Susan Cooper

Use Images to Inspire Your Readers

We’ve all heard the phrase: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This phrase alone ought to convey why an image or two added to a blog post or article will inspire your readers to continue reading to the end of the post.

You don’t need to buy an expensive image. Just be sure it relates to the subject matter. An image also helps to break up the content in a pleasant way. Images not only convey meanings, but also break up long blocks of words, making it easier on the eyes.

How To Choose

Susan Cooper images

When selecting an image, it’s essential to know the central message you want to convey. Then you should decide what type of image would be best to draw people in to read your post or article.

Taking the time to select the right image can enhance your written piece. The wrong image, discordant to your message, can turn people off and push them away. Not a good result.

Let me give you a simple example. Let’s say you’re writing a warm and fuzzy story about a horse as the main topic. The key image featured in the article is someone playing with a dog. It will be confusing, once the reader begins to understand the story is about a horse, not a dog, and he is unlikely to continue reading.

I realize that most people wouldn’t make this kind of mistake. However, I do see many images that don’t relate well to their intended subject, when the image/images were what drew me in to begin with.

Finding the Right Images

Susan Cooper images

How do we go about finding, stockpiling and selecting images for our main topics? As I mentioned before, know your intended message first, then take a moment to visualize a mental image that you believe would convey that message.

Then carefully go through any photographs that you have on hand that might be a good fit. You can also find a number of online sites that offer free images, but the selection and quality are not always as good of the images you can buy.

Figure on spending $2-$5 for an image, which is a small investment to make for just the right one for your story.

But why not create your own if you can use a vector-drawing tool? Everyone has a camera these days making it easy to take a few photographs, creating a file of stock images for your intended article or for use at another time.

You would be amazed how often a picture that wasn’t a good fit for the current article you’re writing would be perfect for another subject. I have a huge stockpile of images, photographs, and illustrations I draw from for that purpose.

Taking the time to select the perfect image is hugely important. Don’t rush it and be aware of how the image reflects the subject of your article, and on you and your brand.

Susan Cooper imagesSusan Cooper is a former sales marketing executive turned blogger. If you ask her how she would describe herself, she’d laugh and say she is an artist, writer, teacher, and adventurer and laugh again. She would also tell you she is a person who looks at each day as a new adventure with the anticipation of what each tomorrow will bring. Her latest projects include publishing a few more ebooks/books of short stories, a cookbook and a number of interactive vector drawing tutorials. She can be reached at her blog Finding Our Way Now.

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Comments

  1. Wonderful insights Jeannette. And Susan Cooper, you are amazing with your images. I’ve seen you use photos for your wine posts, and certainly your vector drawings are a centerpiece for your storytelling. Artist for certain!

    Thanks so much for these tips, and the main ideas of either using your own photos or finding a vector drawing tool.

    • Thanks so much Patricia, It pleases me to no end that you found my tips of some use. Big smile on the other end of this keyboard. For me, I would be lost without my camera and some of the images it helps me create.

  2. This post is straight to the point Susan. I strongly believe in stockpiling and making a visual note before writing an new article. It ties things together. Useful tips!

    • Bola — you have used some beautiful images in your posts that enhanced the content. Enjoyed them.

    • Thanks so much. That’s very cool Bola. Having a stockpile of your own images sure makes it easier and it’s much more fun creating them too.

  3. Jeannette, It was such a pleasure to be a guest on you website/blog. There is so much one could say about images in an article, website or blog post, don’t you think? What I wrote only touched on the tip of the iceberg.

  4. I have always found that finding the right images to enhance the story I have written is the more time consuming of the two efforts. You are right, it is the image that can draw a reader in and keep them entertained.

    • Tim — you’re a prime example of someone who uses images very effectively. I love seeing all the places you visit.

    • It’s so true Tim. Sorting through a bunch of images to find just the right one is time consuming. But it’s worth it, if it accomplishes it’s purpose. Thanks for stopping by and lending us your thoughts.

  5. I think it is a great idea to keep a stockpile of images for future work. I think people sometimes rush to publish the article without giving as much thought to if the image fits the story.

    • Jacquie — I’ve written several hundred blogs so sometimes I’ll go to my archive to see if there is an image I’ve used years ago that would be just fine for a current post. But I do spend quite a bit of time deciding what images to use.

    • Hi Jacquie, I agree, the story could be awesome but without something to draw you in many would never know. Without the right image it sure makes it harder for the writer.

  6. I keep telling myself I will use more of the stockpile of pictures I have taken for more blog posts, but I always put it off, probably because re-sizing them and adding a watermark takes as long as finding a good picture in the public domain. I still see too many sites that don’t attribute images properly the source. If I had a dime for every attribution that read “Google Image” I would be rich.

  7. I’m still not too sure about the images I use. I do take photos which have improved a lot since I started (thanks to Susan) and I use free photos or images. I am not the least creative so the vector drawing tool would be wasted on me. I do appreciate that the image must convey the message, as you said Susan, otherwise it would be confusing. This is something I will start paying closer attention to. Always learning, isn’t it great?

    • You are doing well with your images Lenie. The fact we all get better in whatever we do as long as we work at it. I agree Lenie, the right image is so important in what it conveys. 🙂

  8. I know no one better to write about images than my good friend Susan Cooper. Between her photography and her vector created images she brings life to what otherwise might be a boring post. Her blogs are always well done. Everyone would do well to listen to her advice on the subject of images. I know I have. 🙂

  9. Images are definitely the most time consuming part of my blogging process, but there is no substitute for a great image that draws in your readers. I like creating my own, but that’s probably due to the content of my site being mostly visual. Thanks for the tips!

    • I can see that about the subjects you write about Meredith. It is indeed time-consuming at times. The best part about creating your own and creating a stockpile by default is you have available to draw from when you’re in a pinch. 🙂

  10. Excellent advice Susan. I’m a very visual person anyway so it’s not uncommon for me to spend as much time looking for just the right image for an article as I do writing it. For the most part I prefer professional stock for my articles, but I do use free or created images for social media and often reuse images for quotations, etc. Thanks for the tips and inspiration!

    • Hi Marguita, If you spend a time writing a good piece, it certainly warrants a great image to accompany it. So I agree with you to go with the best you can manage and reuse it whenever possible. 🙂

  11. What a great post. I have been creating images for my novel for some time now. I am posting them to my site, and now going to make a traiiler for my book. Thanks for posting this.

  12. I am a highly visual person, so I can really relate to this post.

    Images really do make the subject matter more interesting and digestible. And Susan, you know how I love your images! They are so real and so full of life and for the most part, happiness. Keep on doing what you’re doing!

    • I am too Doreen, and thank you. Big Hug. Giving or showing life in an image, I think, is why I spend so much time creating the images I do. In any case, it really makes me happy that you enjoy what I create. 🙂

  13. I am also taking a lot of pictures now, with my camera, where-ever I go.

    But I learnt about the Vector tool today from this post. Thank you Susan and Jeannette for an informative post.

  14. I agree images add a lot of personality to a post. I create my own images for each post I write. I use them to comment or reflect on each section of my blog post and they’ve given my site a unique look and feel. They’re also a great way to incorporate into other types of social media, especially Pinterest. Susan’s Food images are fantastic thy look so delectable.

    • Thank you for the very nice compliment Pamela. I do try to make them good enough for a reader to think about giving a recipe a try. It really is true how our own images reflect us, the subject of our post or article and that is a good thing. 🙂

  15. I love the images that Susan chooses. I also really enjoy selecting images for my own posts. It’s great when I find one that resonates with my readers.

  16. Absolutely, Susan. A picture really speaks a thousand words. Just look at the difference it makes when you include an image in your tweet.

    Love your drawings and they work very well for a lot of posts. Whenever I can I take my own photographs, like in the post I just published today. But sometimes it simply isn’t possible because I need a picture of, say, Obama. But there are a lot of pictures of even such leaders online that you can use free of charge. You just have to give credit to the photographer.

    • Thanks Catarina, An image adds so much to an article. Sometimes it helps to clarify its purpose. I hear you about how an image is a bit hard to acquire. The results do speak for themselves when we do. 🙂

  17. Hi Jeannette and Susan,

    Love what Susan shared here with your audience and I agree, a picture speaks a thousand words. When you have a good or great image with your content that relates to what you’re sharing then that is what will grab people’s attention.

    I know with the way you have to be careful online today with using images that more people are starting to use their own. There is nothing wrong with that of course but so many of them have nothing at all to do with the topic which I think is just a big mistake.

    I wish we all had your talent though Susan, you’re such the artist.

    ~Adrienne

    • Aw, thank you Adrienne. A good image or images can make all the difference. Sadly I see the opposite. Even though the article is good, many will pass it up all because of a poor selection of an image or images. If my humble thoughts help in that endeaver, then I’m a happy girl. 🙂