Photography used to be fun. Then you started blogging.
Skills that were enough for selfies are no longer up to scratch. Everyone else seems to know exactly what they’re doing and you have a sinking feeling that you’re doing things wrong without knowing it.
Blogging is a huge learning curve and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed.
There’s a vast amount of advice about the minutiae of blogging. It’s hard to know how it all fits together.
It’s the same with blog photography. Learning the right way to use photos begins with a clear framework.
That’s exactly what you’ll get here.
Your Blog Photography Framework
A framework like this is composed of two elements:
- The main topics you need to learn about
- The logical order to learn or apply them
Its primary purpose is to shorten the time you need your blog rookie training wheels. It also works to make sure your learning is as comprehensive as possible so you don’t miss gaining vital knowledge.
That last point is particularly important when setting up an online venture such as a blog because there are times a lack of knowledge can have serious consequences.
The landmarks in your blog photography journey are:
Let’s get started.
Your time is precious. Make every action you take in respect of your blog purposeful. If you have set long-term blog goals, each post will have a role in moving you towards them. Your images should likewise support your strategy.
Your blog real estate is too valuable to squander a single inch. Taking the time to consider your images from this perspective ensures you avoid doing so.
When you want an ideal image for your post you generally have two options available to you:
- You can take the photo yourself
- You can find an image someone else created
Imagine you’re a professional. Rather than clicking and hoping for the best, think about how you’d set up a photo shoot. Consider the equipment you’d need, lighting, composition and so on.
Camera equipment can often fetch a hefty price but if quality is what you're after, it's always a good investment to get the most out of your content. You can start by checking out Camera Rentals Pittsburgh and see which suits your photography needs best.
Research those topics and hone your skills. Practicing and reviewing the results to see what does and doesn’t work is the surest way to improve your photography.
Other People’s Photos
You have a few choices if you don’t want to use your own photos. You could hire a photographer for example, ask a more adept friend for help or use stock photos.
If you intend to hire a photographer do due diligence on their ability to meet your needs. There are plenty of articles about the questions to ask before engaging a photographer.
Even when asking a friend or relative for help, you need to be clear about how you intend to use the photos so they can consent to the usage.
There is a broad range of stock photos available and the quality of both the images and the sites varies significantly. It is possible to find beautiful images for free or for a small cost. Use a reputable site where the terms are clearly laid out.
Before you download any image, you MUST check to see what the terms of usage are.
Licences and Rights
There are dozens of different licences, each of which describes a different set of rules. Spend some time BEFORE you need a photo familiarizing yourself with them.
TIP: Just because an image is on the internet DOES NOT mean you can use it. Assume that every photo you see is ‘all rights reserved’.
Bloggers have been sued for displaying photos on their blog when they had not secured the right to do so. Being sorry, mistaken, assuming the designer they’d hired had done everything correctly or taking down the images immediately and issuing a sincere apology was not enough to avoid liability.
A blog is the blogger’s responsibility and that's where the buck will stop should anything go wrong.
TIP: It’s good practice to always find the original source of an image. That goes for images you’ve discovered on social media and photo sharing sites as well. Follow every image, every pin back to its origin, even if the origin is actually 4 or 5 blogs deep.
Other Things to Consider
The rules don’t stop there. You should also look at the content of the photo to see whether you need additional paperwork such as model or property releases.
Is there a clearly identified model or trademarked item or property? How are you intending to use the image? One reason you may need a release is if there’s a chance your audience could assume there exists an affiliation between that person or thing and (for the sake of argument) the e-book you’re selling.
It’s up to you to research and ask a lawyer (I am NOT one) for advice about what you need in a given situation.
Photo editing takes on a whole new dimension when you begin blogging. You need to assess a photo not just for its aesthetic qualities but for how effective it is.
There are 3 dimensions to editing a blog photo:
- To improve it visually
- To brand it
- To optimize it
Improving the way a photo looks extends to how well it conveys your message and how well if fits with the overall look of your blog.
Being consistent with your imagery helps to build your brand. It might be using the same color palette or fonts – decide what the visual elements are of your brand and stick with them.
Optimizing your photo takes into consideration:
- How SEO friendly it is
- What its impact is on your page speed; and
- How effective it is in promoting you and your blog
Take the time to research and understand what each of these means for you.
TIP: You may need different sizes of an image – what makes a strong impact on your blog may not stand out on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest for instance.
TIP: Use Alt-text!
The terms of an image licence will dictate if and how you provide credit. I give credit even where a licence is ‘no attribution’ because that approach fits with how I want to conduct myself on (and off) line.
Promote, promote, promote. When you’re done, promote some more.
Promotion doesn’t end with your first share of a post. There are a number of posts here that will show you how to promote your blog effectively including how you can leverage your images to do so.
You now have your blog photography learning framework. From here it’s just a matter of fleshing out each point.
Yes, it will take some research and time but that’s an inherent part of LEARNING.
It’s worth the investment. You're worth the investment.
You’ve got this.
Lisa Wipani is the creator of The Blogzilla. The Blogzilla is a site dedicated to helping mom and dad bloggers rock their corner of the internet.