An image can set the tone for what’s ahead for your readers.
Pictures increase engagement, lead readers to important bits of information, and tell a story. For this reason your images should be astounding. Using generic, overused royalty free or generic stock photography can scream that you’re too hard edged.
Unless you’re making a presentation to some up-tight company than it’s best to keep things real. Go with the photos that capture the imagination and curiosity with your readers.
If you’re having trouble finding these images than you’re in luck because we’ve rounded up a variety of sources for quality photos for your blog posts …
Okay, we said to avoid using stock photography but there’s a HUGE difference when you compare the sources. The big stock photography websites are generally filled with photos that are basically the same as the others (since many photographers are trying to maximize the potential for selling their work).
Photodune, on the other hand, is accessible to just about anyone with a camera and it shows because you can find all kinds of weird, quirky, stunning, and engaging photos in the marketplace with a professional touch or amateur perspective.
The popular files category should give you a decent start but we’d actually recommend steering away from these for now because you can assume these to be used frequently around the Web and what you want to find is something unique to your site.
Prices on Photodune are very reasonable depending on the size of the image you need. You shouldn’t have to spend more than a few dollars to find the right photo for your needs.
Disregard the flood of silly, shocking, and provocative pictures voted in the /r/pics listing and, instead, take a look at the sidebar because there you will find dozens of sub-Reddits that have an amazing array of pictures of all types of topics and style.
For example, you can find:
- Space art
- Data visualizations
- Photoshop contests
- HDR photos
- And more
The further you get into Reddit’s picture sub-Reddits the more you’ll find really one-of-a-kind pictures you could use in your work – just be sure to give appropriate credit to the creator if they require you to do so.
One of the coolest sub-Reddits to browse is http://www.reddit.com/r/wallpapers which can be used for a variety of means and all come in super high quality – you’re bound to find great photos to be used as your featured image in your blog posts!
Go Exploring and Take Your Own
Point-and-shoot cameras are cheap these days and have stunning quality.
Likewise, if you have a smartphone than 99% chances are that you have a decent enough built-in camera to take a few shots.
Consider in-sourcing your photos next time you need them by getting out there and taking the shots yourself. I’m sure there are plenty of locations around your town that could make for some very beautiful scenery. There are tons of interesting characters you’ll meet throughout your day, too, and if they’re okay with you using them in pictures than why not?
If you don’t want to get out of the house than setup a small photo studio where you can take your own business photos:
- Need a super simple image? Draw on some paper.
- Need to show off some activity? Have someone take a picture of you doing the action.
- Want something mind-bending? Add some filter effects using an app.
The best part with this approach is that you own the photos so you can avoid ponying up money to someone else. Likewise, these photos will be 100% unique to your website so it gives a great impression that you’re very dedicated and down-to-Earth (which is what you may want to convey to your readers).
Keep Searching (and Don’t Forget to Optimize)
You know how to use the Web so don’t get lazy – spend some time this week sourcing some cool pictures to use on your website and your blog posts. Type in search queries like “best images of”, “top cool photos”, “surreal”, and other fun modifiers – you’re bound to find some good stuff.
And, while you’re at it, make sure to optimize your images for SEO so you can gain a bit of search traffic while you’re at it.
Over to you – where do you find your blog post images?