A few years ago, when I first started this blog, I was told that adding pictures to my blog would catch interest and make it easier to read by giving the eyes some relief. Okay but how the heck do I do that? I found that WordPress was pretty good at telling me how to add pictures but my pictures were sure not worthy. I’m not a photographer. I’m one of those people who knows what I like but there was no way I could replicate any type of visual art. So the hunt was on!
As I’ve said in a previous blog, Google is my friend, and I set off on the hunt for sites that had pictures I could use. There are thousands of photographs, called stock photos, available to anyone, but there are some things to watch for. First, many sites will charge you for the use of a photo, so beware. Many free sites aren’t really free but do put out a few free photos each week. You can use these without charge, but the sites usually ask for your information. Of course it’s your decision whether or not to give it out but is really not necessary. Watch out for copyright infringement.
I’ve found two that are very user friendly. They don’t ask for personal information and there are many photos and graphics, sorted into categories, available to download. It’s fun sorting through for just the right shot and I confess I sometimes get distracted and spend a little too much time on the hunt. My two favourites are Pexel and Unsplash. Both sites have a “donate” button; it’s optional but they ask too that you give credit to the photographer who owns the picture. Often a credit comes up at the bottom of your photo when posted, but if not your blog site help tab can show you how to add a credit. Now I try to make sure that credit is given where it’s due and if you don’t see that caption on a picture on my blog, that means I took it myself!
Yes, I am going to take pictures myself! I have already done a few; actually on a previous blog, Writing on Writing, the two pictures used there were my idea and taken by my husband. Neither of us are artistically minded but we try hard to follow the rules of photography. So what are those rules that I’m trying hard to follow?
Take your camera everywhere. You can’t take pictures without it! Those pics you don’t like can be easily deleted.
Get closer to your subject. You might think it’s good but a few feet closer can make it even better.
Practice every day.
If you photograph people, ask their permission before using their photos.
Read your camera manual. It really has some good information.
Beware of backgrounds. Or things to one side, like garbage cans. They just don’t look quite right.
And there you have it. I believe that pictures do make a lovely addition to everyone’s blog.
I was told that photos will enhance my blog posts, attract the reader’s eye, encouraging them to read my posts and come back for more. I’d like to think my writing alone is so riveting that folks will eagerly await my next words but as they say “a picture is worth a thousand words” so I will add pictures to my blogs and hope I can find the appropriate ones.
I made a large list of all the sites to go to and download free photos. I’m really good at making lists, the rest of the task, not so much but I plug along and eventually find my way. I prefer the free sites as my blog isn’t commercial and I would rather not to pay for photos if I don’t have to. The absolute best thing to do of course, is take your own photos and use them, so I’ve started carrying my little camera with me wherever I go. Then I realized that my point and shoot might not be good enough to do justice to the things I am photographing, or could it be the user of the camera who doesn’t really know enough about her equipment? This question resulted in me spending an entire day reading the camera manual and discovering the wonderful things little point and shoot digitals can do. I now have a notebook to go with the camera, with instructions and definitions written out and where I can keep a list of the photos I take. Some of these have, and will continue, to find their way onto my blog, the rest I’ll keep for a while. Except for the really bad ones.
Digital photography is really quite wonderful. Combined with a computer and just a smattering of knowledge, we can enhance our favorite photos enough to make them usable. Keeping in mind that I’m really a beginner, I want to start taking better pictures. I don’t use a SLR (single lens reflex) though the hubby has one but I want to snap what I like and have it turn out. Although I’m not artistic, I want to slow down, take my time to think about composition and the rule of thirds and just take better pictures. As an example, I was amazed by the palm trees in Ireland so I took a picture of them posing my son in front of a palm to give the shot some perspective. I now have a great shot of my son with a palm tree growing out of his head. This type of mistake can be avoided with a little care and planning. With notebook and camera tucked away in my purse I’m ready for any spontaneous photo opportunity as long as I can look up the rules in my little book and figure out the settings on my camera. I don’t compose my own pictures yet but this too I will learn.
I plan to learn as much as I can about photography and I hope you’ll see a difference in my blog as I practice and expand picture taking beyond the “smile for the camera” photos I’ve done so far.