How to source great images for your blog

Joy Division

Are you a copywriter or blogger looking for some fresh and creative design inspiration, some new marketing textures for your site?

Are you as turned off by all those dull, done, stock images as I am? You know the score.

In his Copywriting Tips Nick Usbourne writes about the perils of using cliched images on blogs and websites. As ‘integrated business solutions,’ ‘passion’ for this that or the other, ‘leverage’ and ‘thinking outside the box’ now reflect errrrmmm……. thinking inside the box, so do images.

I’ll offer a brief description – you do the mental image stuff. Honk when you’ve had enough.

  • Someone shouting into a megaphone.
  • Thick wristed business chaps shaking hands.
  • Any group of tanned, toned, terribly smart business people grinning.
  • A globe, a mouse and a graph.
  • Unnaturally white teeth.
  • Designer eyewear, lab coats and clipboards.

It’s like some sort of business porn.

If you’re a copywriter, blogger, SEOist or just want to say something a bit different with your images, then why not follow the Flickr Creative Commons route. There are millions of images to choose from and many are available to use under Creative Commons.

Here’s how – I don’t know about you but I need these things spelt out step by step.

  1. Go to
  2. Enter a search term in the Search box and press enter
  3. Now click on Advanced Search – it’s below ‘Full text and tags only’ to the right of the ‘Search’ box.
  4. This will take you through to the Advanced Search page. You’ll notice your term in the search box still.
  5. Scroll down and check the options you want.
  6. Be sure to check the Creative Commons box.
  7. Now click the blue search button at the bottom of the page in the middle.
  8. This will return some images. Click on one you like and open its page.
  9. Scroll down to see the Creative Commons info in Additional Information – on the right hand side, just below the list of tags. Above the little green box.
  10. Click on where it says ‘Some rights reserved.’ This will spell out the particular Creative Commons license that applies to that image.
  11. Save it to your computer if you like it.
  12. Stick it in a blog– but remember to comply with the Creative Commons, for example the ‘right to make derivative works’ and attribute the source.

There’s no shortage of great imagary there. I LOVE D Sharon Pruitt’s work as Pink Sherbert and Mikee Showbiz’s amazing coloured micro smoking pigs (that’s curly tailed SEO for those of you in the know 😉

For a longer more detailed explanations of the processs and information on the types of Creative Commons licences check out articles at  Skellieweg and Sethsimonds. Sonia Simone (always good) has her own take on things with her – Lazy Bloggers Guide to Finding Great Post Images

To add a little more flavour I take my images, including my own photos to and marmalise polarise them. I like the retro, lo-fi feel.  The romance of polaroid images, inspired by pages such as Audrey Hepburn Complex and Sabino at Tumblr. Inappropriate probably, but here’s the most wonderful image I’ve stumbled across over there. There’s something Staple Hill, circa 1973 about it …………………anyway…………

My advice?

Get creative, get lateral, get original. Give your post/site/whatever some character, a little personality. Make it different. Differentialise it (see…. you can do it with words too).

Have a play. Try bending and breaking some of your own digital photos as well. It’s amazing how things can turn out.

Art innit!

Do you know of any other good sources of images or ways to treat images that are interesting?

Please…. do let me know.

Thanks to dullhunk for the Blog Image

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How to source great images for your blog

2 Responses

  1. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

    seo January 28, 2010 at 2:37 pm #
  2. That’s very kind of you, thank you 😉

    Martin January 29, 2010 at 5:57 am #

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