Monday, January 25, 2016

A List of 35 Blog Images You Can Take Yourself

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’ve shared several posts about where to find images for your blog. But one thing I haven’t covered is a list of images you could take with your own camera. I’m always on the lookout for images that I could use to illustrate a post. In my mind, I have a list of things I always need.

Today I’m going to write that list out and share it with you.

Before I start though, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be professional photographer to take your own pictures. You can use a fancy camera, a point and shoot, or even your cell phone. Personally, I use my Nikon point and shoot and my iPhone 6 to take a lot of the images you see on my site.

Things to look for that will build your library of blog images:
1. A Wall. It can be a brick, stone or any kind of wall. But when we’re talking about obstacles in a blog post, this can be a great visual.

A Gate.
2. A Gate. I have pictures of open gates and closed gates. Again, good images if you’re talking about traveling.

3. A Path. I have dozens of path pictures. I have paths in the woods, paved paths, paths that divide, paths that go downhill and paths that go uphill.

4. A Tunnel. This is great if you’re talking about the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s also a good way to illustrate going through tough times.

5. An Obstacle. I have pictures of a trail with a tree blocking the path. I also have pics of detour signs, roadblocks, etc.

6. Traffic Signs. Again, detour signs, Road Closed, Yield, Winding Road, etc.

7. Rain. I love pictures of rainy pavement, raindrops, even puddles. These can evoke emotions and illustrate lots of things, like saving for a rainy day.

8. Mirrors. For some reason, it’s really hard to find stock images of mirrors. I’ve solved that by taking my own. I just stand off to one side and click away.

9. The Horizon. I love taking horizon pictures. These are really good for illustrating posts about the future.

A Cross. And I took this picture at
the Florida Christian Writers Conference
in 2015.
10. The Cross. If I see a cool cross, I usually try to snap a picture of it. And I try to find unusual angles, instead of just straight on.

11. Animal Pictures. I look for the opportunity to snap pictures of my dog and cat illustrating emotions. The one here is of my dog Jake napping. I can use this one to illustrate lazy, relaxing, etc.

12. Light Bulb. Anytime you write about finding an idea or having an idea, a light bulb is a great illustration. It can also be used anytime you refer to illumination.

13. Clouds with Sun Rays. These are great to illustrate faith and God.

14. Ripples in Water. These images are great when we write about the effect of something.

15. The Bible. Again, great for messages of faith. I take pictures of the book close, specific passages, and pages that have notes on them.

Words in the Dictionary.
16. Words in the Dictionary. Some times it’s hard to find just the right picture. Instead, look the word up in the dictionary and snap a picture. You can manipulate the picture in and have a great blog illustration.

17. Computer Keyboard/Keys. Again, good for illustrating posts about writing. You can also take images that focus on a certain key, like Delete, Shift, a Question Mark, etc.

This is my typewriter with a blank sheet of paper in it.
I added Write in Faith using PicMonkey.
18. Typewriter/Typewriter Keys. This is great for us when we write about writing. You can even put a piece of blank paper in the typewriter and use a site like PicMonkey to add words to the paper.

19. Luggage. This is great when we’re talking about taking more than we can handle, carrying baggage, etc.

20. Exit/Do Not Enter Signs. These are great to illustrate posts that warn about something.

21. Doors. I take pics of open doors, partially open doors, closed doors, even locked doors.

Funny Signs/Objects.
22. Funny Signs/Objects. This is one I just took this week while we were on vacation at Universal Studios. I also have one from another amusement park that is a suspended net full of bricks. It has a sign on it that says, “A ton of bricks.”

23. Chain/Lock/Key. I use chain links when I’m talking about links (as in computer links). And locks and keys are always great images.

24. Fog. This is another great image to have in your library. It evokes a lot of emotion and can illustrate uncertainty.

25. Tools. Pictures of tools can be great illustrations. I have quite a few—from a simple hammer and nails—to tools on a workbench.

26. Winding Road. Another great image to illustrate a journey.

A Pen/Paper/Journal.
27. A Pen/Paper/Journal. This is another image that I use a lot more than I thought I would. It's easy to set up and take yourself.

28. A Clock. Any time you're writing about time, a clock is a good way to illustrate that.

29. A Foundation. This is another image that's really useful and hard to find. So if you're near a construction site and can snap a quick pic, do it.

30. Spring/Summer/Winter/Fall. We reference the seasons a lot when we write, so having images available to illustrate that is a big help.

31. Stairs/Staircase. A great way to illustrate change.

32. A Bridge. Like several others I've mentioned, a picture of a bridge is a great way to illustrate a variety of posts.

33. A Reflection. This isn't necessarily in a mirror, it can be in a window, in water, anywhere. 

34. A Window. Another staple for bloggers, no matter what the focus of your site.

35. Fire/Candle/Fireplace. All excellent for illustrating subjects like ignite, warmth, etc.

Two important tips when you’re taking & using these images: 
First: Always include your contact info on any image you took yourself. I use PicMonkey to add the following somewhere on the picture:
Image Copyright (c)

This does a couple of things. It reminds people that someone owns the image and it's not just free to use without permission. It also is free advertising because it directs people back to my site, if the image shows up on social media anywhere. (NOTE: you can see my watermark in the first image on this blog)

Second: Think of composing the picture so there is room to add words to the image to make a meme. (Review: A meme is an image with words on it. The first image for this post is a meme.) Try to keep your background simple. Below are two images, one with room for words, one without room.

The background in this image isn't busy and there is plenty of room to add text.

This background is busy, and there isn't a blank space to fit the words in easily.
These are just some of the basic images I try to keep in a file of pics for my blog posts. There is literally no end to the list. But this should get you started and help you begin to look at the world around you from a new perspective.

I’d love to know what you’d add to the list. Be sure to leave your comments in the section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!



  1. Thank you for this list, Edie. I am always on the look out for good pictures. My phone takes great ones. I started using my own images. I don't want to deal with copyright. I have not been placing my info on the image. I will do that from now on.

    1. Cherrilynn, it takes a few more moments to add the watermark, but it's worth the effort! Blessings, E

  2. Thanks Edie. I have been wondering how to place the copyright information on a picture. I will definitely check out PicMonkey. One question I have....How do you file your pictures? I am accumulating a lot of them and not sure how I should sort or file them. As always, your posts are very helpful. This one especially was packed with information I have been searching for. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Sheryl, keeping track of my pictures became an issue for me too. I created a file "Pics for Blogs" and transfer my images there. I change the file name of each picture so it's easy to find, i.e. Raindrops, Rain on Bricks, etc. That way I can scroll through and find them easier. I may consider breaking them out into subfiles at some point, but this works well for me now. Great question! Blessings, E

  3. I always learn something from your articles, Edie! Thanks for these wonderful photo tips.

    1. Cynthia, I'm always glad to help! We're all stronger together. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  4. Sheryl, you can add copyright info as a watermark or in the caption. I WISH I'd taken the photo I used on my team blog: it's just a sprout coming up from between cracks in the cement. I need to add that on to my list.

    Great post, Edie!

    1. Angie, if the image is yours, I suggest you put the watermark somewhere in the picture. That way it won't get separated from the image. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

  5. Great post. I like using my own images as well.

    1. Pat, you have great images! Thanks for dropping by, Blessings, E

  6. Thanks, Edie. I love lists because they always expand my resources. Invariably, a good list from a respectable source will go beyond where mine ended. And, once again, you did not disappoint. This Christmas we got a live, evergreen centerpiece with 3 white candles & white ribbon for our table. With our point-and-shoot and my nice Canon we took some frame-worthy images of it with the candles lit in a dim room. That image plus one of a friendly cat - deer standoff in our back yard were my 2 faves of the year. Yep, we all have the tools to tell a unique story. Jay Wright

    1. Jay, those are great! And I love your words, "We all have the tools to tell a unique story." You should do a blog post about that, or an article. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

  7. Thanks for these tips, Edie. The best one is the composition. I've messed myself up at roomed over that. Great tips!!

    1. Ane, sometimes you can do some judicious cropping and give yourself more room. Blessings, E

  8. Thanks so much for the list. I love lists and you always have wonderful lists of helpful ways to improve my writing.

    1. Lillian, I'm glad to be able to help! Blessings, E

  9. I always learn something from you, Edie. Thanks for this post. It makes things much easier. I began taking my own photos at your suggestion in a class at Ridgecrest. This list is fabulous.

    1. Debra, I've been meaning to post this list for a while. I'm glad I finally found a place for it! Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

  10. I guess this dates me, but I didn't know a watermark is the same as a copyright imprint--like yours on the photos here, Edie. Many years ago I worked for the U.S. Forest Service. Our stationery for formal writing had a faintly visible image/words across every sheet of letterhead notifying anyone who looked at it that "This sheet of paper belongs to the U.S. government, so don't use it unless you're authorized!" I have to chuckle at myself and adjust my thinking about the definition of "watermark."
    Thanks too for mentioning PicMonkey--another thing I've never heard of.

    1. Shirley, it is an antiquated term, but accurate. I'll be doing more posts about how to use PicMonkey soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Blessings, E

  11. Wonderful idea! Can't wait to get started. Thanks for mentioning Pic Monkey. I'll research it.

  12. Wonderful idea! Can't wait to get started. Thanks for mentioning Pic Monkey. I'll research it.

  13. Such a helpful, succinct list of ideas, Edie! Thank you!

  14. Hi Edie - Thank you for the wonderful suggestions. Recently, I've been thinking of taking more pictures. I can't wait to start clicking away. :)

  15. Thanks for this post! I love to take pictures of flowers around the neighborhood or park. I like to go to the local community center, and take pictures of the American flag for certain holidays. I love bridges too, and you mentioned that one. My camera isn't fancy so I regret the quality of some of the pictures, but I use the best ones online.