The other day, someone said to me ‘oh, you’re really brave to admit you use stock photos on your blog’ and I just thought huh?? Brave? Really? To me, brave means running into a burning building or jumping out of a plane, or admitting to family and friends that you have depression (not easy to do, so yes I think that’s brave). Brave doesn’t mean talking about what pictures I stick on my blog. But objectively, I suppose that’s true in a way.
When I restarted this blog, one of my aims was to be honest with everything I write, so here’s the honesty for this post: I use stock images on my posts, and I don’t feel bad or worry about it. Here’s why: as the blogging community continues to be on the up, the pressure on bloggers mounts to do it all. To write exciting, innovative content while sharing stunning photos and flatlays, and don’t forget the social media presence and the Twitter conversations.
If you don’t blog full time, and have a job/family/whatever else filling up your time then the idea of having to be writer, photographer, social media assistant and PR guru is kind of intimidating. You wouldn’t be expected to do all of that in your day job, so why the expectation to do it all as a hobby? There are bloggers out there who do do it all, and I admire them so much. But unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.
I’m a writer, first and foremost. I like to think I’m reasonably good at pulling together a blog post, writing a compelling first chapter of a novella, and I write a damn good letter when the need arises. But to accompany my posts, I do want a nice image to draw the eye – and that’s where my lack of photography skills let me down. So my visual eye is drawn to people who do it a lot better than me, and some images I’ll pay for and others for free from licensed websites. I don’t condone pinching other people’s photos without permission, that’s not cool. Only use images that are free for use across the web, or you could end up staring down the business end of a lawsuit, depending on how upset the person gets. Not recommended, plus it’s unfair to the people who put the effort in and want their photos to be just their own.
I tend to pull images which speak to me and my posts, but sometimes my featured image will just be something that is visually appealing to me or could genuinely have been taken from my own life. Like the above: that’s kind of how I had breakfast this morning, similar sheets and everything, just without the camera to document it.
I have five favourite sites for stock images, which I will always credit back to:
HauteStock.co (paid membership)
There are loads more out there, but these are my normal go-to ones for a high-quality image to accompany my posts. Who knows? One day maybe I’ll be the pro photographer as well as a writer. But I do know that day is not coming in the immediate future. I’ll stick to what I know I can do well: writing the posts.
Do stock images do it for you? Do you use them, and how do you feel about them? Which sites do you prefer, if you do?