Whether you’re working on a presentation, blog or social media post, email message, your website or any other method of communicating with clients, friends, or followers, chances are you’ll be looking for some kind of an image to grab attention, support your message and add interest. And for a good reason. Visual information can be processed 60,000 times faster than text and is easier to remember. Research indicates that people tend to remember only 20% of what they read, and about 37% of the population are visual learners, meaning they tend to perceive visual information such as images better than text or audio.
Given a choice between a bunch of words and a nice photograph, choose the photograph when it makes sense to do so and supports your message. That said, too many people elect to find photographs by searching online, right-clicking, downloading and then using these found images without regard for potential legal and other issues related to their use. Some of the “free” stock photos sites are not any better and may still leave you open to potential litigation and other issues. Photo quality may also be poor, reflecting badly on you and your message.
There are plenty of good, legal, free or reasonably priced stock photo sites. Take a few minutes to visit Stock Photo Secrets for a great article on how to properly find and use stock images. It is well worth taking time to read the post to understand the proper use of stock images, and it contains some great links, ranked after analyzing image quality, licensing and legal considerations. Save the link, because I promise you will return to it again and again, and because the stock sites update their images constantly.