Stock photos are a great way to attract people to your blog, because people always love great eye candy. You’ve learned how, got a reliable blog host (click here to see the only web host we recommend to our friends and family) – and now you’re ready to find those stock photos that will really make your site look amazing!
First impressions matter and people DO tend to judge a book by its cover.
What Are Stock Photos?
In a nutshell, stock photos are bulk rate licensed images that can be used for specific purposes such as the web, media and print. They cover a wide range of subjects and topics, including common landmarks, concepts and events. The photographer retains the copyright regardless the number of times others have bought the picture.
Think of these as pictures someone has already taken, which you can use on your website, usually for a price. But it will be far cheaper than having your own photos made.
Why Get Stock Photos?
People are visual creatures. Stock photos along with the blog posts can greatly enhance the appearance of your site and increase the number of your followers. When you write an article, for instance, adding images can help you appeal to your visitors and grab their attention much faster. You’re also creating a premium experience and establishing your brand in the eyes of your readers.
Stock photos aren’t good just for your readers. They can also boost your Google rankings, and every bit matters. If you tag your photos appropriately, it will also help you attract relevant traffic that may be looking for the information you have on your blog. For example if your photo is tagged with “French kissing with braces”, it could generate some very targeted traffic! But as we warned before, tag responsibly and accurately so you’re not labeled as spammer by Google.
Whenever people take photos, they own the copyright to them. If you just indiscriminately get the pictures from other sites using Google without permission, then eventually you’re going to get copyright infringement notices because you’re not paying for them.
This will happen more often as you get more traffic to your blog. You will have to take the images off your website or worse pay a fine! Ouch! Who needs that?!
Stock Photos Are The Answer
This is where stock photos come in. They are royalty free or specially licensed photos you can purchase usually for a small price, sometimes free, to use on your website – legally. The photographers would get some passive income as others purchase their photos. Make sure to read the licensing agreement for each site to make sure that you’re following the rules…
Usually, you can either buy exclusive rights to a single photo or you can buy a subscription to a stock photo database, which allow you to download a certain number of photos over a limited period of time.
Stock photo websites allow you to sort through thousands of images that are ready to use in your marketing materials. There’s no need to hire a photographer to perform on location shooting, which saves you the hassle, the time and the money.
Where To Get Good Quality Stock Photos
This may become an issue, if you don’t know where to look. Typing in “free stock photos” in any browser will yield tons of results. Some are better than others, and you often get what you pay for. But be careful because sometimes the cost can add up and easily get out of control!
If you are serious about blogging, then you should rely on reliable stock photo databases such as depositphotos.com.
They have tons of photos with multiple resolutions. You can pay for what you need. Do you want something that you can print out huge which requires high quality resolution, or simply something with less resolution for the web site?
Understand the difference between “free” and “royalty-free”, as these are totally different things. A free image is free to download and use as many times as you want to, whereas a royalty-free image is an image that you purchase and then use where and when you want without any additional costs (unlike copyrighted images where you pay royalties every time you publish an image.)
Paid Stock Photo Sites Are The Way To Go
We all know that free photos are great because they are, well, free. But let’s face it, most of the time they really aren’t that great at all. Free photos are usually just amateur shots of lesser quality, which require links or are far too small to use them for any practical purpose.
Free photos are often taken by amateurs who uploaded them for use by others. We are not saying that all paid photos are awesome, but you’re much more likely to find paid photos with much better quality on paid sites.
There are several good sites out there but we really like and use depositphotos.com.
They currently have more than 20 millions of photos (adding more all the time), vectors, and video files. Their site is easy to use so that you can find just what you’re looking for.
There’s even a good selection of free images – yay! – we all love free stuff… They even have special lightboxes for the various holidays so you can easily find last-minute images for your holiday promotions.
If you have a photo heavy blog or you attract a lot of other bloggers, they have one of the best affiliate program in their industry so make sure you sign up for that.
Remember that photos can make or break your layout (and message). When you search for photos for the blog, go with what you like. You’re telling a story and adding an image to your post can help readers visualize better. Brainstorm a list of words that best describe your post and use them as keywords in the photo search.
Finally, if you’re looking for photos to spice up a personal project (e.g. a poster) you might be able to get away with using free or very cheap photos. However, if you’re a serious blogger building an online business, then we highly suggest you spend a few bucks and go with the professional photos.