It took me a while to get used to the idea of using photos with my blog posts. I think in words, not pictures. However, most people (even me) respond to visuals and will be more interested in your blog when you include complementary photos.
In a recent post I told you about some of my favorite sources for stock photos. Today I will give you some tips on how to choose the right photos to go with your posts.
Most photo collections are indexed by keywords, so the way to start is to enter a keyword related to your post in the search box. The photos returned in the search may include some that are way off base. Refine your search until you find a photo that works with your post. For example, to find the photo I used with this post on making up to customers when you make a mistake, I tried to looking for several different keywords before trying “sad.” That was a winner!
Don’t be too literal. You picture does not have to be a literal interpretation of your post, just something that captures its spirit. For example, this post on creating trust in client relationships could have been illustrated by a picture of two people shaking hands or something else showing a client relationship. Instead, I chose a photo of a cat sleeping in someone’s hand—a perfect example of trust.
Use pictures of people. People like to look at other people. Choose photos where the subject is looking out at the reader and making eye contact to draw the reader in. If the subject is not looking at the reader, they should be facing into the post. The reader will look where the subject of the photo is looking.
People love kids and animals. I used a photo from ICanHasCheezburger for this post on finding work you love. I often use pictures with kids, such as the one with this post.
Be a little humorous, when appropriate. Photos such as the cat photos from ICanHasCheezburger, or other amusing pictures, get noticed and draw readers in to your blog.
Edit the photo, if necessary, to get exactly the image you want. Crop the photo to get a close up of an interesting detail. Change the colors, flip the photo horizontally or make other changes. (Note: Before editing a photo, make sure that the person or company you got the photo from allows you to make changes. Some do not allow you to make derivative works or edit the photos.)
You can use Photoshop or other photo editing software to modify photos. For simple editing, such as resizing or cropping photos, I use IrfanView. It is free (although the creator asks for voluntary donations) and simple to use.
Can’t find a photo you like? Consider using a drawing or an abstract image. Or text. For this post about using Twitter hashtags, I created a graphic of a Twitter hashtag.
Be open minded when choosing images for your blog posts. Choose pictures that will engage your readers and entice them to read your posts.