215 How To Find And Use Awesome Photos For Your Blog Posts

By Leslie Samuel | Blogging

May 13

The internet has come a long way over the years. Initially, it was all text.

Today, it serves as a visual platform. Pictures and videos dominate the time spent online.

Listen to This Episode

If we land on a blog post and encounter text with few images, we re-evaluate our decision to read the article.

03_09_Using-Photos_Pinterest

How To Find And Use Awesome Photos For Your Blog Posts

When articles are shared on Facebook, they emphasize images because publishers know it will increase the likelihood of someone clicking over to the associated article.

When an image is shared with a link on Twitter, people are more likely to click.

Whether on my blog, in my videos or in any other content I create, I make sure to incorporate visuals, and try to make them as vibrant as possible.

Take home message – Images are important, and if you’re a blogger, you want to use pictures to help hook your audience and convey your message.

Conveying the right message

convey-message

Convey the right message

In considering the types of visuals that will help convey your message, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What emotion are you trying to convey through your content?
  • Who is your ideal target person for that piece of content?
  • What kind of picture will resonate with your ideal target person?

Here are some examples of how you’d use that information:

  • Conveying the emotion of fear: find a picture that encourages your audience to think, “Man, that person is definitely in fear”.
  • Considering your ideal target person: If your ideal target person is a businesswoman, use a picture of a businesswoman in the context of your story.

Sizing your photos

Size-image

Sizing your images

When formatting photos in your content, be conscious of the size of the images you use in two ways:

  1. If the file size is too large, it will load slowly and slow down your site. This will negatively affect the user experience. We internet folk are impatient and will leave if an image takes too long to load..
  2. If the dimensions are off or inconsistent, it can look messy. It’s a good idea to keep your dimensions relatively consistent in a way that looks good. If your images are too wide, that can make the text look jumbled up. If they’re not wide enough, they won’t have the desired effect on the reader. This can vary from blog to blog, but is a good thing to keep in mind as you add content to your blog.

A great resource for helping with this file size is the WP Smush.it plugin, which reduces your image file sizes automatically.

Optimizing for Social Media

Social media can significantly help to bring exposure to your blog if you use it right. One thing for sure – having images optimized for social platforms enhances that exposure, especially on sites like Pinterest and Facebook.

You want to make sure that the images you use are appropriate for the different platforms.

Also, if you want to make your images “fancy schmancy”, I would recommend using sites like Picmonkey or Canva to add text.

Optimizing for social shares

When people come to your blog, you want them to engage with your content. What’s even better is if they engage AND share.

But to take full advantage of that social equity, you want to make sure that when the content is shared, it shows up on social media well.

To do that, you can use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. That’s what I use for displaying the right images on Social Media.
A more advanced plugin for optimizing your blog for the social networks is the Facebook Open Graph, Google+ and Twitter Card Tags plugin. Long name but packs a punch.

stopPermissions

One common error I see bloggers making is using images they find doing Google image searches. If this is you – STOP IT NOW!

Whenever you use an image on your blog, you need to make sure that you have the legal rights to use that particular image.

This can be accomplished by using Royalty-free images from stock photography sites, public domain images, or creative commons images that are free to use with certain restrictions (explained below).

Where I get my images

I’m often asked where I get my images. Well, ask no more.

My go-to resource for royalty-free images is Dollar Photo Club. This is literally THE BEST source I’ve found.

The reason I LOVE them is because they have high-quality images that are on par with many of the well-known expensive stock photography sites. Each high-resolution image costs $1.

On other sites, you can easily pay 5 to 10 times as much.

Check Out Dollar Photo Club

Dollar-Photo-Club

Dollar Photo Club

Other Sources I Recommend

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons – this is a great place to find public domain and creative commons images. With public domain images, you are free to use them as your own with no restrictions.

With Creative Commons licenses, you are free to use images in specific ways, depending on the license. Some licenses allow you to use pictures for non-commercial purposes. Others specify that you are free to use them for any purpose as long as you credit the source.

You can find out more about Creative Commons licenses here.

Wikimedia-Commons

Wikimedia Commons

The reason I’ve used Wikimedia Commons extensively is not just because it’s free -which is AWESOMESAUCE- but you can actually find some amazing photos and illustrations there, especially science related images.

Many of the illustrations are in “.SVG” format, which allows you to actually go in and edit components of the illustration. That was EXTREMELY useful for my biology blog.

Taking your own pictures

If you have a decent quality camera (like a nice DSLR), don’t underestimate the power of taking your own pictures.

If you’re blogging about something like recipes, fitness, DIY or anything else along those lines, using your own pictures can really add a personal touch to your content.

Not only that, but it’s FREE (once you invest in decent equipment).

Here are some examples of blogs who do a great job with this:

  • Hoosier Homemade – A site that shares lots of yummy recipes, decorating ideas and lots of cupcakes! Don’t visit this site unless you’re prepared for a mouth-watering experience…
  • Thrift Diving – Serena hits up thrift stores and does some awesome projects taking things that were blah and making them rah (that should be her new tagline!).
  • House Of Rose – Mandy takes photos of her house and family to use on her blog and social media. They’re so perfect they make you sick (in a good way). Wait, I don’t know if that made sense, but you get the point.

Go Forth and Beautify

Whether you’re a new blogger wanting to get started or an experienced blogger trying to take the look of your content to the next level, pictures can help you do this.

Whether you take your own pictures, use royalty-free, public domain or creative commons images, the sky is the limit. So go forth and beautify.

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

03_09_Using_Photos_Infographic

How To Find And Use Awesome Photos For Your Blog Posts

 Your Turn

What image sources do you use? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Transcript

Some people just love being able to read along with interviews, or they might just prefer to skip the audio completely and just read through the transcript. Hey, if that’s what floats your boat, it is all good. Here’s the transcript just for you :)

Click here to download transcript

  • Good tips.

    Like you mentioned, Wikimedia can be a good source. That has been especially useful to me when I needed really old Bible-story drawings.

    Some others I really appreciate that I don’t think you mentioned here are:
    Dreamstime.com – They have a free section, where you only have to give attribution.
    The Creative Commons section of Flickr.com – I specifically look for those using the CC BY 2.0 license, as it is less restrictive. (It’s okay for commercial use, can be modified, etc.)
    MorgueFile.com – I learned of this one fairly recently, but it is quite a goldmine, in my opinion. Photos are free to use in your projects/posts.

  • Saeed R says:

    I used to put goggle images on my blog post but from now , stop doing that because its almost copyrighted.
    Anyway thanks for helping

  • Katie Weiser says:

    Leslie:
    Thank you so much for the suggestion to use Dollar Photo Club. I signed up for a year and the pictures are super. What size picture would you recommend for blogposts? Small or medium?

    • It all depends on the theme you are using, but I would make them small enough not to load slowly but large enough to enhance the look of the post. There’s no set rule. Sometimes bigger is better. Other times, bigger takes up too much space.

  • John Hanna says:

    Wow, I discovered Leslie Samuel about 2 years ago and learned a lot. Really got me started on the road to blogging. Such a cool guy.
    I haven’t listened to him for quite sometime, so thought I’d give this podcast a go. Got 2 minutes in and had to turn it off. Such excited hype – why not just talk normally instead of treating your audience like children at a 5 year old’s birthday party. I’m outta here.

    • Ahh well. It was fun while it lasted. Glad I was able to help get you started. Have an awesome life. I’m sure you’ll find many other podcasts that suit your style better.

      All the best!

  • Rodlie Ortiz says:

    That infographic and reference to the WP plugin were worth the price of entry here 😉

  • Owen says:

    Getting images is so confusing. Some sites say its free to use and then you find you have to pay. Now, I don’t mind paying. It’s just that you have all these different payment plans and sizes. In the end, you just don’t know what to do. I usually go to Pixabay.com. They have both paid and free pics there.
    I will try dollar club.

    Thanks for the advice

  • Joey says:

    Thank you for the info! I’ve started to use Dollar Photo Club since last year after hearing about it on your podcast! Previously, I was using iStockphoto as I myself am an iStockphoto contributor, and they let contributors convert earnings into credits at a favourable rate. But, they have now stopped this, so I’ve switched to Dollar Photo Club. Anyway, thanks for keep up!

  • Matty says:

    I’ve been using Flickr creative commons images with attribution. And unsplash for royalty free images. Dollar photo club looks awesome, I’ll definitely check that out.

  • Aanya Rajput says:

    FInding and choosing an image that is not copyrighted on the blog or website is the hectic thing but I like the article to deal with such kind of problem. Especially I like the Dollar Photo Club point its better to just spend $1 only and get the high resolution image for such a low cost.

  • Ritesh says:

    I have been using the google searched images ever since I started blogging. I know that’s not the appropriate way, but actually I haven’t know that there are other free images sources available. thanks for this

  • Nurman says:

    Great tips. I usually draw myself and occasionally take from the Internet and edit it back unless there’s issue of copyright material. Thank for sharing.

  • Rodlie Ortiz says:

    Leslie, not sure if you’re aware of this or not—or not sure if perhaps I’m doing something wrong—but when you reply to a comment, the person doesn’t get a notification that you’ve replied.

    I had left different comments on different posts. Thought you were just busy by not replying. But I went back to this post to check something else and I noticed you had left a comment. So, just an FYI in case you weren’t aware of that.

    • Oh wow, thanks for pointing that out. I gotta fix that. And sorry for the delayed response. Things have been . . . kinda . . . crazy? Yep, lets go with that 🙂

  • Anne Maria says:

    There are plenty of CC licensed photos on Flickr if you know how to find them

  • Shaleza Aise says:

    Great tips and advice. Thanks so much. I’ll definitely give the Dollar Photo Club a try.

  • Steve says:

    Hi Leslie – Starting a blog and love your podcast. Getting ready to publish my first post and need the image. Do you have an alternative suggestion to Dollar Photo Club? I also read on their site they are closing down 🙁

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