Where to get photos for your blog
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It seems like last week’s post about the benefits of using images to enhance your blog really hit home with a lot of people, as a number of readers have contacted me to ask where they can obtain good photos. This week, I’m going to give you a peek into my blogging toolkit and share my favorite sources of photos and other images.
Free Stock Photos
There is no charge to use images from any of the following sites. In some cases, you are required to give attribution to the photographer and/or link back to the site, so be sure to read the Terms before downloading any images.
You can also find great photos on Flickr, but you’ll need to do an Advanced Search to pinpoint those that have a Creative Commons license and are available to use commercially. When using Creative Commons content, you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the photographer – usually this involves a link back to their Flickr profile, but always check in case they’ve requested something different.
Low Cost Stock Photos
Generally speaking, the search tools on free sites aren’t very powerful, so you can end up spending a lot of time trying to find an image that portrays the concept of your post, is the right shape for your blog, and harmonizes with the colors of your site. For that reason, it’s often worth it to spend a little money to find what you need more quickly.
Most stock photo sites offer a range of pricing options, allowing you to purchase either a subscription plan or a package of pay-as-you-go credits. For me and most of my clients, pay-as-you-go tends to be the best solution. Here are the sites we use most often:
When choosing a supplier, you’ll want to consider the number of credits needed for each image (there will likely be some variation, even within the same site) and possibly the minimum purchase required. Typically a royalty-free stock photo will cost you between $1.00 and $5.00.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you own an image just because you’ve paid a licensing fee. All you’re paying for is the right to use the image, so again, you need to read the Terms of each site and make sure that you attribute the images in whatever manner is required by the copyright holder.
Your Own Photos
To be sure that the images you use are truly unique to your blog, consider shooting your own. When using your own photos, make sure they are in focus and neither too dark or washed out. Touch them up with photo editing software if necessary.
Some bloggers go so far as to hire a professional photographer. Although this is probably not affordable on an ongoing basis, it’s something you may want to consider for certain key posts. With any luck, you might even be able to find a photography student or new photographer in your local network who would be willing to take some photos for you in exchange for a credit on your website.
Here’s my challenge for you:
- Look at your blog archives and pick out a post that’s really good, but doesn’t have a picture.
- Find a good image and add it to your post (with any required attribution, of course).
- Pin your post to Pinterest, share it on Facebook, or however you normally draw attention to your posts.
- After a week or so, check your Analytics and see how much new traffic you’ve generated to your post. Feel free to share your results in the Comments section.
Photo © yongyuan / iStockPhoto