By Edie Melson
I’m always on the lookout for images that I can use to illustrate a blog post. In many cases, I don’t need to use stock photos; I take the “stock” photos myself.
You don’t have to be professional photographer to take your own pictures. You can use a fancy camera, a point-and-shoot, or your cell phone. I use my Nikon point-and-shoot and my iPhone 6 to take a lot of the images for my blog.
To help you build your stock photo library, we created a free printable PDF of this entire article for you. Use it as a checklist when you’re out and about with your camera or mobile device.
Snap pictures of these 40 items:
1. Gate. I have pictures of open gates and closed gates. Good images if you’re talking about traveling.
5. Traffic Signs. Detour signs, Road Closed, Yield, Winding Road, etc.
6. Obstacle. I have pictures of a trail with a tree blocking the path. I also have pics of detour signs, roadblocks, etc.
7. Rain. I love pictures of rainy pavement, raindrops, even puddles. These can evoke emotions and illustrate lots of things, like saving for a rainy day.
9. Horizon. I love taking horizon pictures. These are really good for illustrating posts about the future.
13. Clouds with Sun Rays. These are great to illustrate faith or breaking through a tough challenge.
15. Ripples in Water. These images are great when we write about the effect of something.
17. Words in the Dictionary. Sometimes it’s hard to find just the right picture. Instead, look the word up in the dictionary and snap a picture. You can manipulate the picture in www.PicMonkey.com and have a great blog illustration.
19. Typewriter/Typewriter Keys. This is great for us when we write about writing. You can even put a piece of blank paper in the typewriter and use a site like PicMonkey to add words to the paper.
20. Luggage. This is great when we’re talking about taking more than we can handle, carrying baggage, etc.
21. Exit/Do Not Enter Signs. These illustrate posts that warn about something.
23. Funny Signs/Objects. I took this one while we were on vacation at Universal Studios. I also have one from another amusement park that is a suspended net full of bricks. It has a sign on it that says, “A ton of bricks.”
25. Fog. Evokes emotion and can illustrate uncertainty.
27. Winding Road. Another great image to illustrate a journey.
29. Pen/Paper/Journal. I use this image a lot more than I thought I would. It’s easy to set up and take yourself.
31. Spring/Summer/Winter/Fall. We reference the seasons a lot when we write, so having images available to illustrate that is a big help.
33. Bridge. Like several others I’ve mentioned, a picture of a bridge is a great way to illustrate a variety of posts.
35.Tunnel. This is great if you’re talking about the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s also a good way to illustrate going through tough times.
From Laura: As I was shooting my own stock images with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, I thought of five additional ones:
36. Rocks. Boulders make a great backdrop for a meme (see info on memes, below). Polished rocks, river rocks, and pebbles can illustrate themes such overcoming obstacles or time management.
Edie and Laura would love to hear your favorite idea for “stock” photos you can take yourself. You can upload your own stock photo in the Comments. Keep the pics rated G, please. This is a family-friendly blog.
Two important tips
Always include a watermark (contact info) on any image you took yourself. I use PicMonkey to add the following somewhere on the picture:
Image Copyright (c) www.EdieMelson.com
This does a couple of things. It reminds people that someone owns the image and it’s not just free to use without permission.
It also is free advertising because it directs people back to my site, if the image shows up on social media anywhere.
Compose the picture so there is room to add words to the image to make a meme. (A meme is an image with words on it.)
Keep your background simple. Below are two images, one with room for words, one without room.
These are just some of the basic images I try to keep in a file of pics for my blog posts. There is literally no end to the list. But this should get you started and help you begin to look at the world around you from a new perspective.
Don’t forget to download your free printable PDF of this article, and use it as your personal stock photo checklist.
Edie Melson—author, blogger, and speaker. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands of writers each month, and she’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.
Her bestselling ebook on social media has just been updated and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers.
This article was originally published on Edie’s blog, “The Write Conversation.” Reprinted with permission.