One of the hardest things about blogging is the feeling that you’re just saying things that have already been said better by someone else. That idea often leads me to second-guess myself. I have a note on my bulletin board that I wrote during one of Cecil Murphey’s talks at the Florida Christian Writers Conference last spring. Cec told us it doesn’t matter if someone else has already said what you have to say. They won’t have said it the way you will.
That’s all well and good, but I still had to stop and consider whether to proceed when I came across not one, but two articles this week that both addressed the topic I intended to write about.
First, the Writer’s Knowledge Base linked to “Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog – My Story.” (I’m sending you to the largely photo-free Readability version of the article, because the author’s original page could — how can I put this delicately — lead to Matt. 5:29 moments. But I feel we can still learn from her experience, so I linked to an expurgated version.)
Then Author Media came up with an awesome list of “11 Places to Get a Free and Legal Photo for Your Blog.” Included on that list is my favorite, Stock.xchng, along with a bunch of others I need to try out.
The problem with free photos is that they are not always the best quality, or exactly what you’re looking for. I often come up against this problem because I used to be a graphic designer, so I’m pretty picky about these things. When pickiness gets the better of me, I turn to a couple of fee-charging sources: iStockphoto and Fotolia.
A client once questioned me about the expense of iStockphoto, because it seemed like he was spending a lot of money there. Both of these sites require you to buy blocks of points, and then each picture costs a varying number of points depending on what the artist wants to charge and what size you need to reproduce it. Usually, for a graphic like the one I bought for another post, I wind up paying about $1.50.
Does that add up over the course of a year? Yeah, especially since I also have my own blog and contribute to another. But to me, a buck and a half is a small price to pay for professional-looking posts. Besides, I like helping another creative professional eke out a living.
Still, there are things we can do to keep costs down, and the Author Media list is a comprehensive resource. That’s why, I have to confess, I go to the free sites first.