Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Fantastic Photos: Using Pictures to Enhance Your Blog Part 2

In part one of my post, I talked about using photo share sites, like, to find pictures to go with your blog posts. In part two of "Fantastic Photos," I have a few more ideas of places to find pictures and enhance your blogs.

And why should you care about photos? Just think about this: What draws your eye to articles in a newspaper? It's either the headline or the photos (which is usually the case). Why do we love picture books? Sure, the text is cute--but the illustrations make it sparkle. Think of adding photos to your blog posts like you are adding sparkle. You are just enhancing your brilliant words. People love photos, and it's not hard to find good photos!

So, here are a couple more ideas:

  • Join the Associates program. Then you can get html coding for those rectangles with the picture of the book cover, and the button that says buy from Amazon. Don't freak out when you read html coding in my above sentence. Amazon makes it simple, simple, simple. I use it on my blog, where I always put an Amazon link to the book that I am reviewing. If people click on a book from your website and order something through Amazon, then you get a percentage of the sales. Granted, it's not very much, but it's something. For example, this month I have sold 3 books off my blog through Amazon, and my account has a balance of 26 cents!
  • If you are writing about people, books, music, etc, use photos of the people and book album cover. People are VERY generous about sending you photos to enhance your blog if you contact the right person. For example, at the big publishing houses like Penguin Group for example, they have a media section of their website. Find the publicist that fits with the book you are reviewing, e-mail them, and ask for a jpeg file of the book cover and/or author, and they will send one to you in a timely manner. Some book/author/musician websites have a feature where you can download the photo from their website. Just read the information carefully to see if a photo credit is given and make sure to include this information with your blog post. I have even contacted the author myself, and they are more than happy to send you files or give you the name of their publicist. In today's market, everyone is happy with free publicity.
  • This next suggestion may seem obvious but you can provide YOUR OWN PHOTOS. (No duh, Margo, uh?) The only reason why I include that here is because the problem most people run into is that their photo files from their digital cameras are so large that they don't load properly to the blog post. So, just remember to resize the files. Most photo editing programs have a place where you can easily resize files for e-mailing and downloading. Another thing to be careful of is if you have a blog about parenting, for example, and you want to download photos of your neighbor's children to enhance a blog post, make sure you have permission from your neighbors to publish their children's photos on the website. Some people don't care about things like this, especially since names are rarely included, but other people are touchy. I have a friend whose husband doesn't even want her to load photos of their own kids to her Facebook page; so to be on the safe side, it is always better to ask.
This ends my suggestions and places where I have found photos to enhance my blog. I'm sure there are more, many more. SO, if you have a different source, let us know!

Happy writing!
Margo Dill

photo by Shashi Bellamkonda

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Fantastic Photos: Use Pictures to Enhance Your Blog Part I

People like images, white space, and easy-to-read fonts when they are reading blogs and websites. A full page of small, cursive-type text with one or two paragraph breaks and no photos may not be read even if it contains the secret to becoming a millionaire. A question I often hear bloggers and writers ask is, "Where do you find photos that are not copyrighted?"

The source I use the most often on my blog and when I write for Demand Studios and Bright Hub is Flickr. It is super easy to get a free account on Flickr and to find photos on any topic. People upload their photos into different levels of copyright protection. I mostly use Creative Commons at the lowest level. This means that I can download other people's photos, give them credit on my blog (by putting their user name and, and use their photo for free. Currently, there are over 15 million photos in this lowest, easiest to use level of Flickr Creative Commons photos.
You can also find over 5 million photos in the next level of Creative Commons. This is where you must give the photographer credit for the photo, and you can not change the image in anyway through Photoshop or some other means. So, as of now (and the number is always increasing), there are over 20 million photos at your disposal for free to use on your blog or website.

When I want a photo, I just do a search in the Creative Commons photos with keywords. For example, on my post about how I was going to change the format of my blog, "Read These Books and Use Them," I wanted a picture about change. So, I typed in change as my keyword. Believe it or not, I got this great photo that depicted exactly what I wanted to depict.
Besides Flickr, you can also use Photobucket, which was recommended to me by Annette Fix, author of The Break-Up Diet. I haven't used this photoshare site personally, but Annette uses it for her blogs!

Stay tuned for some more tips on putting photos on your blogs and websites when I post again for The Muffin with part two of "Fantastic Photos."
Until then,

Margo Dill

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