Where do you turn when you need inspiration for blog posts? A picture may be worth 1000 words, but sometimes I only need a few hundred. When I need blog post ideas, I sometimes turn to photo sharing site flickr. Not only do I get ideas for interesting posts, I get the photos I need to go with them!
Here’s the secret: Did you know that many flickr members will allow you to use their photos on your blog? You can not take any and every photo, and there typically are some restrictions on use, but there are many quality photos available. In most cases, you need to properly attribute the photo and include a link. The license information can be found on each photo’s page.
If it says, “All rights reserved,” then the photographer does not allow use of the photo. However, many say, “Some rights reserved,” or some variation on that. Click on the “Some rights reserved” link and you will see exactly how the photo may be used and you will see the link that should be copied and pasted into your webpage as a photo credit.
The photographers who allow use of their photos still own all of the rights to their photos. They have just decided to freely grant certain rights to others who wish to use the photos. The photographers do this on the flickr site via Creative Commons (CC) licensing. CC licensing may allow commercial or non-commercial use, or it may or may not allow any modifications to the original work (aside from resizing it).
An easy way to find photos you may use is to start your search from the Creative Commons site: http://search.creativecommons.org/. Make sure you check the box about allowing commercial use, then search for keywords related to your blog. You will be amazed at what comes up! (If you want to be able to modify the images, be sure to check the box that says “modify, adapt or build upon” before doing your search.)
When you find a photo you like, verify the license terms then download the photo and copy the attribution link. You can also use the search at CreativeCommons.org to find text, music, video and other content that you may legally use.
I not only find great photos I can use, I get ideas for additional posts as I go through the search results. Photos have a way of getting the creative juices flowing. Before I know it, I have ten or more great post ideas.
If you already have an idea for a post, but need a cool photo to go with it, the PhotoDropper WordPress plugin will use criteria you set to find photos for you. Thanks to Marc Mackenzie of JustEyewear.com for suggesting this plugin.