How to Use Pictures with Your Blog or Online Publication

using stock photos You can make the web pages of your blog or online publication fascinating and inviting to your visitors with high quality pictures. Besides good content, visitors like the feel images and graphics bring to their reading experience. The impression simulates the experience of an exceptional restaurant, where people go for the cuisine and to take in the aesthetics, ambiance, and layout. The same concept applies to a blog or online publication, as images also provide the following benefits:

  • Make the blog or content more memorable to the reader.
  • Strengthen the author’s statements, arguments, or opinions.
  • Hold attention as the person peruses the text.

Here are some considerations and tips for applying pictures on your web property:

Finding Images

All photographs, graphics, videos, or other images, on the Internet or offline, fall under the protection of copyright laws. The rules require you to obtain the owner’s permission to use the work in any manner. In most cases, you must also give the author the appropriate credit for the work.

Some websites like Flickr’s Creative Commons offer free images, but the user has an obligation to follow the owners’ guidelines for the use and attribution. Wikimedia Commons provides another option for finding free images.

Large commercial companies use image stock houses as their primary source of photos and other images for their web properties and publications. These works can be expensive for the average person, but many stock photo websites, such as FreeDigitalPhotos, Stock.XCHNG, Dreamstime, and Veer, offer thousands of free stock photos.

With the proliferation of inexpensive camera phones and digital cameras available, many people snap their own photos to use in their blog. If you take this route, use only relevant, good quality images. Consider opening an account on Flickr to share your images with other bloggers and website owners.

Editing or Altering Images

It is illegal to edit or to alter an original work in any manner without receiving the written permission from the original owner.  Even if you have the owner’s permission to make alterations to the work, you must still give the original creator of the work the attribution, even if you edit it.

Give Credit to the Original Author

Once you download a free image or receive permission to use a photograph from the owner, you must give the creator the proper credit. Display the attribution in a prominent place near the image. Make sure the name links back to the web address or source of the photograph when possible.  In addition, make the font size you use for the credit the same size as the caption.

Understanding Creative Common Licenses

Flickr offers six types of Creative Common licenses. If you intend to use work from this huge inventory of photographs, make sure you understand the requirements.

Any image you select from the Flickr site will have one of the following licenses:

1.      Attribution: You can copy, publish, distribute, create a derivative or alter the work and use it for commercial purposes it.

2.      Attribution – No Derivs: This license carries all the rights of the Attribution License with one exception: you cannot alter the original image in any manner, which includes cropping, adding text, and Photoshop.

3.      Attribution – Non Commercial: You cannot – directly or indirectly-- use the work for business purposes or personal gain. Other than the expressed exception mentioned above, this license as all the rights listed under license number 1.

4.      Attribution – Non Commercial –Noderiv: You cannot use this work for commercial purposes and the image must remain in its original form.

5.      Attribution – Share Alike: Use works under this license in any manner you choose-- similar to any Wikimedia content or images. You still have an obligation to give credit to the author.  If your creation results in a new image, it must have the same license.

6.      Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike: The same stipulations as outlined above, but you cannot use it for a commercial venture.

The first two categories of Flickr’s Creative Commons provide a source of over 100 million photographs and images. Make sure you understand the license limitations when selecting pictures and assure you avoid any problems with copyright violations.

Optimize Your Images

If you have Photoshop, GIM, or comparable photo-editing software, consider optimizing your pictures. The process simply entails making the file size smaller by reducing the quality level. Be careful not to degrade the image by making it too small. Optimizing your images becomes significant if you have a lot of images on your blog, which slow down the loading time for your web pages. This annoyance may cause visitors to become impatient and abandon your site.