Pictures. They’re fun. They make a piece of writing more appealing, make a blog post look more professional. But…most images you find on the Internet are the result of someone else’s creativity. Just as you and I don’t want to be plagiarized, neither do the artists and photographers who share their images on the web.
If you’re *not* an artist or photographer, though, where the heck do you find photos to spice up the appearance of your blog? Here are a few places to look.
- On the Flickr Creative Commons, a number of photographers offer their work for free—as long as you give them credit.
- iStockPhoto offers a wide variety of stock images for sale. If you’re looking for a specific and hard-to-find photo, this is a good place to look. You can purchase an extra-small image for 1 credit, or about $1.50.
- iStockPhoto* also offers a free image of the week, such as the one above, and free vector images of the month. What, you ask, is a vector image? It’s a graphic image made up of shapes and lines—which doesn’t sound nearly as cool as it looks. Here’s the November free vector:
These guys are a little tricky to use—you have to have vector editing software such as Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, or CorelDRAW if you want to change the image at all. I went the low-tech route: downloaded the file (it’s a .zip file), unzipped it, and opened the “.jpg” thumbnail image instead of the actual vector using Picasa photo software. I’m sure there’s a better way, but this worked and took zero extra time!
- stock.xchng is another stock photo site—on which most of the images (or all?) are free. (with certain restrictions. See the fine print here.) I haven’t used this site but might have to start doing so. Despite their somewhat alarming fine print, they’re affiliated with another well-known stock image company, Getty Images, which gives them the stamp of legitimacy.
* There are numerous stock photo websites; iStockPhoto is the one I’m most familiar with.