Since changing the layout of The Ramblings of a Longtime Procrastinator to a more magazine type format on the front page, I have had to source many more images for my blog. I’m a good weather photographer so I haven’t been taking much new photos for a while and the ones that are in the my photo collection aren’t always suitable for use wth the posts I create, so this leaves me having to source images.
There are some obvious places to look for usable images such as Google images or Flickr. Images on Google are not necessarily available for use as they are most often subject to copyright restrictions. If you use Flickr, you are able to search for images under the Creative Commons License. Creative Commons images often allow users to freely use them on their websites or personally as long as the creator of the work is attributed.
Though these major resources are free to use, they do have some drawbacks. Amongst the drawbacks are the quality of images and also the quantity you have to sift through in order to find one that fits, even with their advanced search features.
Using Stock Photography
Stock photography used to be know only to those in the advertising trade or graphics departments in major firms. The rise and rise of digital photography and of course the digital world of the Internet has brought more and more stock photography sites to more and more markets.
I won’t go into all the ins and outs of using stock photography, but the major factor that increased the use of stock images was the ability to purchase Royalty Free images.
Royalty Free images were lower in cost, and gave purchasers the freedom re-use them for any purpose, providing the licence you bought covered it. Still later developments, including micro stock photography sites brought the prices down even further. With these sites you can download images for pennies.
A number of Micro stock agencies as well as traditional stock photography sites are now attempting to compete with popular image sharing sites by offering a selection of their images for free. They realize that digital photography has increased the sheer number of available images that can be used, especially for online purposes. Where once companies or ad agencies would purchase images for thousands, large multi-nationals are picking up quality images for nothing on photo-sharing sites like Flickr.
Use images to give your posts extra zing
Why should you use images to give your posts that little bit extra? Well, images help to do the following
- capture your readers attention (or even re-focus it).
- break up large areas of text giving the eyes and brain more stimulation
- illustrate a point, concept or headline, add extra emphasis
Magazines and newspapers and lots of other printed media use them in articles, it worked for them, why not you? Additionally, and this may be because I am a photographer, but photographs or images can actually help you create more blog posts.
Public Domain / Free Stock Photography
Wikipedia has a large list of public domain or free image resources (see external links below) and there are quite a few sites that offer free to use (ie little or no restrictions on usage) photographs, images and visuals for your blog. I regularly use the following sites
- Open Photo Project
- Stock Xchng
- Flickr (search Creative commons images)
- Public Domain Pictures
Public domain images require no attribution and are usually out of copyright, however always check this. As with Free stock photography, always check the license to ensure you comply with any restricts. It is always good practice as well, where possible to attribute the photo to it’s creator.