Tuesday October 9, 2018
When it comes to finding that PERFECT image for your story or blog, it can be a bit of a challenge. After all, when you’ve put in all that time and effort into writing a great piece, you want an image that will complement it perfectly. Your images are one of the most important aspects of your blog, and naturally, you want an image to add value to your work, not detract from it.
To help you on your journey to find the perfect image for your blogs or stories, we’ve identified the best places for you to look.
By the end of this piece, your website will be awash with high-quality images to take your content further....
DIY Photos for Your Blog
Do you have a fresh, unique, and independently minded blog? Then you want images which share the same the same ethos. How do you achieve this? By doing the photography yourself.
Taking your own photos is a great way to guarantee original content for your site. Rather than using images made by other people, you can boost your brand’s individuality by using photos that your readers won’t find anywhere else.
And while it may seem an obvious option to some, for others, taking your own photos might seem like a daunting task. The art of taking the perfect photograph often seems to be something only others are blessed with. But with the right resources and a little practice, taking a good photo is within your grasp.
Think you need a high-quality camera to take high-quality photos? Think again. Most second-hand stores have decent cameras at affordable prices. And you don’t even necessarily need an actual camera! Most smartphones today come equipped with impressive cameras that are capable of capturing incredibly detailed photos.
If you’re a writer whose work has a darker tinge, adding dimly lit images of late night forest scenes will help to add a sense of foreboding. This tutorial explains how you can use photoshop to create dark and gloomy images. Or if you’re a technical writer and want to complement your writing, you could add crisp images of regal buildings.
To top it all off, there is a great number of free photography courses and resources available online to help you be a better photographer. With a little practice, you could be taking professional-quality images for your stories and blogs in no time.
Independently minded musicians from the lo-fi rock scenes have controlled all the creative aspects of their music for generations. Nobody knows your blog better than you, so take control and be the one to add the images that complement your stories.
Connect with creatives through outsourcing
Images play a crucial part in storytelling. However, just because the stories on your blog are creative, it doesn’t mean you have to be the ONLY one who designs the images to complement them.
Another alternative that can ensure you have original content for your blog (albeit at a price) is through outsourcing. The advent of the internet has brought the world closer together, making it easier for people to connect and share skills and projects.
The idea is simple: set out a brief for the work you want doing, and then pick and choose from a range of freelancers who can complete it for you. And it doesn’t just have to be an image either. Logos, thumbnails, infographics, charts — with a world of talented artists, designers, and creatives at your fingertips, you can be sure that if you need it, they can provide it.
There are several places you can go to find these services. At the cheapest end of the scale is Fiverr. As the name suggests, the general price for most options is $5, although extras such as upgrades and packages can cost extra. Fiverr is organized by categories, making it easy for you to find what you need, and each seller has a profile page to help you choose. Using Fiverr is ideal if you want to add a new element to your stories, such as adding a sense of mystery by using a silhouette, while keeping the costs down.
Other popular online marketplaces include PeoplePerHour. This one is perfect for those of you with more particular demands, as each seller goes through a comprehensive quality check before joining. And as an added safeguard, PeoplePerHour handle your deposit and do not pass it on until you have confirmed you are happy with the final piece.
To get the most out of your outsourcing, it’s important that you set out a clearly-defined brief that details what you want with clarity. Work with your chosen designer at each stage of the process to ensure that the final product meets your exact needs. You never know, you could create a successful partnership that lasts for years to come.
Avoid clichéd stock photos
Adding an image to your content that compliments the spirit, mood, or narrative – or which creates a decoy by intentionally jarring with your writing – is a great way of enhancing your blog. However, one thing that will eat away the credibility of your work is putting a bad stock photo together with your words.
Clichéd stock photos have become something of a trope in recent years, becoming the subject of parodies, memes, and general amusement online. Where once they were a perfectly satisfying addition to a business’s website or email newsletter, today they are often considered embarrassing and a little tacky.
Despite what I said before, you could complement your stories by using a bad stock photo. Making it clear you have done this intentionally would be a great way of spicing up an irreverent or humorous piece by adding some knowing irony to your content.
So when it comes to finding images for your blog, ditch the cliché stock photo of smiling businessmen and women high-fiving. Instead, visit one of the many sites that have sprung up in recent years offering royalty free images at no cost. These sites offer a staggering array of stock photos that are sourced not from paid photographers, but from freelancers instead. As a result, there is hugely diverse range of photos that provide a breath of fresh air from the tired stock photo tropes. It’s a cheap and simple option that will work for blogs of any kind. Some other great places to look for photos that don’t look ‘stock’ are Wikipedia Commons and Flickr.
Marrying beautiful imagery with stirring writing
It’s often said that one of the cardinal sins of writing is exposition. The oft-quoted “show, don’t tell” is the cornerstone of prose. Writing that intrigues, teases, and guides, rather than simply shows, is (arguably) always better.
So if that’s true for your writing, why shouldn’t it be true for your images too? While pictures are certainly effective in illustrating scenes, it’s not always possible to find one that perfectly matches your writing (unless you’re a particularly talented illustrator!).
So to choose an image that really complements your writing, you need to select one that embodies the truth at the heart of your piece. This is often found once your reader has finished reading your story or blog. What emotion do you want them to feel afterwards? What conclusion or thought process are you trying to stir within them? Use this to find the image that embodies these emotions.
Of course, this will all depend on what you’re writing. If you’re writing a piece on motivation or self-improvement, it could be one of empowerment or serenity. For this, an image of a sunrise or a placid lake would serve as a visual touchstone for what your reader is feeling inside.
By identifying the truth within your writing and what you want your reader to feel and think, you can find the image that evokes those emotions too.
Images play a vital role in your stories and blog posts, so it’s important that you find one that meets your needs. With such a wide range of resources open to you online, you can be sure that your blog will never go wanting for high-quality images again.
Article written by Kayleigh Alexandra who writes for Micro Startups, a blog dedicated to sharing tips and knowledge on everything startup, from marketing to branding. If you want to get in on the act or need some advice on your own startup, find her on Twitter today @getmicrostarted.