How to Find (& Keep) Perfect Photos for Your Blog Posts

Perhaps. But if it is, photos are definitely Queen. :)

Of course what you have to say should matter more than how you say it.

Back in the day, I subscribed to a professional newsletter printed quite plainly with nothing but tiny text. Line after line. Page after page.

Yet I read that newsletter voraciously, cover to cover, with a highlighter in hand, and kept copies for years. The content was that good.

But in today’s over-stimulated world, with status updates and videos and tweets and bleeps competing for our attention Every Single Second of the Day…

…even great content can get lost.

So finding ways to capture attention can make all the difference, as your business goes from nowhere to noteworthy.

One of the best ways to do that is with a great photo.

Sure. Video is hot right now, and I get that.

But nothing says STOP.
    Stay here…
        Gaze at this.
            Ponder for just a moment.

Breathe it in.

Like a photograph.

If, that is, it’s the right photograph.

But here’s the problem.

What if you know you need a great picture, but have no idea where to find it?

What if you know where to look, but can’t remember where you saw that one that carried just the right message?

Or perhaps you think you have to buy one from some paid on-line photo shop.

Well, I have good news, and bad news. 

First, the perfect shot isn’t going to just magically appear on your screen.
You have to search for one that’s right AND that you can legally use.

(Sometimes the hunt takes awhile.)

But here’s the good news. 

You can almost always find exactly what you want if you know where to look.

And you won’t have to pay for it. :)

Here’s how to find the perfect photo that you can use with your content.  

Without worry – and without cost.

THE SEARCH

  • Go to Flickr.com and set up a free account. Yes, there are other sites out there that work just fine, but this one has more photos than you can ever possibly need, and it’s easy to use.
  • Type your search terms in the search window on the upper right corner of the home screen. Let’s say you’re writing a post about something funny that happened with your friend’s cat, so you type in “cats”, then hit “enter”.
  • An entire page of cat pix appears. In fact, there will be 398,000 photos of cats. Aack! Don’t panic. :)
  • Look for the words “Any License” just above the photos on the LEFT. Click the down arrow, then select “Commercial Use Allowed.” If you want to modify the photo (by adding text to it, for instance) select “Commercial use and mods allowed.”
  • Now, look for the word “Relevant” just above the photos on the RIGHT. These are considered most ‘relevant’ to your search terms. Sometimes, you’ll find what you need here. (Don’t forget to explore different terms: cat, lion, kitty, feline…)
  • Or, click on the down arrow right there, and mark “Interesting”. This will often bring you a slightly better quality. (And sometimes you’ll just get some pretty funky stuff. Don’t worry. You’re on the right track!)

Somewhere between Relevant and Interesting, you’ll find what you want – all Creative Commons licensed. Just be sure to provide credit by listing the photographer’s name when you use the picture.

THE CAPTURE

  • When you find the photo you want, right click on it, then select “Open in a new tab”.  Your photo should open up all by itself under a separate tab in your browser.
  • Go there, and look for the down arrow with an underscore on the bottom right side of your screen. Click that, and choose the size you want to download. Unless I need something small for an e-zine, I usually choose “medium”.
  • You’ll get a pop up window asking if you want to open the photo, or save it. Click ‘Save File”, and save it to your desktop so you’ll know where to find it.
  • rename the photo on my desktop with something obvious, plus the photographers name, like this. “Gray kitten – Jane Smith”.  That way, if I need to find it again on Flickr, at least I’ll know who I’m looking for!

Now you can upload as needed for your content. Voila!

But here’s the best part.

As you wander through Flickr, you’ll see some pix that are really striking. They may be  particularly beautiful, cute or poignant.

They may be a little strange (in a good way), or perhaps they fit some concept. You just have a sense that you could use them some day.

So look for the star outline at the bottom right of each photo. Select that, and you’ll see that it goes solid white. You have just saved that picture to your own ‘favorites’ folder.

Didn’t know you had a favorites folder?

Look at the menu options across the top of the screen, and find the word, “You”. Yes, they mean you. Click that for a drop down menu. See the word “favorites” down there on the list? Click that next.

You should see all the photos that you’ve starred showing up right there.

Eventually, you’ll have an extensive collection of interesting photos that caught your eye in some way.

Now, when you need something for a blog post or your website, odds are good you’ll have the perfect one already in your stash, so the search goes much faster.

As to where I found that super cool pic at the top of THIS post?

Yep. You guessed it.

Happy Picking!


Photo Credit:  Moyan Brenn on Flickr

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