as bloggers, we've all been there: you've written a post but don't have a relevant image to include. you could hit "publish" as is... but you know that the physics of the internet make it practically impossible not to include a picture in your post. having a quick shoot is out because it's likely raining or 2am or your camera battery isn't charged or you're just feeling lazy. so what do you do?
many bloggers, big and small, use stock images in their posts... but I don't. the ins and outs of properly using and crediting these images can get tricky, and I just like the idea of having all my content being unique to me and my personal style. it's true that I'm a bit of a photography nerd, but you don't have to be a camera wizard to shoot great stock photos to use for your own blog. follow these six tips below, and soon you'll have a folder full of pretty and unique images to use on your blog.
use what you havedon't own a DSLR? no problem. you can take great photos with whatever camera you have. [let's be real, your iPhone has a better camera than most professionals 10 years ago.] stock photos can be shot anywhere in your house or outdoors where you have natural light. think of what types of images you want to have, then create them. go for a walk, get some props, stage a scene. wood floors, brick walls, grass, even construction paper make great backgrounds. seriously, you don't need to go buy fancy things. but for the love of cheese, TURN OFF YOUR FLASH.
create simple, clean imagesstock photos are typically used when you want to include an image in your post, but the image itself is not the star. this doesn't mean your photos can't have your personal style. add your favorite coffee mug, houseplant, or journal to the shot. just be sure clear away distracting background clutter. I like to shoot photos in my office because I love the contrast between my chalkboard wall and my bright red desk. but my desk is rarely clean and my chalk wall is typically covered in lists and doodles. shoving papers to the side and a few swipes to erase the wall make a world of difference!
take a variety of shotshaving a library of photos that complement the mood and theme of your blog will allow you to easily drop one in where needed, without boring your readers with the same image over and over. I have a single stock photo I use regularly for my writer's block series, but I wouldn't use the same image in a different type of post. that would probably get confusing! I have used the same photo more than once, but I try to space out their usage and vary the kinds of photos in consecutive posts. shooting similar photos in a "series" will also allow you to include more than one in a post [like I did here.]
save the original fileI'm going to say it again, because this one is really important: save the original file. having the full-size, unedited and uncropped photo enables you to go back to square one at any time. you can use the same photo in a variety of ways - square or landscape, vintage-y or black and white, with text or without. the look and feel of your blog changes over time, and keeping an unedited file means you can update it and use it again in the future.
think about text placementon some photos, make sure that you leave space with a semi-solid light or dark background where you can place contrasting text. one of the main reasons you want to include an image with your blog post is so that people can pin it to their Pinterest boards, right? when using a generic photo, adding text to describe your post can seriously boost the number of clicks your pin gets. [think about it: a photo of flowers or a cup of coffee on it's own may get repined, but over time people will change the description and not realize it links to your awesome post. but if you add the description to the image? people will know that the pin is linking back to something useful!] if you shoot your photos with this in mind, it will save you trouble when trying to edit and add text later.
browse your existing photosyou probably have hundreds of photos sitting on your phone or computer already that could be used in place of a stock photo. I shot new photos for this post, but I have an entire folder of "blank" photos that I can reference. every few months I scroll through my library to add to this folder and keep things fresh. I find that a lot of photos that aren't interesting or exciting enough to include in a travel post make great stock photos - blurred shots, nature details, faceless portraits, etc. and of course we all know that coffee mugs and laptops are blogger kryptonite!
do you use stock photos or shoot your own? what tips would you have to add?
linking up with Nicole for treat yo self Thursday