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In today’s article, we are talking about the importance of images in our blog posts – and where we can find the best ones to represent us.
It’s important to understand that images are not just a “nice-to-have” aspect of blogging, it’s a necessity – but more on that in a second.
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Another crucial variable we need to take into consideration is the licensing of an image – it would be a bummer to write a fantastic article, have it go viral, only for it to come under scrutiny because we’ve used a picture without giving the proper credit.
But no worries – all of this and more will be tackled in this article. Buckle up, we are going on a ride into the wondrous world of images for blog articles.
Why do we even bother to use images in our articles?
Yes, why do we? Isn’t the point of writing a blog article the… text? Isn’t that the reason why people are clicking on it, because we are discussing something interesting and they want to read about it? Well, yes, sure.
However, it is important to remember that we do live in an age of short attention spans and visual mediums. Instagram, Youtube, TikTok – some of the most popular apps out there are exclusively visual. Long gone are the days when our parents and grandparents would spend hours on end with a book in their hands.
Nowadays, people need “distractions” – something to:
- Keep their eyes and mind entertained, while they go through the text.
- Prevent them to be scared off – many people click off an article that has overwhelmingly much text.
So, why do we need images in our articles?
To grab the reader’s attention
As mentioned above, pictures attract the reader’s attention and keep them more focused on the task at hand – reading the text. Firstly, the cover photo will play a big role in incentivizing them to click on the article, to begin with.
Secondly, the pictures within the article will keep them entertained so that they don’t click off it immediately. Having an interesting text to go along with it is a major advantage, of course! 🙂
To tell a story
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. And even if your article has lots of words, pictures can really help to hammer the point across. Whether you are writing about something emotional or rather relaxing, the right image can transport the reader in the appropriate mood.
To convey the right message
Many people nowadays, especially the younger audience, don’t have the time or aren’t in the right headspace to pay a lot of attention whilst reading – they do it in the subway, at the traffic lights, while waiting for their takeaway coffee to be ready.
Images come in the aid of the messages shared in the article – even if the reader has not spent the appropriate amount of time to truly understand what the point of the text was, they will surely “get the gist of it” from the attached images (if chosen correctly).
To make the article more shareable
Shareability is the secret ingredient to any successful online presence – whether you’re a writer, photographer, or entertainer, you want to make sure your content is as shareable as possible, so it reaches the largest audience possible.
Great images make the articles more shareable – they add colour, context, a story. Choosing the right, high-quality ones will incentivize the readers to share with their friends, making your article more well known in no time!
What kind of images should you use?
What types of images should you use? Is any image ok, as long as it’s pretty? Well… no.
Choosing the right photo is an art of itself. It’s almost as important as writing an excellent text – the two go hand in hand, and together, they create magic.
The photo should be targeted to your audience
It is always important to keep in mind who you are talking to. If you are writing for a younger audience, you may try using some more colourful photos, maybe gifs, maybe memes. If you are addressing a more mature audience, you may want to choose more serious photos, that will not confuse them.
There is nothing more efficient in distracting your attention (in all the wrong ways) than an unauthentic photo. You’ve surely seen the endless memes about people laughing while eating a salad. That is not what you should be aiming for – instead, look for pictures that actually feel real.
Use real people
Related to the point of having authentic pictures – you will also need real models. Real-life humans, doing normal stuff, illustrating what it is you are trying to get across. Celebrities and models will not work if you are trying to transmit something valid – they will turn your article in something more like a tabloid piece.
Type of licenses
SR-EL (Sell the Rights)
The Sell the Rights or SR-EL license offers the buyer full ownership over the pictures after the purchase has been processed. This means that the customer has exclusivity rights over the photo, except for one case – the one in which the photo has been previously bought by someone else. To avoid this miscommunication, the buyer can contact the agency’s support staff.
This license imposes very little restrictions, such as:
- Sensitive subjects may still apply.
- The buyer cannot claim the work as their own.
- They cannot resell it.
The photo will be removed from all other platforms after the purchase, so the customer can rest assured that the image will not be sold to anybody else.
Plus, other photos that are very similar to the one paid for (same concept, models, subject matter, or wardrobe, but maybe a slightly different angle) will also be removed from the marketplace.
RF or Royalty-Free is by far the most well-known type of license on the market today. However, the name can be misleading for a lot of users – this does not mean that the photo is free for use. It just means that the customer has to pay a flat fee to use this image.
The “free” aspect of the title comes from the fact that the image can be used for a large number of materials – usually 500,000, but the number varies from an agency to another.
U-EL (Unlimited seats):
The U-EL or Unlimited seats license is an extension of the RF. It is available to all employees of the same organization – meaning that RF is nominal to one individual, whereas U-EL is applicable to all the individuals operating in that same company. The number of copies that can be used is unlimited for all staff members.
Some legal restrictions do apply, such as:
- Customers are not allowed to resell the image.
- They are not allowed to use them for problematic subjects (pornography, alcohol, tobacco, violence, or hate speech) without credit line and the explicit consent from the artist and models.
Great sources of free images
Dreamstime’s free photos section
Dreamstime offers, besides their licensed stock images, access to free, high-quality ones as well. The idea behind it is to also support people that may not have the resources necessary to buy stock photography or don’t need very specific, privately owned images for their materials.
This category has a very wide selection of free images that the creator can choose from and use for their content. There are over 180,000 free Public Domain images that can be used for blogs, social media, or websites.
This feature is especially helpful for all types of bloggers that need expressive images to insert within their blog articles, promotional materials on social media, and good-looking websites.
Stock Free Images
Stockfreeimages is another popular provider of quality stock photography worldwide. Everyone, from independent customers to Fortune 500 companies use the site to provide the best stock photos for their creative endeavors. This includes advertising companies, national and international magazines, as well as film and television production companies.
StockFreeImages is actually a sister site to Dreamstime, and was set up as a place to feature content which was donated by Dreamstime contributors for free download. The only limitation is the size of the free images which are limited to smaller web sizes, but usually this is all you need for your blog posts.
All materials found on Stockfreeimages are licensed under the RF (Royalty Free) license, meaning you only pay a flat fee and then are able to use the image for over 500,000 copies of your materials.
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