As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, holds true in the realm of blogging. You can spend countless hours crafting the perfect blog post, but without images it won’t have any lasting impact on readers. In fact, a recent study found that 93% of the most engaging posts published on Facebook were images. Whether you use Facebook or not, this study attests to the power of web images.
But you can’t simply copy an image from another website and upload it to your blog (usually), due to copyright rights. This is both unethical and illegal, as the owner must give his or her permission for you to use it. So, how are you supposed to find photos to use on your blog?
One excellent source of photos is Flickr’s Creative Commons, which contains well over 300 million photos licensed under Creative Commons. Basically, you are allowed to use the photos if you follow the respective category’s requirements. For instance, the Attribution category states: “You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work – and derivative works based upon it – but only if they give you credit,” whereas the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs category states: “You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work – and derivative works based upon it – but for noncommercial purposes only.” Crediting is typically done by placing a link to the owner’s Flickr account. Note: the second category of images can only be used on personal blogs and websites, not commercial ones.
Wikimedia Commons is another valuable tool for locating free-to-use images. Much like Flickr Creative Commons, however, you must adhere to the license attached to the image.
Of course, you can always purchase rights to use a photo from various stock photo websites like iStockPhoto.com. Depending on the size and type of photo, prices can range anywhere from $1 to $50 per photo. On the plus side, stock photos are often higher quality than photos found on Creative Commons sources, making them an attractive option for serious bloggers.
If you have a camera on your smartphone, you can always take the photos yourself. Most smartphones today pack some pretty decent cameras, such as the Galaxy S5’s 16-megapixel camera. And with a little touch-up work in Photoshop, you can make them look just as good as stock photos.
Where do you obtain photos for your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!