Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where to Find Images for Your Blog

Pictures, pictures, pictures...

What Makes a Good Image?

A nice luxury on your blog, right? WRONG!! You need to make it a necessity. Not only do great images help intrigue the eye and catch the attention, if chosen correctly, pictures can also help explain the topic of your post better than the title can. (which is a score if you have a hard time titling posts in new and edgy ways.) In the end, the picture is your post's best friend. Think of Bert & Ernie; Peanut Butter & Jelly; and America & Apple Pie.

Now, using pictures may be scary considering copyright laws. Using an image or likeness without written permission can get you in trouble. To prevent this you need to access images that are non-copyrighted and preferably free (because why pay for anything when you can get it for free?)

Note: In addition to the below, I have used Google Images for years without issue. However, I'm always aware of where the image is coming from. If you want to be super careful the easy way, read on...

What Flickr Offers

So, what you need from an image site are great images that are free of fees and copyrighting. Enter Flickr Creative Commons. Basically Flickr Creative Commons is a site of images and photos taken by its users that allow the free use of their creations. (Note: Creative Commons is different than regular Flickr. Regular Flickr does not have the free licensing Creative Commons provides.) There are some easy rules about usage in Creative Commons... some pictures you can resize and edit, others you cannot. Flickr has done a good job of defining the rules of each picture with a cool symbol key. Here is a good article explaining the Flickr Creative Commons keys.

Sounds Complicated... Why Flickr over stock image sites like Stock.Xchng?

So, why should I use Flickr over Stock.Xchng? Simple: quality. Remember, a photo is nothing to your blog if it isn't a good photo. You spend all this time writing quality and sharing in quality ways, doesn't it logically follow that your images should be quality? I think it does.

Another good reason is depth of inventory. I know I've used Stock.Xchng and some of the results are either irrelevant to my post or have been used by another blogger before, and recently enough that I remember the photo. This is not what you want. In a sea of blogs, the last thing you want is to start looking like some else's by using the same photos or having to compromise quality because you have low quality/low inventory to choose from.

So, the end result? If you care about your bog, you'll use Flickr Creative Commons. Case closed!

(And yes, I used Flickr for the above photo. See what I mean? I could've never found this on Stock.Xchng!)

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