40 Stock Photos You Can Take Yourself
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.
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.
2. Wall. It can be a brick, stone or any kind of wall. When blogging about “obstacles” this can be a great visual.
3. Path. I have dozens of path pictures. I have paths in the woods, paved paths, paths that divide, paths that go downhill and paths that go uphill.
4. Window. Another staple for bloggers, no matter what the focus of your posts.
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.
8. Mirrors. It’s hard to find stock images of mirrors. I’ve solved that by taking my own. I just stand off to one side and click away.
9. Horizon. I love taking horizon pictures. These are really good for illustrating posts about the future.
10. Cross. If I see a cool cross, I usually try to snap a picture of it. And I try to find unusual angles, instead of just straight on.
11. Animals. I look for the opportunity to snap pictures of my dog and cat illustrating emotions.
12. Light Bulb. Anytime you write about finding an idea or having an idea, a light bulb is a great illustration. It can also be used anytime you refer to illumination.
13. Clouds with Sun Rays. These are great to illustrate faith or breaking through a tough challenge.
14. Fire/Candle/Fireplace. All excellent for illustrating subjects like ignite, warmth, etc.
15. Ripples in Water. These images are great when we write about the effect of something.
16. The Bible. Again, great for messages of faith. I take pictures of the book close, specific passages, and pages that have notes on them.
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.
18. Computer Keyboard/Keys. Again, good for illustrating posts about writing. You can also take images that focus on a certain key, like Delete, Shift, a Question Mark, etc.
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.
22. Doors. Open doors, partially open doors, closed doors, even locked doors.
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.”
24. Chain/Lock/Key. I use chain links when I’m talking about links (as in computer links). And locks and keys are always great images.
25. Fog. Evokes emotion and can illustrate uncertainty.
26. Tools. I have quite a few—from a simple hammer and nails—to tools on a workbench.
27. Winding Road. Another great image to illustrate a journey.
28. Foundation. This is another image that’s really useful and hard to find. So if you’re near a construction site and can snap a quick pic, do it.
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.
30. Clock. For articles about time or time management.
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.
32. Stairs/Staircase. A great way to illustrate change.
33. Bridge. Like several others I’ve mentioned, a picture of a bridge is a great way to illustrate a variety of posts.
34. Reflection. This isn’t necessarily in a mirror; it can be a reflection in a window, in water, anywhere.
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.
5 more from Blogging Bistro
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.
37. Flag. To illustrate holiday-themed posts or patriotic topics.
38. Coffee (or some other beverage). Particularly if your business name is Blogging Bistro!
39. Vehicles or heavy equipment. Can symbolize travel, movement, or evoke a specific emotion.
40. Fruits & Veggies (or food in general). To illustrate hunger, fulfillment; to add color to a post; to show size perspective.
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.
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.
She’s also the social media director for Southern Writers Magazine and the Senior Editor at Novel Rocket. You can connect with Edie through Twitter and Facebook.
This article was originally published on Edie’s blog, “The Write Conversation.” Reprinted with permission.
Thanks for all the great tips!
A simple but phenomenal solution I have been s-l-o-w-l-y realizing for myself. Thank you!
Maxine, it is a good option, especially with all the tools we have right at hand now.
Thanks for dropping by!
This was GREAT! I have several photos mixed in with my phone’s camera roll. I’m excited to start creating and organizing them. Loved this, Edie!
I’ve encouraged my clients to do this – great suggestions. I smiled at many, as I too have photos of walls, detour signs, and many others you mentioned. Thank you Edie for being such a great resource for writers AND Agents 🙂 And thank you Laura, your blog is a staple of mine!
Bethany, I had fun going through my camera roll and the photos saved on my hard drive.
Thanks for stopping by, Maxine. Sometimes, things are so simple that we overlook them. I know I did.
Appreciate you being such a loyal reader and re-tweeter, DiAnn.
Diana, When we’re busy snapping random photos of walls, doors, and signs, we now know we have a way to use them! I am a big fan of strange and unusual signs. When you said my blog is a “staple” of yours, that reminded me of stock photo #41: Office supplies! Thanks for following; appreciate you.
I’m looking forward to doing that!
GREAT post with GREAT (not to mention fun!) ideas. Love it. Thx for sharing.
Fantastic Idea and prompts for pics! I will use this often because I already have many of the suggestions on my phone or photo collection.
[…] Edie’s post, 40 Stock Photos You Can Take Yourself, I used 20 of my own images to enhance her tips. I resized and watermarked each image and created a […]
I’m adding this to my list of “Things to Do When Justin Watches a Show I Hate” haha!!
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