12 December 2012

Create Your Own Genealogy Blog Stock Images

Read just about any article on "how to blog", and one of the first suggestions is always related to having images in each article. It's good advice, and it's a proven method of generating - and keeping - readers. In our technology laden society, we are being inundated with more and more information, you need something flashy and attractive to keep those that are interested in your stories coming back.
If you Google "stock photos", you can literally find millions of results. Some of them are free, some are not. Some are very high quality, some are not.
There is an easier way, however, and if you have a decent digital camera or a smartphone, it becomes relatively simple. Here is the warning: once you start taking pictures on your own for your genealogy or family history related blog, you may not stop. You've been told.
Inspiration comes easily, just look at the myriad of other bloggers out there, focusing of course on similar topics to yours. If your blog discusses a memory of your grandmother, take a photo of your heirloom tea cup that was passed down to you. Is the objective of the post a book review or include mention of a article or magazine? Use the cover of the text, a notepad and pen to create an image of studying or reading. Have a new research idea, that you want to write about? Fantastic! Even a stack of unidentified books in front of a computer screen makes a compelling image.

I've been doing this, consistently, now for a couple of months, and truly love it. The ideas that come to mind are really endless, and your imagination is all you really need!

Here's a few of mine:

heirloom, artifact, toy, wooden toy, toy truck, map, King County, Washington, antique, stock photo, blogging, Ancestral Journeys
My husband's toy wooden truck, placed on top of a map
from the general area where we grew up.

train, toy train, map, King County, Washington, heirloom, genealogy, family history, Ancestral Journeys, stock photo, photography
My own childhood toy! Mounted on a track and using
the same map. I used the macro setting on all of these
images to get the blurred corners.

tea cup, saucer, heirloom, genealogy, family history, Brown, antique, collection, photography, blogging, family tree chart, digital preservation
My grandmother's tea cup and saucer, one of
a small collection. Placed on top of a family tree chart,
next to her name. 

Same tea cup and saucer, with a larger view of the chart.

To display continuing education...
classic texts with a genealogy conference
website in the background. Combining classic
"education" with new formats.

Use your community. Talk a walk around your neighborhood and look for interesting architectural details on local homes, flora and fauna that catches your eye, cloud formations above buildings that create an interesting scene. Use your creativity and have some fun with it! If your ancestors were farmers, get up close and personal with a grain of wheat or a leaf, if there are in a location with limited access to farms. Take pictures of gears, bike spokes, lunch boxes... anything that you can use to tell the story, behind the story.

Breckenridge, Colorado, Summit County, box car, history, rail, railroad, family history, transportation, scenic, museum, park, Colorado and Southern
The Rotary Snow Plow Park in Breckenridge, CO.
They have a fantastic engine, but the box car is
photographed very rarely.

Breckenridge, Colorado, history, railroad, trains, park, museum, Summit County, genealogy, family history
Rotary Snow Plow Park, Breckenridge, CO.
A unique perspective on rail history, perhaps. 

wood grain, color, contrast, Colorado, Ancestral Journeys, art, chalk, wood
My back deck, with the addition of my daughter's art work.
A good color / neutral tone combo.

Two suggestions, however. Find a way to have and label your images with copyright text, unless of course, you do not mind if anybody and everybody uses your ideas. Secondly, use your "macro" setting on your camera (it's up to you to research that, if you don't know what it is, there are far too many options to be discussed here), or Instagram on your smart phone to create unique, visually stimulating images.
A few moments of self-teaching on your equipment will go a long way, here. Take advantage of the tools you have at home to create unique, creative images for your blog. Your readers will appreciate it, and your stories will become more personal.