As writers, we love what we do. (Right?) We are able to put information, ideas, and opinions in print to help our readers. As a bonus, we get paid for it. It doesn’t matter what our style is; formal, editorial, or whimsical, our words can send a powerful message to readers. And if we want to capture and hold our audience’s attention, we know that a compelling message with strong headlines and a decent flow of ideas are a must.
For the longest time I was convinced that my words alone could paint the perfect portrait. Then I realized that perhaps my words alone were not enough. Simply constructing the proper syllables didn’t always capture the targeted audience.
However, the right photo will typically catch the eye of most people. Even the best writers have benefited from using photos in magazines. Why not blogs?
How to Find the Right Photo
There are two options when you are considering the addition of photos to your articles. Make your own or find royalty-free photos. Unless you are also skilled in photography and digital photo retouching, you may want to consider royalty-free images. These are images available for anyone’s use, without having to pay royalties to the creator of the photo.
There are several websites available where you can purchase stock photos or royalty-free images. You will find plenty of photos to choose from, on just about any topic you can imagine. I have used iStockPhoto.com in the past, and have been fortunate enough to find great photos there. I’ve also been using PhotoDune.net, which also has a wide selection that writers will appreciate.
Just keep in mind that all of these photos are available for everyone else to use as well. If you choose a popular photo, chances are it will be recognized by your readers. I find myself searching for photos that aren’t used as much, as long as it’s relevant to my message.
Reasons to Add Photos to Your Articles
1. Grab their Attention.
Photos are known to grab the attention of a reader. I know for myself, when flipping through a magazine, the photos are the first thing I notice. The reason varies whether it’s the contrast of the color against the black and white or the subject of the photo that draws me in. Regardless, it works.
2. Get the Message Out.
A good photo that is relevant to the topic will help you get your message out quicker. For example, if you are writing about education, a photo of school desk or a chalkboard will let people know the topic before they even start reading. You could take it a step further by having a photo of a school paper with an “F” scrolled over it to let people know that you are writing about, say, problems within the educational system.
If you get in the habit of using photos, then why not browse through them to find inspiration for your next piece? Pictures may help when you’re experiencing ‘writer’s block’; I myself have often found inspiration in photos. So if you find a picture that grabs your attention, draw from that to develop a story.
Breaking up the monotonous black and white of a page, with a colorful photo or two, allows for easier reading. The photos act as a diffuser for the readers who prefer a shorter article. It obviously doesn’t shorten the article, but it’s the perception that matters.
5. Guest Blogging.
If you ever submit your work as a guest blogger, then you run the risk of a photo being chosen for you. So, if you are allowed to submit a photo with your article, you should. This will give you the control over what photo is used, as well as its intended message. (Again, you can either use the stock photos or try working with your own photos. If you try your own, I recommend looking for a good book, website, or a free retouching video tutorial to help you in perfecting your photo.)
I am a firm believer in using photos when possible, not to tell the story for you, but to enhance or supplement your hard work. If you take the time to research, plan an article, and then put it all in writing, then you need it to get noticed by as many readers as possible.
I hope I have inspired you to give it a try. Good luck!
About the author: James Martell is a successful Internet entrepreneur and affiliate marketer who has used his skills to help others become proficient in their careers as well. He has written and executed successful ebooks, affiliate marketing 101 courses, and podcasts for over a decade. Previous speaking engagements have included Digital River Lab, Commission Junction University, Affiliate Summit, and many more. James and his wife have raised children aged 16-24, and live in on Canada’s west coast, in a Vancouver seaside suburb.