Every Post deserves a Good Picture

Services for Real Estate Pros with Goodtree & Co., Inc.
Carpenter Farm Supply for a story on CaryCitizen. Photo by Hal Goodtree.
Good Pictures Get Reads
People tell me all the time that they look at the pictures first and then decide whether or not they want to read the story. Moral: good pictures increase engagement and duration (time on page).

The Easy Way: Buy Pictures for About a Buck

Everyone knows you can't steal pictures from the internet. Technically, maybe you can, but it's not a good idea. Many pictures have tracking codes and you're liable to get an unpleasant phone call.

I use iStockPhoto to get pictures for about a buck. Massive selection, good search engine, buy the smallest size for web use and sleep well at night.

The Easy Way: Flickr Creative Commons

You can't steal pictures from Flickr either. But many photographers list their pictures as available for use with a link and credit. It's called a Creative Commons license.

To find these pics, search for a subject on Flickr. When the results are returned, clicked on "Advanced Search" (upper right). You'll see a whole page of options.

Scroll down to the bottom. Check off "Creative Commons." Presto! You'll see all the pictures that match your search and which are licensed for Creative Commons usage.

Here's a whole collection of stories on CaryCitizen where we got a picture from Flickr using a Creative Commons license:

Take Your Own Pictures

You don't need a fancy camera to take good pictures. You do need a decent eye, steady hands and the ability to edit your shots. Here is a collection of pictures I took with my iPhone to prove that good pictures can be had from mobile phones:

iPhone Moments Set

Point-and-shoots can take good pictures as well: Here are some pictures taken with a Canon A400 filtered for "interestingness:"

Of course, DSLRs take great pictures. They have larger, more sensitive imaging areas than cheaper cameras and the significant advantage of great lenses.

A mid-priced DSLR will run you $1000-1500 but a used camera can be found on eBay for around $500.

Hire Someone

Lots of good photographers in your neighborhood probably willing to work for $25-50. Search Flickr in your area. Find someone you like. Make 'em an offer.

Make sure you ask beforehand to get a CD of all the images from the shoot and the right to use them for your business. That's what we offer. Call us.

Worth It?

Good pictures make all the difference in how people perceive your website, your brand and, ultimately, you as a service provider.


Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Hal, thanks for your post.  I noticed in google analytics posts in my blog that get the most views are the ones with pictures!

Jun 16, 2010 04:50 AM
Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California) - Campbell, CA
Silicon Valley, California

This was a lot of helpful information!  And I agree with Pamela!

Jun 16, 2010 04:55 AM
Hal Goodtree
Goodtree & Co., Inc. - Cary, NC
Web 2.0 for Business

Thanks Chris! I agree with Pamela too.

Jun 16, 2010 05:14 AM
Robin Evans
Coldwell Banker Advantage - Cary, NC
Building relationships while getting results.

What a gorgeous picture of Carpenter!  Yes, the picture pulled me in and captured my attention so that I felt the need to read the information.  As a real estate agent, I believe that great photos are of the utmost importance in marketing a home.  The sited for photos will be very helpful.  I do love to take my own.  Thank goodness for my iphone.  


Sep 12, 2010 07:28 AM
Desiree Zuckerman
Rodeo Realty - Hidden Hills, CA

Thanks for the great info about photo credits & using photos in your blog - I searched the internet last night for over an hour & couldn't find anything as helpful as this! Thanks again!

Oct 16, 2010 09:34 PM