Is a Picture Really Worth a Thousand Words?

Selecting the right photo or creating a video for the right job can be challenging. No matter which way you look at it, images and videos can be hugely impactful and at the same time they can be challenging – especially if you are not naturally drawn to images. 

Here’s my guide to selecting the right image or video to do the right job.

1. Know your key message

What is the core message you are trying to convey with your social media post, website or blog post? It is this message which needs to be reflected in your image. If you are writing a blog for sharing on social media, then you may have several key points in your blog, but finding the central theme and using the appropriate image is critical.

Make sure your chosen image or images align with your keywords to help improve your Google ranking, reach your target audience and send a clear message that you know what you are doing.

2. Respect Copyright

Artists and photographers around the world make their living by creating beautiful images and videos. Using someone else’s work in a social media post or on your blog, without their permission is a breach of copyright law. It’s essentially stealing – so don’t do it. Not only is it illegal, it makes your business look mean and dodgy – and I’m guessing these are not things you want to be known for.

There are tools on Google Images that allow you to select the appropriate Usage Rights. Drop down the Usage Rights menu and select “Creative Commons License” – that is your safest option. This means you can use the image without fear of breaking the law. It’s still good practice to acknowledge the source if you can find it.

If you don’t want acknowledgement all over your images, then a simple footer in your Social Media post or as a caption under the image can work well. On your blog, you can add the appropriate source into your key words – this also helps the image provider be found by other searchers. It has the added advantage of bringing your site up in search results if someone is searching for the artist or photographer.

3. Use clear, simple images

We are becoming very lazy and expecting everything served up to us just as we need it. Images on social media  and blogs are no different. Over 65% of users now browse on their smart phones so images will be relatively small in size when they are viewed. Any text laid over that image needs to be clearly visible on a mobile device.

Using simple, clear images helps the reader get the message immediately. An overly complicated diagram with small print won’t attract a reader to your post – more than likely they will simply scroll on and put your post in the “too hard” basket.

4. Use images with appropriate resolution

Using large, high resolution images will slow down your website or blog and may be blocked by social media applications. Using low resolution images will ensure quicker load times, less server usage and an overall better end-user experience. Don’t put a potential customer off from doing business with you because your images are slow to load. The risk is they just won’t hang around and wait.

If you find an image that is high resolution there are lots of ways to reduce the resolution to be web appropriate with your camera software or other graphic design packages. If you don’t know how to do this, then Google will no doubt be able to find some answers for you. 

Adobe provides a free image resizer that is quick and simple to use. The tool allows you to select which app you want to resize for and includes options for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Linked In as well as giving you full control to select a custom size.

5. Subscribe to image libraries

There are lots of budding photographers in the world who are willing for you to use their images in return for some simple acknowledgement. There are also great subscription services, which for a small fee will allow you to use their photos. Some will limit you to a fixed number of downloads every month. These can be great sources of more original, and lesser utilised images.

There are also some free image libraries which are continuously growing more images.  Here are my favourite five libraries – between them all, I always manage to find a stock photo that doesn’t look to much like a stock photo – and they give me plenty of choice on a wide range of topics, industries and subject matters.

Best image libraries

unsplash.com – free photos without a subscription and an easy copy and paste function for acknowledging the photographer;  

dreamstime.com – you’ll need a subscription for this one – you receive one week free trial for up to 5 images and after that you can purchase a set number of images per period of time from 1 month to 12 months

istockphoto.com – you will need to pay for images but they have a range of subscriptions to suit your needs – you can buy credits which don’t expire – the more you buy the cheaper they get, or you can take out a monthly or annual subscription and the images work out cheaper this way.

pexels.com – provides free images and quick download. They have images on all sorts of topics with all sorts of colours and people. Definitely worth a look. Their images will come up in a Google Images search when you choose “Labeled for reuse” so they are easy to find.

pixabay.com – this site allows you to choose the resolution of the image you want to download – helpful if you don’t want to muck around with graphics software or don’t have the time. It gives you a nice simple copy and paste for photographer credit and you can pay as much or as little as you think the image is worth.

No matter which image or video you choose, it will reflect on your business, so choose wisely, respect the work of other artists and photographers and have fun searching through the millions of images available on line!

Warning: image searching can be addictive!

P.S.

Found a spelling or grammatical error in this post? Then contact me as soon as possible and let me know. In return for your super proof reading, I will offer you a free 30-minute review of your digital presence and some fresh ideas you can try out for free.

Get in Touch

If you’d like help with your website or your blogging, then make a time to chat by using the orange button below. I can help you to:

1. Clarify your target market.

2. Identify the suitable images that will resonate with your message and your target market

3. Create keyword rich content to update your site and entice your customers

4. Get your digital presence ranking up.

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