I’m a writer. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one too. Like me you might be in charge of a blog, which means you might also be in charge of finding images for your blog. But writer’s are enamored with words, not pictures. For us, some pretty prose backed by strong research is enough for a blog post to be fan-freaking-tastic. But we live in a shallow world my friends, one in which every blog post is judged by its cover, so to speak. No one is going to read our carefully crafted blog without a carefully crafted image to go with it.
The problem is most writers have no design skills. Take me as an example, my idea of a good color scheme is dodgy at best. Seriously, I painted two separate walls in the same room these colors and called it a match:
Luckily there are many photo editing and graphic design tools out there that help me to save some face. Ok, I’m not perfect, but I’m not terrible either thanks to these web-based apps.
If you’re like me you could probably use a helping (design) hand too, so without further ado:
Photo Editing and Graphic Design Tools
Canva gives you all the tools you need to design beautiful images for social media, ebooks, blog posts, and more. Not only are there loads of free layouts and images to choose from, the drag-and-drop interface makes designing images super-easy. This is hands down my favorite tool for creating images. While most of the site is free, there are also optional premium elements, such as premium images, for paying users.
PicMonkey is a photo editing and graphic design tool. It lets you crop, edit, and add fun graphics. But it also has special extras like photo enhancements, frames, graphics, text and create photo collages, with more options for paying users. It has an easy to use interface with a drag and drop system.
Buffer’s tool Pablo is designed especially for your social media marketing needs. You can create an image for any social media network by selecting one of their thousands of royalty free photos (or uploading your own), then adding your own text on top, or using a Pablo generated quote. You then select which social media network it’s intended for and Pablo cuts the image to size. Download and post! The images also make great blog headers. Best of all, it’s totally free!
We all know that infographics get lots and lots of shares, which is why it’s super important to learn how to master the skill of condensing all your carefully researched information, into one easy to digest format. But like I said, we don’t have design skills. Enter Piktochart! Piktochart is an easy to use infographic Maker. There are loads of free templates to use, and if you become a paying customer, you have access to over 400 infographic templates.
Want to impress your team or clients with an awesome White Paper? Bring your research and insights to life with Venngage’s sophisticated, stylish white paper templates.
Designhill.com If you just want someone to design something for you, you could get it made professionally from Designhill.com. Designhill is one of the fastest growing graphic design marketplaces for high-quality custom designed graphics, and the low price tag is a huge bonus.
Where to get Pictures
If you really want to make unique images, your best bet is to take your own photos, upload and then edit them. You could also be like me and not do that. Instead, hit up the royalty free stock photos websites for awesome pictures taken by photographers who are more talented than you or I, and who have better cameras. The unfortunate fact of the matter is most free stock photo websites are terrible. They usually have an offering of pictures that look something like this:
Except this example is obviously awesome because Vince Vaughn is in it, but you get the picture (pun intended). Luckily there are some royalty-free stock photos sites dedicated to not-being-terrible, that offer up beautiful photos for you to do with as you please. Here’s the list of my favorite sites:
Search their database for specific images, or just be inspired by the latest uploaded photos. You can also subscribe to their “10 new photos every 10 days” newsletter and received high-quality stock photos right in your inbox.
These guys really hate stock photos. Which is why they built a stock photo website that is decidedly anti-stock photo by offering beautiful, unique royalty-free images. There isn’t a searchable database, instead, you can download photo packs, and sign up to receive monthly photo packs. As an added bonus, you can also opt-in for writer prompts.
Excellent searchable database of beautiful free stock photos. No frills. New Old Stock
This browsable photo archive is awesome for finding vintage photos from the public archives. I just can’t get enough of all the golden oldies on this site.
Google Chrome Extensions to help you
Do you love screenshots? So do I. Which is why I take my screenshots with the Google Chrome Extention “Marker”. What makes Marker special is that you can immediately edit, crop and add things like annotations and arrows pointing to important things. When you’ve finished editing you can save the screenshot to your computer or send it to one of its many integrations like Trello. The free version allows you to take 5 screenshots a day.
Doesn’t this look boring? It’s not. Page Ruler will save you a lot of heartache in the long run. It measures pixel dimensions and positions and measures elements on any web page. You need it, trust me on this one.
This is your go-to if you need to find out the color values of any color on any web page. If all else fails, enlist the help of your more arty-eyed colleagues. Goodluck! You might enjoy reading our blog post “10 Awesome Google Chrome Extensions”