What is the first thing that draws you to read an article or blog? Our attention is often initially captured by an image. In our digital age, social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest have driven the trend toward image-centric content. Images can bridge the gap between words and feelings, enhance posts, and establish an overarching look and feel to your blog. Without a word, your images can covey that your blog is family-friendly, sophisticated, modern or rustic. It is important that the images you choose for your blog are unique and stylistic so your blog doesn’t blend in with the rest.
Once we know how to choose the right images, we are faced with another question: how do we know what images we are allowed to use in our blog? Although we are connected to a vast supply of photos and artwork, it can be difficult to understand which are protected and which are okay to post.
Just because you include an image on your blog, it doesn’t mean it’s legal. You may notice that many images on the web have digital watermarks.
A digital watermark is a pattern inserted into a digital image, which identifies the file's copyright information. Many people and companies use digital watermarks to deter people from using their images without permission. If you’re interested in using an image with a digital watermark, it is best to visit the site the watermark correlates to, if the information is available. For example, the above photo can be purchased at Shutterstock.com.
How to Attribute Images
If you’re not properly attributing your images, you’re stealing. But, proper attribution can be trickier than it seems. Sites that offer images also provide information about attribution in their terms and conditions. Although each image can have its own specification for attribution, below we outline general guidelines for crediting an image.
Although some images may not provide all the above information, it is critical that you include credit to the original author of the image (and link back to the original author) whenever possible. TIP: *Make sure you link back to the post where you found the image, not to the homepage.
Some photos are protected under public domain, which means an image’s property rights have been forfeited, expired or are inapplicable. Some photographers are happy to share images and allow bloggers to utilize them without attribution. This information will typically be listed on the website of the image.
If your budget doesn’t allow for you to purchase images, choose your stock images wisely. If you are writing about managing stress or frustration, steer away from the images that show a picture of someone pulling their hair out and think more creatively about the feeling you want to convey.
There are many websites that offer images royalty free—Buffer Social shares the article 53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and Social Media Posts.
Another great way to include images without charge is to take or make your own. In our digital age, most bloggers have access to a camera (even if it’s on your phone). Check out the basics on Massive Sway’s post Photography Tips for Bloggers. If you have some photography experience, but want inspiration on How to Take Better Blog Photos read The Adored Life’s post.
How to Purchase Images
Choosing to use images that you have to pay for elevates the feel of your blog, gives you access to a greater variety of content and makes your blog stand out from others. The majority of bloggers are going to use free stock images because it is easy and inexpensive. If you want your blog’s images to stand out, sites like Shutterstock, iStock and Getty Images offer different subscription levels and access to high-quality images.
In our visual world, including images in your blogs is a necessity. Readers want to feel connected to your content through photos and artwork. If you have any great tips about including images in blog posts, share your thoughts in the comments section below!