I hate reading blog posts that use super cheesy, awfully generic, uninspiring, pain-inflecting, deliberately stock sourced images. I’m sure most of you have came across these travesties to blethics (blog ethics are the real deal). What some may think are just supporting aspects to a good post, I have to violently disagree.
When I first started blogging, I loved sourcing Google Images for the perfect image to best engage my posts. I spent (and spend) upwards to 45 minutes browsing through endless pages of images looking for the one item that speaks best to its purpose. Sure, it’s easy to focus on your written content, because I can’t stress to you more about how imperative to your reader’s sanity that is, but the sourcing the best images possible is what separates good from great. Why do you think these posts of mine take so damn long to publish?
Honestly, you could write your best work ever, but if at first glance your post looks in-line with the dating columns on AskMen circa 2002 or 1 in every 6 posts on Mashable, you lose out on so much visual potential. Take it from Cracked, Vice, or anyone with a sense of humour: they sure as hell know to grab your attention with eye-catching imagery.
I’m not one to give tips in point form, but in an effort to cut down on all the shitty, first page of Google Images, Getty Image sourced content out there, lets go through my expert-ish advice:
1. Search past page 3 of Google Images.
The first few pages are pretty terrible. They’re the most overused, useless images most of the time. At times I’ve found some epic gems around page 15 – images that most people still to this day, ask where it came from. Warning: you’ll have to wade through a lot of crap. This all depends on how good you are at scanning. And you gotta be damn good with your Google keyword searches. It pays off in the end. Besides, how do you think these awesome images make it to page 1-2? Use ’em proud and get noticed!
2. No more fucking thumbs ups.
I’m sick of these images. You’re not fooling anyone, buddy: nobody thinks that they’ll agree with whatever shit you’re representing if you give a thumbs up. I see this a lot and this cheesy garbage has to stop. Yo, photographer dudes: I compare you to gun makers.
3. 99% of stock imagery sucks.
I’ve done my time doing graphic design. I’ve searched stock imagery for uses other than corporate. And it sucks. Aside from the redundancy, there’s just too many awkwardly posing, weird-in-the-face people on it wearing unfashionable clothing. If you ask me, the best images come from.. well, the internet. And most of the time, you don’t have to pay for it. While I don’t condone stealing off well-to-do photographers on Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other sources, if you gotta, at least play it safe and link back.
4. Take your own photos.
Hey, when in doubt, take them yourself. Show a little creativity and generate your own content. I usually try to take photos and post ’em, but I suck at being the guy who takes people’s photos. So I use ’em off the internet. But nothing beats genuine products.
5. Don’t kill yourself over it.
Honestly, if you’re in over your head in photos and you just can’t find the right one, put it down, and try again later. Don’t drive yourself crazy: trust this bit of advice from the Virgo over here: Obsessing won’t help. Worst case scenario for the perfect blog post? Learn Photoshop and draw something on top of another image. Go outside and take a photo of whatever it is you’re trying to depict. Or use a photo of a guy with his thumbs decapitated. Yeah, use that.