You would think, an author's job being to write words, that we wouldn't have much use for images. But the reverse is true. You'll need an image for the cover of your novel at the very least, possibly more than one. (The cover of Reckless Rescue uses three different images in fact.)
How about your blog? Your facebook page? Twitter? Think that is mostly writing too? Think again. Research has shown that Facebook posts with an image recieved 104% more comments than those without. Blogs are no different. Then there's Pinterest. Did you know that no one can pin your blog post (and send it out to their possibly hundreds of subscribers), if you don't have an image in it.
Far from the days when images were frowned upon because they took up so much bandwidth and made the page too slow to load, users are starting to expect an image in a page, to the point that one without images can seem dull, and even hard to read.
Now you may be thinking ‘But I'm a writer, not a photographer? Where do I get images?' As if things weren't hard enough. Many people get around this by using Google image search, finding an image they like, and using it in their page.
But every single one of those images are owned by someone. What would you think if someone found your ebook or blog post, and included it in an anthology/article they were writing without your permission? Well, photographers feel the same way about their images. How do I know? Whether they're home enthusiasts taking photos of their dogs and kids, or a professional photographer who relies on their photographs as an income, their images belong to them, and should not be used without permission.
So how do I know if an image can be used or not?
It's safest to assume it can't. Unless it's specifically posted on a photo sharing site that allows use of images, then I wouldn't risk it. Even with many of those sites, commercial use (if your blog has advertising, or is used to sell books, or in any way makes you money), is sometimes different to personal use (using it on a blog that doesn't make money, saving it as a desktop background for your computer etc). Check the fine print.
It is worth looking at commercial sites for your images. Small, web use images, can sometimes be as cheap as $1 each, and I think it's worth it for the peace of mind.
The three images used in the cover of Reckless Rescue, and most of the images used on my blog, all came from istockphoto.com, one of the largest stock photography sites around. I'll admit here and now, that I use Istock because I sell my own work there. I like them for the sheer huge number of images, and because I know, personally, that all the images go through a rigorious inspection process.
Where do you get images for your blog? Do you take your own pictures? Do you like seeing images in blogs?
All this month I'm participating in the A-Z blogging challenge, writing a blog post for each letter of the alphabet, on every day of the month except Sundays. Check back regularly to see what else I have in store for you.