When I first started blogging I did not want any pictures on it because I didn’t want them to take the place of my “writing”. [insert guffaw here] But if you want your posts to be noticed and immediately attractive, get a picture in them!
Of course a personal photo is best IF you are taking some good photos. You don’t have to own a DSLR to take good pictures. There are so many places to find good photo tips. It only takes a few good ideas to get you started. I usually just play with the exposure and saturation levels in iPhoto.
Then I have to watermark and rename my photos. I already wrote a whole post about this. Check it. It might change your life.
NOT YOUR PHOTOS
If you need someone else’s photo, you MUST make sure it is has a Creative Commons license. If it doesn’t you are effectively stealing that photographer’s work. You can find all kinds of creative commons photos on Flickr and of course you can buy them on istockphoto or other sites.
I have recently found a few photographers on flickr who have sets of free photos. I also search through some of my photographer friends‘ photostreams to see if they have any creative commons photos so I can give them traffic.
Oh, and my flickr-searching tip? Add a descriptive word. For example, I didn’t just search for “camera” for the above picture. I searched “vintage camera” and found more interesting photos. For me and my tastes, I usually add the word “vintage”, “retro” or “bokeh” and can usually find some creative stuff that way.
Once you find the picture you want, you need to upload it to your blog. I used to just copy the HTML from flickr or photobucket, but if the owner deletes the photo for some reason, it will be gone from your site, too. So, it takes an extra step, but one that will save you later on!
When it’s uploaded, I like to center it and size it to 500 pixels wide. I don’t want the pictures so big you can’t see any text without scrolling. But not so little it looks like a thumbnail either.
Finally, you must link back to the photographer. This is called attribution. I usually just write photo source: photographer. Sometimes I put it in the caption so it’s right next to the photo, other times I shrink it (using the <small> tag) and put it at the very bottom of the post.
This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but finding pictures is one of the biggest times sucks for me. I usually have the perfect photo in my head and can never seem to find it!
What’s your blog-and-photo tip?