Best PracticesStock Photography

Are Your Photos Blog-Worthy?

Do you know the three S’s for selecting an image for your blog post?SuperStock Blog Image Girl Reading Blog on Phone

Savvy bloggers feature images in their blogs because compelling visuals attract viewers and hold them longer. However, not all visuals are equally desirable. Some choices can even be risky to your wallet, not just your reputation.

There are three “S”s to keep in mind: 

  • Does the blog image make sense?
  • Is the blog image the correct size?
  • Is the blog image safe to use?


Americans love cat pictures. Or images of tiny animals nibbling watermelon. Or smiling dogs. What’s not to love? Maybe irrelevance. If you want people to take your blog seriously, don’t use cute animals unless there is some direct connection to your message.

Sometimes you can rework the copy to create an opportunity for a visual. Let’s say your blog is about the pay inequity between women and men. If your headline is: “Women Still Make Less than Men,” that doesn’t lend itself to a strong visual. Rework the headline to: “The Pay Gap Still Matters” and you could use an image of pedestrian warning signage reading: Mind the Gap.

SuperStock Blog Image London Subway Couple


We are impatient. If a web page takes too long to open, we bail. According to media experts, “too long” is now just a matter of a few seconds. Keep blog images sizing under 100KB to keep your page load time fast (and your viewer engaged.)

In sizing blog images, look beyond your laptop. Will it work on a smartphone or tablet? If you add text to your images, will it still read on a small screen?

Resizing an image on your blogging platform using the HTML editor will not change its actual size. You will need to resize images using an external photo-editing tool like Photoshop. Upload the image after you have resized it.


What’s risky about a photo? Ownership and rights. Finding something on the Internet does not mean anyone can scoop it up to use for any purpose. If you are caught using a copyrighted image, you are subject to legal fees and fines.

What is your potential liability? Using an image that you do not have rights to can cost you thousands. If you assume that you would simply receive a warning to take down the offending blog image, you would be wrong. You can get a warning notice – or you may hear directly from an attorney first. This is true even if you cite the photographer and link to the source …your blog is in no way commercial…and if our analytics prove that only your grandma and 12 best friends ever clicked on your blog. 

Your safest bet is to choose Royalty-Free Images or Rights Managed. 

Licenses for Royalty-Free images are granted for worldwide, non-exclusive, and perpetual use (unless specifically noted otherwise). All Royalty-Free transactions are final.

Rights Managed images are also called Rights-Protected. Guidelines provide exact specifics on how these images may be used. Pricing is determined by usage details.

Here is an example of Rights-Protected use and restrictions:

Displays – Outdoor, Trade Show or Panel Presentation

RM Full Page, Circulation 500

Start Date: May 04, 2018

Length:      1 Week

Expires:     May 11, 2018

The right image will help your blog – but it is important to understand the rights for that image are a critical factor in making your selection.

(Note:  No copyrights were infringed in the making of this blog. Make sure you can always make the same claim.)

Tom Sheeter
Tom Sheeter is a Los Angeles based writer and Account Manager at Superstock. He specializes in film and tv licensing and clearance issues.

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