Wednesday, May 9, 2012

10 Ways to Get Blog Images for Peanuts (i.e. Free!)


Yes, your words are beautiful, thoughtful, and mesmerizing, but people still like pretty pictures.  Pictures add interest to your blog post and pull in readers from search results.  Pictures help with SEO by letting search engines know you are a real person.  It works because robots do not like pretty things or something like that.

So how do you get images (legally)?  


  1.      Take a picture of something beautiful or interesting or random, like these circus peanuts.   Once you start seeing all the opportunities to snap a pic, just store them until the right post comes along.
  2.      Draw a picture and snap a photo of it.  This one is easy to do while coloring with the kids. Robert Lee Brewer sometimes just writes something on a piece of paper; if not always artistic, it is always relevant.  
  3.      Take a shot of your kids, but blur them out.  Your kids are super cute, but you may not want to share them with the world.  So use the trick of having them hold an object to obscure their face.   
  4.      Make a picture in Powerpoint or Word using basic shapes, colors, and text.  Paste the image into Paint to easily save as a .jpg.   Little skill needed as shown in this post
  5.           Use an app like Drawing Free or Charadium or KidsDoodle that lets you email the picture to yourself or save to your photo stream.  I did this in my teenlit drama.
  6.      Know people who can take pictures for you.  You need to have friends on farms, in the islands, and in the city who can snap a cow or a mango or whatever you need.
  7.      Check out illustrator's sites which may have art fitting your post.  If you are very sweet, they may just let you post it with a link back to their site like I did in writing rut.  Just leave yourself extra time to get the response.
  8.      Mine your old picture albums.  Remember your childhood pet Sebastian the lizard?  He is just right for your post on character development.
  9.           Flickr is a place people upload their pictures and specify the licensing.   Not all of Flick is free use, so make sure you check the restrictions for your image. Usually you need to credit the creator. (Thank you LOLren for Yellow Chicken)
  10.      Google provides the option to search by "usage rights."  Select the "free to use and share" option to keep your search legal.  

Note, if you search "free images", many sites will appear.  In the fine print, the pictures may be royalty free but you need to pay a small amount to use the picture or you need to buy a membership.  I am a cheap accountant type, so when I say free, I mean zero cents. 

Do you have other great sources?  Please share them in the comments. 
  

16 comments:

  1. Lauri, Great post!
    In the past I used Stock.xchng for articles I wrote for Suite101. (And still use photos from the site for my blog.) While many of the photos are free, there are also ones for which payment is required.
    I've also used my kids as models. Great idea to have them hold something in front of their faces!
    Thanks for the tips. :-)

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    1. Good one - I signed up and started browsing already. I like free!

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  2. hello Lauri -
    Thank you for the excellent suggestions, which are all varied and doable. Images are always important for my blog. Sometimes, I need specific ones; but for others, I could find other ways that is more creative to use an image.

    Monique

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    1. Yes even though it is a little work to snap or draw a picture, sometimes it is harder to browse stock images for a relevant picture. Plus variety is the spice of life!

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  3. Agreed, great post! I use photos from sxc.hu, as many (if not most) hosted by that site are free; some will require a bit more attribution or notification of the author, but even that's not too big a hassle! :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing Khara. Speaking of images I love your profile pic.

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  4. Great suggestions. Before I started my blog a year ago, I wondered why I kept all my pictures from the past 4 years on my Picasso file, but they have come in so useful to add pictures to my blog posts. So now I take pictures of random things that get my interest and save them, just for the future when I'm looking for that 'perfect' shot of whatever I'm talking about. Thanks!

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  5. Lauri, I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award. I've been reading here for a while, and I love what you're doing. You ARE versatile! Congrats!

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    1. Little old me? Why thank you so much Gerry!

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  6. I take my own pics and I started keeping the random screw-ups, too. Seems you can always use the weird ones! lol. great post. and thanks for the follow!

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  7. Is it legal to site and link to the source, especially if we're not getting any type of compensation from our blogs?

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    1. As I understand it, no. The owner could simply ask for the material to be removed or they could bring legal charges. Even if you aren't profiting from the site, you still need to seek permission or look for creative commons material.

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  8. There are some great tips in here, and I was JUST thinking about this, specifically how to use PowerPoint. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I think we always go to our comfort zone first. Coming from corporate finance I started with powerpoint and excel to make blog pictures. FYI- spreadsheets don't make for sexy pictures!

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