If you’re a blogger, website developer or newsletter editor, then you most likely are keeping your eye out for images to enhance your written work. I learned long ago that an image is essential for every blog article and website page. Communities and the on-line world are accustomed to and expect visuals. Look at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – all three have engineered their streams to spotlight images.
For those of us producing a lot of content, we need great images to make our text stand out. So where do we get them? I’ll share what I do and I hope you will leave a comment with your tips.
Take/Make Your Own Images
This is by far the most cost-effective way to accumulate images. Get in the habit of taking photos of things, places or situations you work with. Any pictures you take are yours to use as you wish, no purchase costs and no asking for permission. Since I blog about tech, software and timesaving tips, there are plentiful free images available. If I’m blogging about someone’s software, I can get their logo and link back to them in my article and that is fine. They get free advertising (sometimes positive, sometimes not), and I can use images from their site. I’ve gotten in the habit of taking photos of anything I find of interest, be it nature, animals or people. The important thing to do is to
- Offload your photos
- Name them
- Organize them in a folder
If you don’t organize your photos, how will you be able to find them? I use Microsoft Photo Gallery which allows me to tag my photos, rename, resize and edit my photos. There are many other programs to help you with this too. So be sure to keep up with organizing your photos, otherwise you probably won’t find what you need when you need it.
I’ve made some images using either Paint++ or PowerPoint. There are great tools in both of these programs that let you combine shapes, color them, insert word art and then save your finished creation as a .jpg or .png. There is a bit of a learning curve if you don’t have experience, but sometimes it’s just the tool I’ve needed to use.
iStock Photo Free Images of the Month
I’d had an account at iStock for years before I found out they offer free images, drawings, audios, videos and vector files each month. So now I visit iStock every few weeks to see what they have. I usually download about everything, rename it and then put my new images in my iStock Photo free folder. Then I can open the folder and look through what I’ve got – nice. You do have to have an iStock Photo account in order to get the free images.
I checked this site out although I don’t have an account and found they have free images every week. I like the way they are presented much better than iStock. They have them posted in blog style with the ability to scroll down and see the history of their free images. You’ll need an account to get their images too.
A Creepy name, but everything on it is completely free to download and use with no stipulations. You can even crop or alter the images for your use. With free comes drawbacks. I find the search function a bit frustrating. It sometimes gives results that don’t seem to have anything to do with search terms. Then after each search, I have to click the morgueFile icon to get back to the front page to start a new search. I can’t click the back button as it doesn’t really take me back. If you don’t like the results you get in morgueFile, you can click one of the tabs and you’ll be taken to Dreamstime, Fotalia or Shutterstock where you can purchase images.
Next week, we’ll talk about Flickr and figure out which photos can be used under the ‘creative commons’ licenses and sort all that out. I will also talk about a web tool I found that will do a global search of images across many stock image sites.