Saturday, July 18, 2015

Basics Every Writer Needs to Know About Managing Images Online

You’re a writer! So, why is this client asking you to “source” images and input them into your blog posts? There’s a lot of SEO value in those images, and believe it or not, in content marketing, images are often a part of the writer’s job. 

If you can manage them, you are more valuable. Some clients will not hire an imminently qualified writer who is unable, or unwilling to “curate” a few appropriate images in their posts. 

You probably already have the necessary skills!

In most cases, the work you will be asked to do is fairly simple. Depending on the blogging software you may be able to do much of it in the blogging platform, but it’s better to prepare your images first. 

The three main tasks you need to know are:

  • Finding free, or fair use images, or paying royalties for images to avoid copyright infringement. 
  •  Copying and saving images to your computer for processing. 
  •  Resizing and or cropping your photos to the proper size and framing

If you do much at all with digital images on your phone, or digital camera, you already know most of this. I won’t attempt to teach it to you, since I am not a pro myself, although I did once win a blue ribbon for a photo at the Wyoming State Fair! 

There is a ton of software you can use to prepare your images.

A complete list would take up more than this blog post will allow, but suffice it to say there are hundreds of specialty programs to do just that. But here are a couple that you probably have, and one you can get for free. 

1.     Microsoft Paint, which comes with Windows, will resize, crop and do basic editing.
2.     Power point and similar programs, such as Open Office Presenter can resize and crop images. 

3.     Gimp is an open source photo editing software that has photoshop quality features and can do even commercial grade professional editing. You can get it for free, but be prepared to learn the software!

If you don’t have any of these, a simple Google search will give you a list of dozens of possibilities. 

Three ways to get the images you need!

This is probably the toughest part to learn and there is really not much to it. There are three main ways to get images for your blog posts. 

1.     1) Find them online: the best method for this is simply asking for permission from the site where you found that just right picture, if you can repost it. Always offer credit and a link to the original, unless that is against the policy of the blog you are writing for. The next best way is to do a creative commons search for images that are in the public domain. Just follow this link and try it out! Be sure to give credit, even with open source images. 

2.      2) Buy images: you can do this at any of hundreds of places. There are services that will allow you to buy a single image for anything from a few cents, up to hundreds of dollars. There are also sites that sell sets of related photos, or “stock images” which can be useful if you do a lot of writing on one topic. 

3.     3)Take or create them yourself: You can use any image you personally have taken without asking permission. It belongs to you. Another option is to use a program to create graphic images, such as infographics to illustrate your posts. There are many services available for this as well. 

So, there you have the basics. I will talk more about image usage and creative commons search in the future, but this should get you started! What about you? Share your favorite image source with us!