something to the post to spice it up? Try pull-quotes. This is a simple way to grab a reader’s attention. By using graphical text, you can offer a bite-sized piece of relevant and thought-provoking information that will ‘pull’ them in for the rest of the ride.
To find that image that correlates with your post, search around the links provided above. You can also be creative and create your own images or photos to use in the near future. There are vast amounts of possibilities out there whether you want to spend some cash or do it on the cheap. Just remember to always read the fine print.
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