Slogging the Blog: Cool Pics

I confess I am a visually-oriented person.   I started out as an art major in college, and I guess intriguing images have always captured my attention.  That may be part of the reason I enjoy blogging so much; not only are pictures a good way to capture a reader’s attention,  but oftentimes, I am able to come up with a blog topic, simply based on an image I’ve found.   

 A word of caution from someone who learned the hard way: you can spend a small fortune purchasing images without knowing what you’re doing.  When I was first looking for a background for my blog (ultimately I found a Blogger template that I really liked), I bought several that I thought would be ideal.  They weren’t all that expensive individually, but since I couldn’t decide, I bought several, and ended up spending more than $100 on images that ultimately were not appropriate.  If you decide to purchase images for your blog, remember these tips:
·        Always purchase/use low resolution images (low res).  Any resolution higher than 300dpi will slow down the page load for your blog.  And for viewing onscreen, the resolution of your monitor, combined with the lower resolution of the image makes 300dpi look really good on your blog.  Higher resolution images cost a lot more.  If you are only planning to use the image for your blog, 300dpi is just right. 
·        There are a LOT of websites that sell images.  There are also a LOT of sites that offer free images.  Look around.  Chances are that if there is an image of something in particular that you’re looking to use for one of your posts (e.g. werewolves or dragons or monsters; after all, we’re talking about speculative fiction here, aren’t we?), chances are you’ll find plenty that are free floating around.
·        There are also several publication companies (Dover is one) who sell image collections on CDs.  Many of the images I use are from old master paintings.  You can purchase hundreds of images; many for less than you would expect to pay if you bought single images. 
·        Something to consider when using images is the usage license.  Many images are free or are a greatly reduced cost, as long as you are not profiting by their use.  One of the reasons I do not solicit donations or have advertising on my blog is to avoid this pesky little issue. 
·        Take your (digital) camera with you!  It’s the absolute best way to get free digital images.  When you’re scouting buildings or settings for your story, I find that often as not, I can find what I’m looking for as I look around my community (okay, maybe not in MY community, but I’ll bet there are spooky trees and graveyards and haunted houses in YOUR town).  I’ve been pretty lucky; I’ve gotten pictures of turkeys, parades, and all kinds of really weird stuff.  All of it free.  Yay!
You might also invest in (and this is not a plug from me, but I DO recommend it) Adobe Photoshop Elements.  It’s great for photo manipulation and cropping and saving a higher resolution image to a lower resolution for my blog.  Even so, it’s quite expensive, but since I am a WRITER, and the photo software is used for my blog, I can deduct it at tax time. 
Using images that appeal to you, set a mood, spark an idea, or make you happy is a great way to keep your blog interesting and fun. 
This entry was posted in blog, blogging, digital photos, images, low resolution, Pandora Swift, pictures, speculative fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

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