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It takes awhile to find out how to pick the right stock photo for your website.

Some authors never get it right.They slap the first photo that catches their eye up on their website, not bothering to resize, crop, or edit it. Some of them go to a stock photo site, find one that they like, and then download the water-marked image.

Doing that is easy. But it also alienates your readers and identifies you as lazy, tech unsavvy and a pirate in training. Don’t be that author. (Find out what other mistakes authors make.)

Finding the right stock photo for your content is not has hard as it sounds.

There are a few things that you need to remember while you are searching for the right photo. These tips will never fail you and will keep you out of quite a bit of trouble.

1. Keep it legal

Doing a quick Google search will help you find images but they aren’t going to be legal. The lazy author is the one that often ends up in trouble. Using a watermarked image (without permission) is illegal. So quit ripping off stock photo sites. Your work is worth using legal images. Put the effort in to keep it legal. You owe it to yourself.

2. Make it match

Many authors make the mistake of finding an image that matches the title of the blog post. The photo needs to match the content. Bait and switch tactics are hated for a reason. Don’t insult your readers. If your blog post is about knitting, don’t put a picture of Justin Bieber next to the title.

3. Commit to a Photo

There are thousands of photos out there and you only need one of them to complete your page. Remember that because it can be overwhelming to scroll through pages of photos. Your picture is important but it shouldn’t take you hours to find the one that matches your content. If you run out of time or are looking for one for your homepage, ask us. We can help find the perfect one. The same goes for your author portrait.

4. Stay Relevant

Make sure that your photo is tasteful. You really don’t want to offend people. Don’t choose sexually charged photos or things that are generally considered taboo. Stay respectful of men, women, children, and people groups. You also want to make sure that your photo is timely. Unless you are aiming for irony, don’t choose photos that are dated. And please, no LOLCats.

Check out the nine premium stock photo sites we recommend.

5. Size it Up

Make sure that your photo is the correct size. That means you’ll have to open up your photo editing software to crop, shrink, or resize your photo. It’s important for you to know the dimensions you are working with on your website. Remember, you can always shrink a photo but you can’t always expand it. Buy big.

Which sites do you use to get legal pictures for your website? 

Are you ready for a website change? Let’s start building your new website.

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