Tag Archives: images

Free images for your blog

Photos – we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again “Use them on your blog!”

Quite a while ago, we wrote a post about the importance of using images on your blog, and well, we stand by that. But we know not everyone has a camera phone, or photographic skills, so today I’m going to tell you a way of getting images on your site that have been taken by some photographers who have serious skillz. And, they are free AND the credit is already included, so you don’t need to gain permission (which you DO have to do if you take a photo from anywhere else, Google Images included!). sarah meets camila

We learnt this little tip after attending the Britmums Live! conference last year. By the way, if you’ve not given much thought to Britmums Live! then do, they have some really good workshops and speakers where you can pick up some great tips. And you might get to meet someone you really admire…

Anyway, we discovered that Getty Images – you know the amazing stock photographers who provide images for use in all sorts of places – have a royalty free section. This means you can use some of their images without having to pay a royalty charge to do so. It’s especially for bloggers and non-commercial use.

Not only that, but they’re high resolution (good quality) and easily searchable too, with an enormous amount of photos covering an enormous number of topics. 50 million images in fact. Yes for actual real.

Here’s the link: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/CreativeImages/RoyaltyFree

And it gets better. I was going to write a post with instructions on how to embed the image into your post. That means transferring the code from Getty Images to your blog, so that you don’t have to faff with downloading the image, and then uploading to your own blog, you just paste the code into the ‘text’ or ‘html’ option on your blog.
However, Getty Images has done that for me here, so I’m not going to repeat it. Just click on that link and the instructions are there for all to see:
Screenshot 2015-03-10 20.19.51Need a family image, no problem:

Want something school based?

Or maybe you want something to depict the tough days?

Whatever the scenario or theme of your post, you’re sure to find something to accompany your words.

Why images on your blog are important

So, you’ve written a cracking blog post. It says everything you want it to, the highs, the lows, emotions shared and you know it’s one of your better posts.

Excellent. So now you can go and post it. Then share it for all to see.
But stop.
Is there a way you can make your already brilliant blog post even better?

Well, the simple answer is yes.

I’d like you to consider images. There are plenty of blogs out there who just use words, or just images, but there are a number of reasons why images are becoming important on wordy blogs. We all want our blogged shared so as to attract new and keep existing readers, and if you think about the ways we do that – via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and even Pinterest, more and more often we see images attached to the posts that have been shared.

A striking image can be the difference between a reader clicking your blog or the one above it.

You might know that The Adoption Social is on Pinterest. We have a pinboard for each themed week of the Weekly Adoption Shout, and we pin the blogs of those who take part. To do this, there must be an image on those blogs that can be pinned. You’ll be able to tell from our pinboards that some of our bloggers don’t use many images, because the only image we’ve able to pin is our Weekly Adoption Shout Out badge on several sites. This is great advertising for The Adoption Social, but it doesn’t make those blogs stand out.Images 1

Another reason to consider images is to break up your site a little bit. Many of us use the same themes on our blogs, and even with some personalisation, they do still look pretty samey. Photos will make your blog stand apart from others with the same theme.

And do you know what? They just add a bit more interest and bring your writing to life.

If you use your images on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ too, hopefully you’ll be able to develop something of a style, and people will be able to look at any of those tools and know whether any given post is yours or not.

HandsAmongst the adoption blogging community, particularly amongst adoptive parent bloggers, there is concern over safety. That’s natural, some of our children are at risk of being found, some, well, you just want to protect their identities. This is why it’s important to think creatively about your images. They don’t have to be of your children’s faces…I’d discourage anyone from doing that unless you know exactly who is looking at those photos. But start thinking about taking pictures that show what your child is doing without showing them. Focus and zoom in on busy hands, backs of heads as they look out at something or scuffed trainers next to your own feet. There are many ways you can do this. Photograph what they’re doing or playing with, not them doing it or playing with it.

If you’re writing about school, what about taking a photo of their book bag and school shoes? If it’s a post about their favourite pastime – what about a photo of their drawings, favourite books, or their cycle helmet hanging off their bike?Big Ben

If you’re writing about a holiday, or a day out – how about a some nice landscapes, a funky sign, your clotted cream tea or even a landmark – holiday landmarks show where you’ve been, not where you live so aren’t as risky as local places.

Sometimes, the only appropriate photo you can find will feature your children or a local landmark. Don’t automatically dismiss it as unsuitable, because there are ways of disguising and obscuring their faces and other objects. See our post about pixelating and distorting images here.

I appreciate that we’re not all designers. We have something to say and we want to get it out there, but there’s no reason that we can’t develop our blogs to become more pleasing to the eye, as well as interesting to read.

Don’t worry if your photography skills aren’t top notch, or you don’t have a professional camera. A camera-phone works just as well for small images on your blog, and there is free software out there to improve your photos. See our post about Instagram here, and consider checking out the free online editing tool Pic Monkey at www.picmonkey.com.

Just have some fun playing with images and see what works on your own blog – enjoy!

A quick word on copyright:
We’ll touch on copyright at a later date, but if this is something you are worried about you can very easily add your blog name over your image as a watermark in Pic Monkey – similar to the top image in this post, but in more subtle colours and perhaps smaller. My suggestion would be to put the watermark over the middle of the image so it can’t be cropped off and used without your consent. And be sure that if you use someone else’s images on YOUR blog, get their express written permission first, unless you are buying that image and permission from a stock photography website and have proof you can use the image.

Introducing Instagram

Instagram

Heard of Instagram but not really sure what it’s all about?

Well, it’s basically an app for your phone (Iphone or Android) whereby you can take photographs and edit them, or edit your existing photographs.

Once you’ve done that you publish them to your very own Instagram timeline.

A little like Twitter, you can follow other people and therefore their photographs appear in your timeline. Other people can follow you, and your images then appear in their timelines.

You can ‘like’ or comment on your own photos, or those in your timeline. And again, like Twitter, you can tag your images with #hashtags and tag other users by including their Instagram @ handle in your comments.

The editing capabilities in Instagram are limited, you can change the overall look of your photograph by selecting an effect – some make it look old, some brighten your image, some turn it black and white, there’s a range of effects. You can also choose whether to include a frame or not, but you don’t get to choose which frame is used. You can also blur parts of your photographs, which helps both obscure parts of an image you might to keep private (your children’s faces for example), and it can also draw focus to something, by removing or blurring distractions. You can brighten a photograph and rotate it too.

That’s pretty much it, but it’s enough to turn a dull picture into something a little more special. Here are 4 versions of the same image…OK, so it’s not a great image, but you get the idea…

4 different effects

When you upload an image to Instagram you are given the option to share the image to various other places – Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr and even FourSquare, so your friends on those platforms can see your photographic efforts too.

I rarely include photos of my children on Instagram but if you want to, there is a helpful security setting which you can turn on – this means only those you approve can follow you. It’s a simple yes/no to accept/reject potential followers.

Very recently, Instagram have also launched a video aspect to the app, where you can take or view videos as well as images, but I’ve yet to test this feature.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth it, then I’d say yes!
For me, it’s a really simple way of quickly improving my photographs, and sharing them with other people who like photography. I can include images from my blog which helps with drawing people to my blog, and I can create a ‘look’ if I want, styling my images similarly so people instantly know they’re mine.

I have different people following me in different places, so having the ability to share a photo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all in one go is great for me.

I can do it on the move, and because copies of all my Instagrammed pictures appear in my phone’s gallery, I can very easily add them to my blog too.

If you want to get into Instagram, then you’ll need to download the app from the Android Play Store or the Apple store. You can follow myself (@BoysBehaviour) and Sarah (@PuffinDiaries) to get you started too.

For more information on Instagram, go to www.Instagram.com.

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