Many bloggers use stock photos for their posts, and even more steal stock photos for their posts. I’ve got a robust method for keeping original and copyrighted photos on every single post at ChrisJeub.com, and it isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think.
I take my own pictures. I carry my Canon T2i on big trips where I want stellar photos, but for a practical purposes, my iPhone 4s works great for both photos and movies. I always have it on me, and when the opportunity arises, I pull it out and snap some cool photos or movies. These pictures and movies become the eye candy for my blog posts. Let me list for you the reasons why I think this is great…
- Personable. Scroll through my site and you’ll find very few stock photos. Whatever the topic, I am sure to have a picture relating to it. This gives you a peak inside my life in a personable and real way. I hope you appreciate that.
- Original. Personally, I find stock photos to be bland and canny. A stock photo of some model family, for instance, doesn’t draw me into a parenting article. But a picture of the author’s kids does.
- Royalty Free. Right-click and copy is all-too-easy on the Web. Though it is done all the time, it doesn’t make it right. I don’t want to steal someone else’s hard work, and I can always be confident my own pictures are mine.
These are the reasons I do it, but how I do it is the real gem of information. It goes no further than this reality: I carry and use my iPhone wherever I go. Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage,” so photos for me are everywhere. Anything interesting, I click a photo for future use. When I click a picture, I have a routine—I call it my iProcess—to prepare the photo for my online content.
Sometimes a photo is worth sharing right away. My eye candy for today was from a picture I took on Tuesday when I walked through the Denver International Airport late at night. It was after hours, and I had never seen DIA so empty. Why was I there? Because I had just spent 30 minutes trying to find my Excursion on the wrong side of the airport. No kidding!
This was a photo I wanted to share right away on Facebook, sort of a laugh with my friends. I was tired and feeling a bit foolish, so here’s what I posted from my phone:
Why would I be passing this at 10:00pm? Because I tried to find my car on the wrong side of DIA. In snow. #NotMyBrightestMoment
Funny thing, I got about 1/2 dozen responses from people admitting they had done the exact same thing in the past. Maybe they build airports like this just to get a good laugh at people like me. I’m glad I shared the photo right away from my phone.
II. In the Future
For those photos you don’t really care about sharing right away but are good for a future time, file them away in your favorites folder in your photo file system. I use iPhoto. I try my best to keep my photos from becoming a mess by labeling most of my photos from events where I took them. For random photos, I file them by month.
I also keep a folder of topics that I blog about often. Speech and debate, for instance: I have a folder of my favorite photos from camps and tournaments over the years. My campers sign a waiver that allows me to use their photos for promotional pieces, so I have minor modeling releases in place for safe keeping. The campers love it when their picture ends up on a blog post somewhere.
Here’s the key: always be taking pictures. Always. When I blog on a particular subject, it isn’t too difficult to find a picture that reflects the topic. Why? Because chances are good I have a picture of it. Take pictures of the ordinary as well as the out-of-ordinary.
This is the best part. If you are searching for something to write about, just click through these event folders for a little while. One of those awesome photos you took in the last couple weeks most certainly will trigger an idea.
I encourage you to start personalizing your blog with pictures of your own. Invest in a nicer smartphone if you need to. You’ll seldom be lacking that eye candy idea, and your blog will be all the more interesting because of it.