Nobody wants to be confronted be a sea of words. BORRRRRRING!
Most of us are visually oriented which is exactly why Pinterest and Instagram are so popular. It’s also why images for blogging are so important.
But beware! You can’t just use any image on your blog. Copyright laws mean you must to know how to use blogging images without breaking the law.
Also there’s no point in using any old image either since sometimes this can do more harm than not using an image at all.
So how do you use images legally and at the same time get them to stand out for maximum effect?
I’ll tell you. Read on…
Your blogging photos will stand out if they are unique and the most surefire way of ensuring originality is to take your own pictures.
There should be no legal issues either since it’s your photograph. Just make sure you haven’t taken a shot of something that’s protected though, like a company logo.
These days just about everybody has access to a camera on their smart phones. Even if you don’t know much about photography there heaps of inexpensive online courses that can teach you how to take brilliant photos using your phone.
The quality of pictures can vary a lot depending on how powerful your phone camera is. Always make sure your pictures are clear and of a quality that is acceptable to readers.
However taking your own photos could be tricky, depending on your niche. Easy enough for travel and food bloggers, but a little more challenging if you’re blogging about celebrities, unless you’re also moonlighting as a paparazzi photographer.
If you have an interest in photography, you like the creative challenge and have the time, this is still the number one way to get unique photographs for your blog.
Taking your own photographs may not work for you however in which case you must find images elsewhere.
2. USE Free Images for Blogs
The good news is that there are heaps of places where you can find images for free. This is probably one of the most popular methods, especially when you’re just starting out. You may also see these pictures referred to as stock images.
There are a great many websites that feature thousands of pictures under what is known as the Creative Commons license (CSO). Some of the more popular websites supplying free images are Pixabay, Magdeleine and Stocksnap.
These can be used freely and legally, even for commercial purposes although sometimes they do require you to attribute the image. This means you must reference back to the original owner of the photo in your post.
Make sure you check the licence requirements of any image before you use it to see what you can and can’t do.
As much as this is a wonderful way to find images there is a downside. You are one of millions using the same photos, so there is a very good chance you’re going to see the same images all over the place.
Not the best way for your images to stand out is it?
Here are 3 ways to work around this:
- Don’t just use the most popular websites or the same websites for all your images. Use some of the lesser known sites that others are not using.
Psst… want my “64 Free Photo Websites List”? It’s a free download you can get by clicking the button below. 🙂 There are more than enough alternative websites on the list for you to explore.
- No matter which photo site you use, don’t be lazy and use the first image you like when searching under the subject. That’s what everybody does. Spend some time looking at images on later pages that are less likely to have been used. This way there is a better chance the picture has not been downloaded by too many others, increasing it’s chances of standing out on your blog.
- Change the photos when you can. Use one of the many image editing websites and ‘dress your images up’ so they are disguised or changed in some way. You can do this by adding filters, using only part of the image or adding words. This is exactly what I did with the title picture for this post. Using branding elements as I have can help to make your images stand out as uniquely yours even though you’re using stock images. Three good image editing sites I use and recommend are:
You can see more about Stencil by watching the short video below.
3. Buy Premium Images
If you have the budget you can also buy images from websites that sell usage rights.
The advantage being, that you’ll usually have a far better selection of images from which to choose. There’s also less chance that as many people will have used the same image.
Although you can purchase images individually from sites like CanStockPhoto, Dreamstime and iStockphoto, it can work out quite costly if you do this frequently.
What I do which works well is to either buy a subscription or prepay for a number of image credits to use as and when you need them.
Some sites, like DepositPhotos (the one I use), offer good deals once or twice a year when you can buy photo credits for a good price.
Once purchased you can redeem these as you need to. Just make sure that the credits don’t have an expiry date.
I tend to only use premium images when I’m looking for something specific that I can’t find as a free image.
Once again these images an also be changed like the free ones but as usual check to see that the licence allows you to modify the images.
Even though I do use premium images from time to time I still prefer to find images on one of the many free image sites and then change it in some way to suit my needs.
4. Create Your Own Screenshots
Another to create your own images is to take a screen shot. This means capturing part of your computer screen as an image.
This method is particularly useful when you want to show people a visual of a computer program interface.
Check out the screenshot below which I created to show people how to add photos while using the blog post writing platform that comes with the Wealthy Affiliate membership.
When you want to show people exactly how something works then this method is ideal.
Most computers tools you can use to create screenshots. If you a PC you can use the Snipping Tool (shown below) or the latest too which is called “Snip & Sketch”.
The difference being that the latter allows you to also annotate the image with words and arrows, much like I have done in red on the above image,
I tend to use a downloadable free tool called Monosnap because I find it the easiest to use.
5. Create Your Own Graphics
Needless to say if you are talented in the field of graphics and illustration then creating your own unique images should definitely be something you should consider doing.
Even if you don’t regard yourself as a visual artist but you understand how to combine elements of illustration together, you can create your own branded image compositions from icons and elements that others have created.
Start be deciding on a color palette and use only those colors. You can create your graphics using a simple program like ‘Paint’ which you can download for free at https://www.getpaint.net/
By the way don’t click the big download buttons. Use the very small ‘Get it now’ at the upper right on the page. The software is easy to learn and has just enough features for you to do any job.
Next you may want to use a site like http://Flaticon.com to get your graphic elements.
You can download a limited number of elements for free but the paid version is best as it will let you use all the tools so you can change the colors of graphics to fit your brand.
You can also use the elements without limitation and without having to credit to the designer.
Below is an example of a typical element that can be downloaded from Flaticon.
6. Buy Unique Graphics
Finally if you have a plentiful budget and you don’t have the time or talent to create your own images from scratch, you could get someone else to design and produce them for you.
This could be expensive purely because of the sheer number of images you might need. Perhaps instead of getting every image created you could have one done per post like the title or feature image.
There are a few websites where you can have work like this done. The best is probably Fiverr.com.
finding Images for Blogging can be fun
Finding images for blogging that are legal and unique may feel like daunting task, but it’s actually quite easy once you’ve created a ‘toolkit’ of of your favorite resources.
Do this by bookmarking some of your favorite tools and websites shared in this post. Whenever you write a new post, decide why you want to use a certain type of image and what you hope to achieve by using it. Then you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for and the best method of finding it.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as an ‘arty’ person, the more you work with images the easier it gets to know what will work and what won’t. Whatever you do, don’t be scared of using images.
All it takes is practice and before you know it you’ll be an expert at spicing up your blog with visuals your readers will love.
What’s one thing you can implement from having read this post?
Got Questions? Something to say? Leave a comment. Let’s chat
Hey... I'm Mark! If you want to know how to blog for a living, you're in the right place. One of the ways I make money blogging, is as an affiliate. Meaning, if you buy something via a link on this site I could earn a commission, at no extra cost to you. It's how you can make money too. Ready? Let's do this!
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