Picture This

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

When I first started using Zemanta, which is a nice way of gathering resources and links in a blog post, I also allowed it to provide me with pictures to use for my post.  (If you don’t know, people like pictures.  You’ll get more hits on your blog if you use ‘em than if you don’t.  Word to your head, yo.)  And that was fine.

Then I found out I could do cooler things and maybe find better pictures, which don’t require caption editing, if I used the great oracle Google or similar to find my pictures.  So I started doing that.  And things were fine.

Then I discovered a Polaroid Picture add-on for Windows Live Writer.  It allowed me to pick my own picture, insert it into my post, tilt it right or left if I wanted, and add my own caption, and some other special effects too.  And things were wonderful.

Then something changed.  Every picture I found on the Internet, no matter what the dimensions of the picture were, became a postage stamp-sized tile on my blog post.  I could resize the picture of course, but only at my peril.  The pixelation indicated this wasn’t viable after all, not if I wanted the picture to be recognizable and, in some cases, have the text be legible.

What do to?  What to DO?!

I’ve done what I can to pick the appropriate size.  I even went so far as to check with other search engines to see if the one I used did something to the images when they saved.  Nothin’.  Always tiny.

What to do?  What to DO?!

Well, I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now.  I have no clue where to find the nice, clear, large images I can shrink to the perfect size anymore.  Maybe my search terms have gone stale.  Maybe I’m not being creative enough.  Maybe this is Internet censorship at work.  Maybe it’s a conspiracy to stop me from getting the hits I so desperately need and deserve.  Maybe there’s someone trying to keep me from getting popular and they’ve sabotaged my ability to download perfect pictures.  Whatever the case (and none of those are the case), I just can’t get the good sized pictures I once had.

So, do the posts suffer because they don’t have a picture?  Do I need one?  Do you enjoy the posts as much without them?

Sound off, let me know.  Don’t wanna work harder than I have to, y’know?



13 thoughts on “Picture This

  1. The pictures are probably best for catching the eye of passing readers, rather than appeasing your current readers. And really, how many google referrers turn into regular readers? If they were pictures of you and your life, then I’d say I want them, but they’re not. Ditch ’em, if you want.

    Hm, good point. I know not a lot of readers finding my site via Google turn into regulars, but what about those who find me through the dashboard, or the WP tag search? Think it has any impact on them?

    As far as why that’s happening…Maybe they’re trying to make it harder to use copyrighted pics without permission. Wait, did you say that already?

    I thought I did, but maybe not. Even so, that could be the case. I noticed it the other day on Google’s image page too. Iiiiiinnnnterestingk.

    • “Think it has any impact on them?”

      It may. I know when I go to a blog with interesting graphics, I spend more time there. However, the quality of the writing keeps me coming back, not the pics.

      Me too, but as a visual person, I’m drawn to pictures. I don’t know if anyone ISN’T, but they have a bigger impact on me, probably.

  2. I don’t even look at the pictures. Of course, I also tend to completely disregard large ads in the phone book or elsewhere and look at the fine print. It’s not intentional at all, and I have no idea why I do it. No pics, no problem. Don’t bother.

    Wow, three votes against pics so far. You’re making my life easy here, people.

    I think Sherri nailed it with the copyright issue. Although honestly I can still find large pictures. Just the other day I found a lot of great photos of manatees for my little one. Want one? 😉

    Always lookin’ for a good manatee pic. Send ’em on. 🙂

  3. I use photos a lot but then I am a very visually oriented person and I learn more by seeing what something is or how to do it then to simply read how.

    Learning to knit by myself I couldn’t figure out the illustrations on how to cast on or do some other tricky things but when I watched the videos on Youtube I got it first time.

    I’m the same. I can read something in a book ten times but if someone walks me through the process and shows me the steps I’ll nail it. Just a visual learner is all.

    I don’t think that all blogs need lots of pictures, just depends on the author’s style and their preferences. But I do admit to noticing blogs that have pictures to go with the articles more often. If I find the photos interesting then I read the post. This is usually more with new blogs I check out to see if I want to read it or not.

    So far, you’re the first assenting voice to pictures I’ve had. 🙂

  4. Well, I for one am hooked – you don’t need pictures to keep me coming back! I do think that pictures make a blog look more interesting when you are trying to pull in new readers. When I see a picture I sometimes read further in to see if it is a blog I want to visit regularly. I always worry about copyright issues so my solution is to keep my camera handy. The majority of pictures I use are my own.

    Well, thanks Jaymie! I’m glad you enjoy what you find here. And I agree — it’d be best to use your own pics if you can, but for the things I write about, I don’t know if I COULD take my own. 🙂

  5. A couple things:

    (1) In Google Images search, look at the option which tells it to restrict results just to pictures of a certain size or above. I usually use the Medium setting.

    I think I have mine set there too. Mostly it’s what I see when it comes down that concerns/confounds me.

    (2) Sign up at the Stock (pictures) Exchange. Photogs from all over the world upload photos and other graphics on thousands of subjects, and spell out what usage rights they’re granting. (Most completely free of use without restriction; next most popular choice is “give credit to [name].” And then it scales up from there if you want to pay.) I love this place.

    Oh, I’m so there.

    Oh, and I assume you check Flickr, too? A lot of photogs there offer easy distribution rights, too.

    Actually, Zemanta DOES pull from Flickr. I’ve never done a search from that site though.

    Fwiw, I have sometimes found a photo which completely knocks me out but is clearly protected, like at a photographer’s site. (Like the b&w images I used in this post.) I’ve found these folks often very generous with permissions as long as full credit and a link to the originating site is given.

    Most people are decent, I’m sure. I’ve never been so determined to use a pic as to ask permission of a protected on though.

    It’s probably useful for both your and my purposes that we don’t get tens of thousands of site visits a day. 🙂

    Probably. I’d love to know what that’s like, though. 😉

  6. I think a well-placed picture is a nice bonus, but not mandatory to keep my attention. I’ve been very lazy with pictures on my blog for the last, oh, year maybe. I have a perfectly good digital camera, so I have absolutely no excuse.

    I’m lazy about it too — I don’t even take my own pics. 🙂

  7. I read blogs that don’t have pictures, but I’m a visual sort of person and happen to like pictures–I do use them in my own blog (in case you didn’t notice). So not having pictures is not a deal breaker, but they do add something. Of course, the wrong picture can turn a reader away too, so nothing is perfect.

    True, true. I’m pretty much the same; don’t mind reading without visual aids, but I’m a visual person.

    As for the sizing issue… I can’t understand how to size my own pictures most of the time. I won’t adjust anything on my scanner and pictures will show in different sizes anyway. Why?! Some pictures I don’t post because of the size.

    It might have to do with the resolution setting on your scanner, but sometimes I get messed up too. I don’t know why the pictures don’t come down in the resolution they’re listed at, but maybe it’s the whole copyright thing from a web page. Your scanned picture sizing can be adjusted on the WP editor, but you have a LOT more control (drag-n-size) in something like Windows Live Writer or similar.

  8. I have used photobucket for years for both storage and finding images. I can say without a doubt that PHOTOBUCKET SUCKS!

    ROLFMAO! Okay, SCRATCH Photobucket. 🙂

    I don’t know why it takes a full minute for the site to load. I don’t know why suddenly it won’t let me save my edited images. I don’t know how much longer I can go before I smash my computer with a hammer. I have to upload my images to flickr, edit them in picnik, save them to my computer, upload them to photobucket & post them to my blog. For the love of all that is holy, why does it take so many steps?


    If you find something better out there, please let me know.

    Since it looks like Fal answered you, I’ll trust her input. 🙂

  9. Hi Darc,

    at Zemanta we recently increased the size of images to 300 pixles by the longer edge and users can then decrease the size to fit their needs.

    However we only provide images that are under one of of open licenses. Even when going through Google to get images, I’d strongly recommend checking the license [Google now allows CC search].

    Oh, if you are looking for images through Google, you might have just switched the size limit in the GUI. Just change it to bigger and you should be getting images of larger sizes.

    Hope to see you using Zemanta again.
    Andraz Tori, Zemanta

    Andraz, thank you so much. I’m glad to hear the size of Zemanta pictures has been increased. Just so you know, though, I never stopped using them. It just depends on what I need and whether Zemanta offered me something I wanted. Thanks for the update, and for dropping by!

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