While the text that you write in your blog posts is essential to telling your story, you shouldn’t neglect the visual impact you can get by adding free photos to a post. This can help to capture a reader’s attention and can also intensify your storytelling, having a bigger impact than text alone.
You may not have a photo budget that allows you to commission your own work, and although that would be lovely, you can still make a big impression on your reader if you know where to look to find high-quality images that don’t require you to pay a fee.
Images attract the interest of your reader, can support the telling of your story, and can enhance the meaning you are putting across. They are also an opportunity to inject some personality into your blog, and by clever choice of the right image, can make your blog more memorable than the next one.Readers will interact more readily with blogs that not only educate them but that also prompt some emotion. Images are the perfect way to cause the reader to react positively to your site. Click To Tweet
Free photos to match your theme
As with batch-writing blog posts, it will prove easier to batch-source your images, and will lead to a more coordinated look. With such high-impact visual sites such as pinterest and instagram, it’s important not to leave your blog looking like the poor cousin.
When you have planned out a month or a quarter’s content in your editorial calendar, spend some time thinking about the types of image you will need to support those blog posts.
Follow the colour scheme for your site, or choose images that contrast boldly with your theme. You may need to get creative about ideas of what photos will accompany which blog and which will help to enhance the meaning of the text. Dependent on your topic areas, you may need to get right away from the literal interpretation of your posts.
Try to avoid cliches. If your blog has a business focus, stay away from shaking hands and people in suits. If you are trying to be taken seriously, hold back on the cute pictures of children that may take away from the professional tone you want to set.
Most of all, choose images that reflect your personality. There are so many different sites out there, you are sure to find something that will support your story and help your readers to understand you, where you are coming from , and what you can do for them.
Free but not without credit
You can’t just take any photo online and use it on your site, as copyright will apply in most cases. You could find yourself with hefty legal bills and a poor reputation if you just go ahead and take what you like. However, there are many sites which offer images specifically with the offer of free usage, and this is where you should search for suitable images.
You should always credit your photographs as required by the sites, as a common courtesy and a thank you for the use of the image, even if the site does not state this is mandatory.
One drawback from using free photos is that they can be used by anyone else. If this really bothers you then you have the option of using photo sites that do charge a fee for exclusive use, commissioning a photographer to take a series of images for you, or taking photos yourself that can be used to help extend your brand story online.
Finding the right photos
Armed with your list of blog posts to illustrate, some brainstormed ideas about how to extend your story with visual assets that support your text, you can try the following sites to see which one best fits with the tone of your voice and the appearance of your brand. Make sure the image you choose is of high quality, that you resize it appropriately for use on your blog, and that it does have some relevance to your post, even if that is tangential.It helps not to be too literal, and to think around a subject in order to spark a reader's interest, and to come up with an original angle that will help a reader's ongoing understanding of your topic. Click To Tweet
Some of the best sources for free photos
My own favourite site for blog photographs, there are some incredible images for use here, and the site offers a code snippet credit which you can embed on your site as a linking caption.
Photos are offered under a creative commons licence, which means you can use for personal and commercial use, and can modify photos as you need to to. There is no need to add a photographer credit but that is a courtesy to do, and you can easily upload your own photos for use to support the community going forwards.
A relative newcomer to this area, Pikwizard have some good exclusive photos and a growing range to choose from.
This site has some really good non-cliche business shots if you are looking to illustrate business-focused posts.
Some really lovely positive images here, and a weekly email you can sign up for to see the latest and greatest shots and news.
Heavily themed and sometimes very abstract, this site has a wide range of supporting images.
A striking collection of photos again across a wide range of subjects. Great for flatlays and more overtly feminine imagery if that is what will support your site.
Make an impact with the perfect free photos
When you don’t have access to a camera, the skill to create your own images, or the budget for a professional photographer, then these sites are all a great option for adding some visual style and meaning to your blog posts. This is only a small selection of sites that are out there that you can use.
Try them out and see which ones suit your blog, your subject matter and your mood, you will soon gain a favourite or two – though over time you may want to switch it up a bit to avoid your blog looking too much the same and to keep your readers interested and stimulated by your choice.
If you would like some advice on matching images to blog posts, support on creating impactful blog posts, or direction in setting up a content strategy and editorial calendar to simplify your content efforts and help you maximise your time, please get in touch with us on 01491 614404, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or book a discovery call directly from our site. We would love to help you reach your full content potential.