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.

How to Blog: Including a Photo

how to blog including a photoIt's one of the easiest things to do when writing a business blog post, but it's one a lot of business blogs don't do. Including a photo, although it has nothing to do with the actual writing of the business blog post, adds visual appeal, an additional SEO opportunity, and makes your post a little less boring. Learning how to blog involves more than writing the post, but in working with the multimedia aspects as well. It seems so obvious, yet many small business aren't taking the time to include a photo with each blog post.

There's no excuse for this either. With tools like Dreamstime, a small business can easily find free stock photos that can be incorporated into every blog post. Creative Commons is another good choice to finding free photos. Just make sure to give credit where credit to the person who took the photo. Plus, if you end up utilizing a photo for every post, you'll have a great collection of photos to use, and will waste less and less time in the long run looking for relevant photos when you can just pull from the collection.

Photos are enticing and welcoming to readers, making your post a little more interesting and worth reading than just text does. A photo also acts as one more way to inform the reader of what the article is about, while also conveying emotion. Imagine if our magazines and newspapers didn't come with any photos. We wouldn't want to read them, and your readers will feel the same about your blog if you never have any photos.

Most importantly, adding a photo (or two or three) is one more opportunity for some SEO. Search engines may not be able to see the photo, but search engines definitely consider captions, titles, and descriptions when performing their crawl. Including a photo gives the search engine one more thing to crawl, and one more way to consider your post or blog relevant to that specific keyword.

There's essentially no reason why you shouldn't be including photos to your blog posts. There's so much benefit to them, even if they just give the reader something pleasant to look at. Something pleasant to look at is one more reason for a reader to read your post.

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Dreamstime

dreamstime business bloggingThis week's Tech Tool of the Week is especially crucial if you do a lot of business blogging It's no secret that pictures make your blog posts more attractive, and pulling your pics from Google searches can get you into trouble. The best way to avoid the copyright hassle is to use stock photos, and my favorite place to go to for stock photos is Dreamstime, this week's Tech Tool of the Week. There are many places to go to get stock photos, and granted not every stock photo would be fun or appropriate to use for a blog post (check out these Awkward Stock Photos), but the reason that I like Dreamstime is because it has free stock photos as well as ones that you need to pay for. Even through the free ones sound like they may not be very good, some of them aren't that bad at all. I've done a little of both, and keep them on my hard drive. This is just in case I could use the photo again for another article or blog post. This is also so I get my money's worth out of the one's I've purchased.

Granted, Dreamstime may not be as robust as iStock Photo with illustrations, audio, and video to choose from, but I don't need those as often as I need the photos. Plus, both work on similar pricing models, so although one may seem expensive for photos, it's really more of the going rate. And, yes, you can get your photos free from online searches and places like Creative Commons, but Dreamstime has a much better portfolio. I've never had any trouble finding a suitable image for my needs. I definitely have had that problem in Creative Commons.

If you need photos, then use this week's Tech Tool of the Week. That way, you don't have to worry about sourcing and licensing and copyright.