Pictures play a crucial role in effective blogging. In today’s ADD world, people will click away from you blog post if all they see is a big block of text. Breaking up your posts with interesting and relevant images is a great way to make your post more inviting and appealing to the reader.
Cracked.com has truly mastered this approach by incorporating their images and captions into their posts in such a way that it forces you to go back and read the paragraph that precedes it.
Because otherwise the random pictures they insert don't make any sense.
But where to find the right images for your blog? There are a couple ways to do this:
1. Creative commons search.
Creative commons is a term that for our purposes means “pictures you are allowed to use”. It’s a photo that someone else took but are willing to let you use for your own purposes, as long as you give them credit for taking the picture (“attribution”).
Creative commons (often shortened to “CC”) actually has several levels of rankings, which determine what you are allowed to do with the image. Some owners might let you modify their photos however you wish, others might not even let you use them for commercial purposes.
How can you locate creative commons images? Here are some resources.
Tip: Keep in mind that there are more pictures with the stringent rules than with the lenient ones. That means that there are not so many people in the world who are willing to let you digitally add cat ears to pictures of their kids. Make sense, no?
Therefore, you always want to search with the most permissive filter for your needs, i.e. if you don’t plan on using a picture for commercial purposes, than don’t insist on the search results only showing you pictures that are labeled for commercial reuse.
You can read more about the rules and categories of creative commons here.
2. The new Getty images setup
Getty images is one of the leading stock photography websites in the world. These websites have the greatest selection of high quality and expressive images that you simply cannot find for free, because they have professional photographers who go out of their way to take pictures of a naked woman holding an apple, for example.
I’ll let you imagine the rest
Getty images has now created an awesome setup where you can embed almost any picture of theirs on your site as long as you give them credit for it. This credit is automatically added at the bottom of the image, so you don’t even need to worry about it.
This new offer allows you to be more creative with your blog posts images, for free, than you ever where before. Of course, you are also functioning as a living ad for their site, but it’s still a pretty sweet deal.
Pictured: your response to said sweet deal.
What do you think of Getty's new deal? Is it useful to you? Or is their branding too in-your-face to be useful? Let me know in the comments.
Update: I'm glad I incorporated Getty images pictures in this post. It allowed me to see that this method is not a particularly good one, because the images remain in control of Getty and are simply embedded on your site. Aside from the issues it creates with formatting the size of your picture, it means that at any time in the future your picture will end up looking like the one below, which is completely unacceptable. If Getty wants their program to actually take off, they need to guarantee the stability of their images.
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