Adding powerful visual images to your blog or website can have a powerful impact on your overall communication and connect with your audience on a deeper level. Graphics and photos can make your website more memorable and the reading experience more exciting. Images can also be informative teaching tools through the use of visual charts, diagrams or charts. As with all communication, it’s important to be clear about what you’re trying to say. Graphics should be supportive and help keep readers’ attention.
What are visual images? Visual images may include photographs, illustrations, clip art, line drawings, diagrams, video clips, or any other form of artwork. When looking for descriptive images, think of analogies, metaphors, or specific language you used in your message. Start by noting which areas of your article you would like to emphasize with an image. Brainstorm to create a list of associated ideas, and then look for relative graphs.
For example, if your article is about a big boom in business, you might consider using an image of an explosion. Or, if you’re talking about sleep deprivation, instead of showing someone in bed, how about a picture of a tired marathon runner? There are powerful ways to get your point across by being creative with visual imagery.
Where can I find visual images? You can find endless images on the internet, but knowing how to refine your search will help you collect dynamic images that speak to your reader, as well as reduce your search time. There are many websites that can do this for you by adding an extensive list of search options. Corbis is an excellent resource for searching images. They have detailed search options, provide all kinds of graphics (from photos to artwork), and have royalty-free and copyrighted images.
When using images from the Internet, it is important to be aware of your copyright responsibilities. If you are using someone else’s photo or art, you must have their permission granted to use it. Royalty-free, on the other hand, means that the buyer is free to use it in perpetuity without paying any additional royalty charges. There are royalty-free graphic resources available like iClipArt that allow you to download images for just pennies with no further obligation.
Where should I post visual images? Once you’ve collected supporting images, you’ll need to upload the graphics and place them within your text. Be sure to check the size of the images first. Graphics that are too large will not only take over what you’re trying to say, but larger images also use more memory and take longer to load. Using an image hosting website like Photo Bucket can be incredibly helpful. Not only do they host your images for free, but they also have tools that allow you to resize your graphics, add text, and many other enhancements.
Insert your images where they will be most effective within your article. If you find that images need to be placed at a distance from the relative text, consider tagging each image so the reader remembers what it belongs to within the article.
Once you’ve enhanced your article with images, stop to put yourself in the reader’s shoes and see it through their eyes. Make sure you are clear about what you are trying to say and choose graphics that support it.