©2009 by Donna Cunningham
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may have wondered where I get the pictures that are so uncannily relevant to the topics. Illustrating articles, books, and websites is one of my greatest pleasures as a writer and an editor. Today, I’ll be sharing some sites where you can get free or inexpensive images to add punch to your own website, blog, or promotional materials as well. With sophisticated readers, visuals sell your work–presentation is everything.
My newest and most exciting source of beautiful pictures is Wikimedia Commons, which has over 4 million high quality, vivid images from photographers and artists all around the world. They are absolutely free so long as you cite the source and artist, creating links for them. Copyright terms are clearly spelled out with each picture posted there.
For instance, this crocus is from Opioła Jerzy of Poland and was downloaded at http://commons.wikimedia.org. How I found this and 24 other crocus pictures was to enter into the Google search engine: “Wikimedia +crocus.” (Incidentally, if you’re getting great results with that digital camera of yours and would like some exposure on the web, anyone can upload pictures to Wikimedia.)
One general caution in using digital images is that they are HUGE, as much as several MGs, and need to be resized to 72 dpi for websites. Otherwise, they take up untoward amounts of space–your site may have as little as 10 Mgs of space total. Big images may appear outsized and distorted. They also take a long time to load, and website visitors are prone to clicking off a site if they have to wait. If you don’t have a graphics program, two sites where you can edit pictures online for free are http://www.online-image-editor.com and http://www.myimager.com.
One find at Wikimedia Commons is this collection of astrological aspect symbols available to use as graphics: http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ASearch&search=astrological+aspect&fulltext=Search
A note about copyrights is in order. DO respect them–artists struggle to earn a living, just as you and I do. Look for copyright information, create any requested link to their site, and ask permission before using anything not noted as free. Many artists are delighted to get exposure to a new audience. Also, in searching the internet, you’ll come across many sites that say “royalty free.” That doesn’t mean the pictures are free, just that you don’t have to pay top dollar to the photographer. Most of these sites have search engines, where you can browse for images on specific topics before signing up or buying anything.
One other note of caution. Pictures carry a strong emotional impact, and given the level of fear and despair in the world at large, be very careful about the images you select. Use uplifting, calming pictures, not ones that will upset the visitor and add to the mass hysteria. I’ve long viewed the web as a superb healing tool, and so I often select images that stimulate growth and comfort. I call it metaphorical healing. (See “The WorldWide Web as a Healing Tool” here: http://www.floweressencemagazine.com/may04/webhealing.html.)
Perhaps you’re looking for art other than photos–paintings, drawings, or illustrations. I’ve encountered some priceless pictures for $1-10 on http://www.istockphoto.com/index.php. You may find a free trial subscription there. The gems I’ve gotten there include the picture at the top of this blog, a cover for one of my ebooks, and some striking zodiac images
My favorite source of images is http://www.clipart.com, with over 10 million graphics and a killer onsite search engine. That’s where the uncannily relevant pictures you’ll see on this blog come from, including the funny clipart pieces and the photo at the right. I sometimes feel that, all unknowingly, the artists have created the image just for me–otherwise, what were they thinking?
The holdings include photos, clipart, paintings, web buttons, old illustrations, and 3-D objects. It includes thousands of zodiac images as well. A year’s subscription is $160, but you can subscribe for as little as a week for $15, with unlimited downloads. (If you ever decide to subscribe, get in touch with me, and I’ll give you tips on how to optimize their search engine to eliminate irrelevant images.)
Here’s a list of additional sources with good pictures, most free or $1-5:
Readers, welcome to the delicious adventure of illustrating what you write. If you have any favorite free or inexpensive graphics sources of your own, let us know about them in the comments section.
MORE TIPS FOR BLOGGERS ON THIS SITE:
- Can U Blog? What to Look for in the Birth Chart
- What Website Visitors Need to Know First
- Internet Find of the Week–Compare Blog Tags and Website Keywords for Visitor Appeal
- Tips for Bloggers 1—Retooling your Astrology Posts to Keep them Fresh
- Tips for Bloggers 2—Backlinks and other Tactics
- Tips for Bloggers 3–A Promising Anthology on Blogging
Here’s just one more jewel from Wikimedia Commons. I found it under astrology–a public domain image–and can’t resist sharing it.
FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: a 50-page excerpt from my out-of-print book, The Moon in your Life, also known as Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World. Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS! If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.” Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post.