A Picture is Worth: How I Write a Blog Post {Part 4}

how to find photos for blog posts

source: bethan

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.


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 friendsphotostreams 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?

Coming Soon: Part 5 {SEO}

writing tips for blog newbies


  1. Thanks so much for the free photo links! 🙂

  2. I use the zemanta plugin for wordpress.

  3. Hi there,
    I found you via Lisa-Jo’s (Gypsy Mama) tweet about your post series.

    Thanks for the heads up on Zemanta. I will be checking them out!

    I find the photo search sometimes to take longer than writing the post. While the amount of time it takes can be really aggravating, I love finding the image that really helps to set the mood for my post.

    Your warnings about attribution are well taken. Folks have had to pay fines and go to court over stolen images, even when they didn’t realize they were stealing. It certainly is User Beware!

  4. This is a very helpful post! I’m just coming out of a place of ignorance regarding use of photos (I’ve always sourced them but haven’t paid a lot of attention to copyright – yikes!).

    Trying to be more careful, and focus more on my own photos which has been super fun.

    I’m interested in the rest of your series – off to check it out!

  5. I had to smile because I “write” my posts exactly the opposite way… you mention your initial focus on the text/content and then the photos….well for someone like me who does NOT enjoy writing, I focus on the pictures and include the least amount of writing that I can get away with! I LOVE taking pictures, on the other hand.

  6. Very true. I read somewhere once that you should strive to have a photo in every post. That may be overdoing it slightly, but it’s a good rule of thumb to get yourself in the habit of posting photos.

    I’m all too guilty of just Googling for the photo I want and then pasting it in my post, without any thought of who’s photo it is. I really need to be better about this – thank you for raising the bar! I’ll have to check out some of those Creative Commons links you gave.

    • I do put a photo in every post for a few reasons: 1) if it’s in Google Reader, it adds flavor since they can’t see my header/sidebar, etc. 2)If I ever link my post to facebook (which I do regularly), pinterest or anywhere else that would take a photo preview w/the link, I need that photo in there so it doesn’t take a preview of one of my ads or something! (Does that make sense?)

      And yes, use the CC links! 🙂

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  1. […] Part 2: PROOFREAD Part 3: Make It Sticky Part 4: Finding & Using Photos […]

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