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Tape Recorder - an image to demonstrate sharing from FlickrThe huge photo sharing site, Flickr, remains a great source of images for illustrating your blog articles, despite a facelift and a few changes on the Yahoo property.

The main change has been to the presentation of images, so today’s post is an updated version of last year’s tutorial, which is now dated.

Firstly, though, remember that in this era of smart phones, you are carrying an excellent camera able to snap interesting pictures for illustrating your blogs.

I have certainly trended towards using my own images this year and rarely use Flickr these days.

Photo opportunities are everywhere

Using your images just requires some planning or some creative thinking, and I find it delivers a greater sense of satisfaction compared to using other people’s photos.

In recent months I have used my own images in situations that once would have had me scrambling to Flickr, namely:

  • From Hero to Xero: Marketing lessons for all as the new accounting challenger finds a chink in MYOB’s armour (used a photo of cash in my wallet)
  • Instagram takes away your last excuse for not shooting video for your marketing (used a screenshot of Instagram in action – on an iPhone, click the home button and the on/off switch at the same time to take screen shots, then export the image from your Camera Roll)
  • Thinking about sex? Great, now pay attention to my ad (used a picture of me in the shower – a head and shoulders shot)
  • How a WordPress pingback helped me catch a plagiarist (used a picture of two words printed on labelling tape and shot on my desk)
  • The WordPress Detective Agency: The missing admin mystery (dressed up in a detective outfit – had some time on my hands that day)

So, whether it is product or team shots, or something abstract to illustrate a point, I’d encourage you to think about shooting your own images before diving into the Flickr pond.

Finding and using photos from Flickr

Here are the revised and updated steps for finding and including Flickr images in your blog.

  • Go to flickr.com
  • In the search box, click the tiny magnifying glass icon
  • On the next page, just below the search box, click Advanced Search (that link should take you directly to the Advanced Search page)
  • Type your image topic or theme in the search box
  • Scroll to bottom of page and click all three Creative Commons boxes.
  • Click Search
  • Scroll through the new-look gallery until you find an image you would like to use, then click on it
  • Flickr ButtonsThe image will open on its own page with a black border. In the bottom right of the black border, near the number 1 in the image, right, is a Share button. Click it.
  • It will open a box with more options, including one called, Grab The Link. Click that and then save the web address/URL for the picture. I save it in Notepad so I can copy and paste it again later. In this sample, the link was http://www.flickr.com/photos/pheezy/5213516689/. Also note the photographer’s name or Flickr name, which appears under the black border. In this case it was Evan P. Cordes.
  • Next, click the three dots near the number 2 in the image, right, to open a new box of links and click on View All Sizes.
  • Download the size you need
  • In photo software (I use Adobe Photoshop ELEMENTS), crop to desired size (300 x 300 pixels is useful size) and Save For Web as jpeg or png
  • Back on your WordPress website, click in top left of the body of your blog post and then click the Add Media button above your Page or Post editing menu.
  • Choose to Upload Files and navigate to find the image file on your computer
  • In the right hand column of this WordPress picture window, edit the title if you wish, add some meaningful keywords that describe the image inside the ALT box, choose to align your photo to the Right of the text if you wish
  • In the Link To dropdown, select Custom URL and paste in the link you copied previously from Flickr. This ensures the image links back to Flickr.com.
  • Choose the size you want to use and click Insert Into Post
  • Somewhere in your blog post, either near the image or at the end, add a reference to Flickr, the photographer, and, as Vincent reminds us out in the comments, a link to the Creative Commons license that lets us use the image. In most cases, if you follow my suggestions above, this will be a link to the Attribution page at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, as I have added below.

Now you will be able to illustrate your Pages and Posts to make them more compelling for readers, when you don’t have images of your own to use.

[The image I used was of a tape recorder, in honour of Rupert Murdoch, who appears to have not noticed one secretly recording his briefing with journalists in the United Kingdom recently. Photo by Evan P. Cordes via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons]

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