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How to Find Blog Photos That Don't Suck and Don't Cost a Fortune

Get ready to finally enjoy the photo hunt.

We've all been there. You wrote an awesome blog and you're ready to publish it. Now you just need to find a fantastic photo or two to publish along with it. Cue the stock photo hunt...

... that you spend an hour on with no luck.

Finding a stock photo that isn't an atrocity is no small feat. They are cheesy, ridiculous and sometimes downright god awful. But it seems like the internet doesn't yet understand that people need photos that they aren't embarrassed to publish on their blog in order to feel like they've got an awesome thing going on. So what can you do

1. Use Anti-Stock Sites is one of my favorites. Basically, the people behind the site are addressing the outcry of marketers everywhere who are boycotting stock images. How are they helping? By taking real photos of real people doing real stuff. No more of that corny posed crap.

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You can sign up for their free monthly distribution list to get access to their free monthly photo upload (did I mention it's free?). If that doesn't satisfy your photo lust, you also have the option to sign up for their premium service. For just fifteen bucks a month and you get instant access to all their photos. Check them out, you'll be glad you did.

Need more variety in your life? Here's a post I did for a client with tons of great options.

2. Use Creative Commons Photos

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Some photographers are just awesome and out of the goodness of their hearts, they'll let you use their photos on your blog just because they're cool. Flickr is one of the most well known sites that offers this type of licensing. Learn about the different licenses and their usage rules and check out their stuff here.

3. Use Screenshots

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If you're writing about an app, site, or blog - use a screenshot (much like I did for the previous two points). As long as your blog isn't part of an underground illegal organ exchange or something, companies are usually happy to have the exposure. Be sure to toss a link in there and let them know you featured their site, app, product (whatever you shared in your post) to increase your shareprotunity (share opportunity).

4. Take Your Own Photos

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Sometimes, you'll be looking for something strange that doesn't necessarily exist the way you envision it on a stock photo site (for example, binoculars on the pier at dusk). If you find yourself stuck in this situation - consider taking a photo yourself.

Cameras these days are downright decent and if you have an aesthetic enough eye to create good looking content, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to take a decent photo. Plus, ya know, filters. But for the record? No filters on the above photo.

5. Use Affordable Stock Sites

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I know I just got done telling you stock is a dirty word, but some images are definitely worse than others. And... there are a couple sites out there that have some not-so-bad, reasonably priced photos. For example, I use BigStock for a lot of my commercial post needs.

They have a huge library of photos, the quality is just as good as some of the most well known sites and their prices are super fair. Like, buy rights for $0.53 cents per if you do the 5 image a day plan for a month. You can do this and stockpile some good photo options that are relevant to your business. And as an added bonus, they often offer promo codes, free trials, or free image downloads with sign-ups, so be sure to double check before you checkout.

Have any other favorites you use? Well don't keep it a secret! Share in the comments.