Finding images for your blog

Finding images and avoiding copyright police

Finding images - Blog images from microsoft clipartI’ve had a few people asking me recently about finding images for your blog. If you look at the sites I’ve done you can probably see that one of my favourite tasks is finding a groovy image to bring a post to life.

Now you might have heard horror stories of people who have been chased up by companies that sell images because they have inadvertently placed a copyrighted image on their site.

So you need to find a reputable and trusted source of photographs or illustrations that you can use without fear of litigation and claims for thousands of pounds for using someone else’s precious work.

My first visit is usually to Microsoft Clipart. The key here is to decide if you want a photo or an illustration. I am not sure what the decision making process is for choosing which one. It depends on the context and mood of the post.

For instance for the Diagnostic Flow Chart on Leading & Developing High Performance I chose a graphic illustration as it felt right to depict the content this way. A somewhat scientific process of analysing behaviour seemed to warrant the graphic rather than a photo.

Sometimes it is very clear cut. In my post Falling into Blogging about The Red Horse Blogs it was obvious that a picture of Beth and Chelsea was a good move. Pretty easy to ask permission for a photo when you are showcasing someone. Also in the Work from Home Wisdom ‘Home Working Style’ and ‘My Home Office’ pages getting photos is not a problem (although some have to tidy their office up first!)

Finding images on Microsoft Clipart

The trick here is in the keyword you use. Don’t forget it’s an American site (although there is a UK version) so sometimes the words you use will need to be tailored. It can take some time to find and image that feels right, makes sense and looks perfect for your blog post.

You can search by categories and filter your search to just photos or illustrations. To give you an example, the photo of the beans with an eye in it for the post How scary is that? was found by using the keyword ‘scary’ and then filtering by clicking ‘Photo’ for the media type. The image just popped out for me!

The time invested in finding images is often worth it and you get more skilled at filtering and finding the right image the more you do it. Mind you, I have spent hours over the last 8 years finding images for my websites and blogs. Sometimes a good image is hard to find.

I’ll be sharing other ways of finding images in future posts so stay tuned by subscribing by email on the top right sidebar.

And if you know a good source of images please let me know.