Images: Outsource or Design Your Own?

If you’re creating blog posts, Facebook ads, ebooks, sending out emails – basically putting out any sort of content – you’ll be needing images to go with your posts.

But you can’t just Google image what you’re looking for and pick your favorite image, as most of the results that come up will be protected by copyright. (Even if you cite the source of the image, you are not allowed to use copyrighted content.)

Now unless you’re a graphic designer and you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, you’ll be looking for either a quick fix, or pre-existing images. In this post I’ll talk to you about some of my favorite methods.

Free images

The internet is full of great quality images that already exist. People have gone out of their way to take an awesome photo or design a graph that will represent your message exactly. And they’re willing to share.

But beware! There are several different types of “free” images. Here are the differences:

  • Royalty-free means you do not have to pay royalties to the owner each time you use the image. But you may have to pay a one-time fee to obtain the rights to use it.
  • Public domain means the rights to the image are not owned by anyone in particular or have expired. These images are completely free for you to use.
  • Creative Commons licenses can vary, but essentially they allow you to use the image as long as you respect the conditions of that authorization (i.e. no editing). CC0 is the type of copyright that allows you to do whatever you like with the image, so that’s the one you’re looking for.

My personal fave: Unsplash is by far the best free photo website EVER. It’s got thousands of very high quality images you can download for free without an account. The images are uploaded by photographers all over the world. Photographers throw away more pictures than they keep, so these are like the “seconds” in their film roll. Instead of throwing them out they upload them and get some extra recognition for their work.

Pixabay and Pexels are two other good ones.

Designing your own

In this tech-filled world, designing your own images (and graphics) has never been easier. Canva is a must-have tool for this purpose. It’s FREE and comes with tons of templates you can just grab and apply to your own resource. I haven’t been using it for very long but I’m in love with it.

Canva gives you access to its millions of photographs, graphics and fonts and lets you drag and drop them onto your template. You can also add text if you want. Plus it has different formats depending on the purpose for your graphic.

There is also a very affordable paid version but if you’re approaching your project from a “done is better than perfect” perspective, you probably don’t need it.

Hiring someone to make them

Nowadays it’s easy to hire a freelancer for a one-off project whether you need just one image or a bunch of them.

I love Fiverr for its layout that makes it easy for you to see what each designer’s work looks like, so you can contact the ones that you relate to the most.

99 Designs is another great one: you get to start a ‘contest’ where designers submit their ideas and you pick your favorite!

Fiverr search results screenshot

That rounds up the overview on getting the images you need to represent your brand. But once you’ve chosen your image, how do you go about actually using it? What resolution should you use? Where should you upload it? How do you optimize so it doesn’t slow down your website?

I’ll be answering all these questions and more in an upcoming post about the more tech-y sided of using images for your resources.

Meanwhile, why not get busy building a collection of all your favorite images?

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