Why would you bother adding photography to your posts? I’ll tell you why: Adding different kinds of media to your blog is more engaging.
Photography can make your post more appealing to the eye and while your content is still the main element, you have to admit that a big chunk of plain text can be a little intimating sometimes.
Maybe you already know this but think finding good stuff is pretty hard or it takes too long. This post will tell you where to look and some things you need to consider in the process.
3 things to consider when looking for photography online:
Most of the free-to-use image content online is protected by Creative Commons licensing. When searching services like Flickr, you have to look for the licensing specifications. In some cases you’ll find the term “All Rights Reserved” which means you CAN’T use it unless you get approval directly from the source.
On the other hand, if the content is classified under “Some Rights Reserved”, it means you can use it but there are probably some requirements. In most cases the content source will even allow you to make some alterations to the image.
2. Proper Credit
One thing that’s always required is giving proper credit to the source. Creative Commons specify the right way to do it but it usually means including the name with a link back to the page on your post. Please don’t ignore this, it’s not fair… and bad karma for sure.
3. Google Images
Some people think getting photography is as easy as searching Google images. I’m sorry to tell you that it’s not the case as these images usually belong to somebody else and it is hard to identify the source. Searching for images on Google can also be very time consuming and frustrating.
Free Content Sources
Flickr Probably the source used by most bloggers out there. One thing you can do in order to filter your search to only usable content is adding the term “creative commons” in front of your keyword. As I said before, content on Flickr is protected under this license and you can find the specification at the bottom of the right sidebar.
Also, make sure to check out the size options as it usually provides you with the original size.
Stock.Xchng It carries both paid service content from iStockPhoto and free content. Not as popular as Flickr but sometimes easier to find content related to your search keywords.
Stock.Xchng has its own licensing policy, make sure you give it a quick read.
The big difference with free content is the quality of the work and sometimes the ease of browsing their libraries, which most of the time are huge.
One more thing I will mention is that some of these services are very affordable and worth a try. You can pay for them as you go or get an annual subscription. To give you an example, the image at the top of this post is from iStockPhoto and the cost was less than $1.00.
Here are some of the main ones:
Be The Source
With some basic knowledge and a decent digital camera, you can become the content source. Experiment with taking and editing your own pictures. Be careful with this, specially if you blog for your business or promote your work, don’t compromise the quality of your blog AND don’t post pictures of your cat… unless your cat is super cute, of course!
Another aspect you should consider is photo editing. I know what you’re thinking… I don’t know Photoshop! You don’t need to. Most likely you won’t be doing any heavy work but simple things like resizing, cropping or adjusting the color a little. You don’t need Photoshop for that kind of stuff.
Take photography seriously, it can play a very important role on your blog. More importantly, make it a fun process…
Are you using other services or tools? Share them with us in the comments section.