Better Blogging: Storytelling Through Images (Part 2)

Last week, I covered the basics of image copyrights. In this post, I’ll give you ideas for where to find images and how to select an appropriate image for your blog posts.

Think about the image you choose from the viewpoint of your audience.

Think about the image you choose from the viewpoint of your audience.

Finding Images

I’m posting two blog posts a week, so I’m looking at about 100 images a year. Obviously, I want to find cheap or free images because I need so many of them. If you are posting more frequently and need more images, you have even greater budget impact.

The following sources provide free images:

The following sources provide low-cost images:

  • Fotolio provides inexpensive photographs starting at $1 for small images. Their images are royalty free, and they explain prohibited uses for each image license.
  • iStockPhoto provide inexpensive photographs starting at $1 for small images. They offer both pay-as-you-go and subscription options. Check their contract for prohibited uses for each image license.

You can find additional resources by searching “stock photography” and adding “royalty free” if you plan to use images more than one time.

Selecting Appropriate Images

I enjoy the process¬† of selecting an appropriate image for my blog posts. It’s one of the most creative parts of the blog publishing process for me. For some blog posts, selecting an image is easy. When the post is more abstract or covers a wide topic, it is harder to select a single good image.

Here are some guidelines I use.

  • I pick the image after I’ve written and edited the blog post.
  • I mentally summarize the post content to a single word or concept. I use this summary term to search through my photography resource. This limits me to key words that the artist attached to the image.
  • I think about the single word or concept and think up a short list of images that might work, and search through my photography resource with this term.

A few examples illustrate how this works.

  • For this blog post, I summarized the content to “finding an image.” This isn’t likely to appear as a key word for any images, so I reduced the idea down to these key terms: finding = map, magnifying glass, flashlight; image = photograph, camera, artist canvas on easel. I used combinations of these terms to search through my photography source and found the image on this post.
  • For the post The Rumors Are True, one of the most important concepts was the idea of cleaning up your social media presence before looking for a job. That was the thought I wanted to leave with my readers, so I searched for images about cleaning, housecleaning in particular because it is something relevant to everyone’s life.
  • For the post How Do You Use Your Cellphone?, one of the most important statistics was the number of people who use their phone for texting more than phone calls. I knew I wanted a picture of someone using a phone to send a text message.

When The Going Gets Tough

If you can’t find an image that really works for your post, try selecting an image that fits the mood or theme of your site. For example, I tend to pick images with white backgrounds and where people appear at odd camera angles. I feel this fits the underlying theme of my blog, to communicate information from a slightly different perspective than other people might share the same content. I want people to look at the same information in a new way. When I’m at a loss for an image that exactly fits a specific post, I have a selection of this type of photograph I can pop in that support the theme of my blog.

Final thought: With a little effort, you can find an image that supports your blog post message and helps to crystalize your message for your readers.

About author:

Charlene is the information strategist behind Crow Information Design.

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