Don't You Be Stealing Images

You know how it is. You are writing a blog post and you need a fast image. Step away from Google Images where you will most likely end up stealing an image from someone else’s site. You really cannot use copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. It is not cool.

But not to worry, there are alternatives.

Usually, artists and photographers copyright their work and charge for the use of it. But more and more people are getting on the bandwagon of allowing others to republish their work with attribution under some conditions.  You can read Laurence Lessings book, Free Culture which is by the way, totally free by downloading it right here.  In the book,  Lessing discusses the need for society to allow its people the freedom to create, freedom to build, and ultimately, freedom to imagine.

But I digress. There are several sources to search for reusable media. Creative Commons License, GNU Free Documentation License and the public domain are sources of photos, images, movies and documents available for you to use absolutely free. Here is how.

  1. Creative Commons Search (  This url brings up a Creative Commons search engine which pulls reusable media from sites like Wikipedia or Flickr images that are under Creative Commons licenses ( but make sure to meet the requirements of those like attribution).
  2. Wikimedia ( This source brings up images, audio, video and other media that is totally free for you to to use or modify even for commercial purposes.
  3. Sound Cloud ( This search will bring up audio that has been placed under Creative Commons License.
  4. Google  You can also use Google’s advanced search options by adding licensed under Creative Commons to your search topic.

You may want to help this Creative Commons movement along by going to Flickr and changing your license to a Creative Commons license. Most people just put the normal “All Rights Reserved” copyright on their Flickr photos not knowing that there is an alternative.  That’s why if I find an image I like on Flickr I will contact the owner and ask permission to use it with attribution. People are usually really glad you asked and permission is usually given.

Sometimes you can’t find what you need through these free sources.  If I need an image or illustration for a client’s logo or header image I will often look through artists’ work online. If I find something, I contact them and ask to pay them for the use of their image for my client. I actually created my New Tricks logo from a painting of a dog I found online by Walter Sallas, whose site is called, Walter’s Dogs. When I asked Walter if I could use it he readily agreed and asked me to send him something to his Paypal account. I love my dog and was very generous.

And lastly, there are stock photo sources such as Dreamstime, Shutterstock and Veer  where you can buy images for a few dollars a piece since usually you need only the smallest size with a 72 dpi  to post online.

Adding Images To Your WebSite

Working with Images

One of the biggest problems non-graphic artists have when learning to maintain their websites is the whole issue of working with their images. Web 2.0 sites really rock with photos and images to demonstrate a topic or can be used in a long blog post to break up text into manageable sized chunks.

Image File Types and Purpose

It helps to know a bit about file types. If you don’t know your JPEGs from your GIFs image formats, this is for you. First, lets talk about file compression.

There are basically two ways of saving images, lossy or lossless (no, I didn’t make those up). If an image is saved in a lossy image format, it means the format being used discards some of the “unimportant” image information. However, the resulting image file is smaller. Lossless retains ALL the image information. OK, now that you know that, here’s an overview of the [Read more…]

How to Batch Resize Your Photos so they are the right size for Your Web Site

Many of you have lots of photos in your computer files and find that they are too large to quickly upload to your website. The first thing you can do to help with the problem is to adjust the settings of your camera. Most cameras these days can take pictures that are Ginormous. Unless you are a professional or want to use photos for large prints you can adjust your cameras to a smaller resolution. But if you want to keep your pixels huge then I have another fast  solution.

Download the free program Picture Resizer. It is an easy way to re-size your jpgs.

How to use it?

  • Download PhotoResize400.exe and place it on your desktop.
  • Open Windows Explorer to your photo files.
  • Select the photo or the entire file that you would like the photos re-sized and drag and drop JPG files or folders with JPG files on to the  the application icon on your desktop.
  • The tool will re-size JPG images and save them next to the originals. Names of the new pictures will be based on the original names, with a suffix indicating their size. For example, the re-sized version of MyPhoto.jpg will be called MyPhoto-400.jpg, where the number 400 indicates the size of the picture.

On the program home page there are choices you can make about the way you want the photos re-sized. These choices are changed in your program by renaming the program icon on your desktop. Just go to the desktop and right click and change the name to whichever choice you’d like to make. I used the one that makes the maximum width 400 px and keeps the proportions of the original photo.

Seven Tips For Adding Images to Your Blog Posts

dog-taking-photoImages are an important component to a good blog post. They give a reader a first hint of what the article is about and they can set the tone. Using a visual can break up the text in posts that may otherwise feel too long and they just add a bit of polish to a post and to the site.

It’s easier now than ever to find free images for your blog. One of my favorite sources for images is Flickr. Some of the images have a Creative Commons license that allows the sharing of photos, with some restrictions. Dreamstime is another favorite place to go to hunt images. The photos and images are available at very low price especially when you will only need the 72 dpi resolution option since it is for the web.

Here are seven tips on adding images to your blog posts:

  1. I like to see blogs use a consistent size and placement of the photos in the posts. When the images are all relatively the same size and in the same place, it looks really nice as you scroll down the page.
  2. Be careful not to take images from other sites or to use copyrighted images and read the licensing before using or purchasing any image.
  3. Never link to an image on another website with using an external URL. If you do, at some point, the image may not be there any longer and you will have a broken link on your site.
  4. Always check the size of the photo and never use a high resolution image. Use an image editor and resize your image to fit your content width. First change the resolution to 72 and then change its size.
  5. Put your cursor at the point in the post where you want the image to be and then use the “Add an Image” function in WP to add the image to the WordPress Media Library. That will let you set various image attributes and also have the image available for use in other posts.
  6. When you select an image, add a title since that is great for SEO. Select “None” for Link URL because in most cases you don’t need links on images.
  7. Align the image Left or Right which will allow the text to wrap, especially if it’s a portrait (vertical) rather than landscape (horizontal) image, and select Full size if you resized the photo to the right dimensions beforehand. Sometimes, when you choose the image alignment, your image may not float the image left or right, and just adds some CSS classes to your image, based on your option. Themes usually have the right styles defined and things should work out of the box. But in case it doesn’t and you choose alignment and the images are not aligned, you can open style.css in Design Theme Editor and add the following lines somewhere> This should take care of the problem.

img.alignleft { float: left; margin: 0 25px 15px 0; }
img.alignright { float: right; margin: 0 0 15px 25px; }