If you’re a blogger, you must be using free stock photos on your blog whether in the content or as featured images – even if you aren’t using any free stock photos now, you might have used in the past. In case, you’re an advocate of using paid stock photos, let me tell you that I have used paid stock photos of my clients for them. So the narrative I have in mind is pretty much the same for either type.
Hear me out.
My purpose isn’t to make you stop from using free or paid stock photos right away. Instead, I want to share my perspective on this. Let me clarify that I had been using free stock photos for a long time, then I saw those free stock photo on various blogs.
It was painful.
We strive to make unique, value-driven content for our readers.
Isn’t it funny that we completely ignore the fact that our featured images should also be unique?
Well, if you’re about to boast that you use paid stock photos, then let me remind you that there might be thousands of more paid users that are purchasing the same photos for their blogs, websites, or other stuff.
Here is what you need to do:
The solution is rather simple, but it would have more than one step involved – once you get the point, you won’t be worried about the process.
SOLUTION: Take Pictures!
Now you might freak out and say:
- How would I take pictures?
- Where would I go to take pictures?
- I don’t have a DSLR camera!
- I don’t know how to do photography!
- I haven’t taken pictures before!
- I’m not a professional photographer!
Let me explain what I mean by “take pictures” and how you can pull this off.
My point of view is that if you rely on stock photos no matter free or paid, you’ll get to see those same pictures being used by others’ – I don’t know about you, but I won’t like that.
I started taking pictures a while ago, but Ryan has been doing this for quite some time. If you haven’t seen his blog BloggingFromParadise, you must check out and subscribe. Not only do these photos make his content more human-friendly, but they also empower the narrative of the blog post.
A lot of you might be scared of taking pictures because you think stock photos look professional – I think you’re underestimating your ability. Please don’t!
It does require creativity, though.
You may not get a good photo every time you pull over and grab your smartphone to take a picture. In case, you’re ready to know what to do, then I think I can share something with you.
Here are a few simple things you should do:
1. Stop Panicking
It doesn’t help.
I know a lot of you might be worried that you don’t own a DSLR camera.
Screw the expensive, cheesy cameras.
Put out your phone and capture.
There are many more apps that you could find just to edit your photos.
It’s a fact that the DSLR can take much better photos than a smartphone. I do take photos from my DSLR camera from time to time, but that doesn’t happen every day.
I don’t always carry my DSLR camera for the photo shoot; I randomly capture pictures with my smartphone. Whenever I have my DSLR camera on me, it just makes the game a whole lot better. It means you don’t need a photographer or a camera gear for taking pictures for your blog.
2. Start Taking Photos
Going to the garden center? Take photos.
Buying monthly grocery? Take photos.
Shopping with your bestie? Take photos.
Having dinner with friends? Take photos.
Barbecuing at home? Take photos.
Taking your dog for a walk? Take photos.
You can take random photos everywhere – don’t overthink if you take 39 crappy pictures and just 3 are perfect to use for the blog because it’s still a good deal.
The point is that you don’t have to hire a photographer or buy a DSLR camera or go on a special tour to take photos. Instead, you just have to remember to take photos. The rest will be fine.
3. Use the Software
Once you’ve taken the photos, the job isn’t done yet.
If you have the luxury of using the Adobe Photoshop, then it’s the best option to edit out your photos and make the blog featured images. In case, you don’t have this software, you can simply use Canva to start making your blog featured images.
The reason for using the software is that you often need to add some text or a design element or a watermark to the photo before using on the blog. So you need some sort of design software to make that happen.
It’s not necessary, though — a lot of bloggers don’t use any text or design element on their featured images. They prefer plain and simple photos. That’s fine with me.
Let’s Take a Look at Few Examples:
I took this photograph at a plants’ nursery. I knew it that this photo has some expression of continuity and an ongoing work – so I thought right away that I’ll be using this picture as a reference of struggle, hustle, and hard work.
You could see the thumbnail that I designed using that picture. Every blog layout has a different requirement for featured images. Make sure you figure out the right one for yours.
Secondly, take a look at this photograph that I took during the summer season. You can see the greenery and rainy weather in the picture. The purpose of capturing the road this way was to showcase the long road to depict the long-term mindset.
As you can see the thumbnail designed using that picture has the blog post title related to the long term.
Thirdly, I met with some local YouTubers at a meetup and I captured my fellow YouTuber who was taking the picture of flowers for his Instagram.
Then I created this featured image from that picture.
The whole point of this blog post is to tell you that you don’t need to buy a $900 DSLR camera to start taking pictures for your blog. All you need is to make sure that you could take loads of pictures along the way no matter what.
Use your phone or point-and-shoot or DSLR. It doesn’t matter.
Arthur Ashe famously said, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
I shared what I have started doing for my blog. Not only do I save a lot of money, but I’m also standing out from the crowd.
What do you think about my strategy of taking photos for the blog to stand out?