Author Talk: Pretty As A Picture
You’ve written an epic post. You’ve gotten your #hashtags sorted. Now what? You need eye candy! Now, I realize as an artist picking pictures is second nature to me. I also realize they are the bane of existence for some. So, how do you find pictures?
1) Take your own pictures. Unlike in the past when I was heavy into photography, you don’t need a fancy camera if you have a smart phone. You got a Galaxy something? An iPhone? An iPad? You have a camera. Most of them come with pretty user-friendly settings where you too can take exceptional pictures. I can’t teach you how to frame up the perfect shot, but you can get outstanding ideas by looking at other people’s posts. A simple cloth, your book, and a close-up shot can work well. Go outside if you need better lighting. Or invest in one of the tiny photo “booth” tents you can score for cheap to do lighted shots. Something like this: https://www.ebay.com/i/183187707140?chn=ps
2) Use mockup photography. I hear you groaning over there. Just hear me out. You don’t have to have Photoshop to become a pro mockup user. There are easy-to-use tools you can get like https://www.mockupshots.com/and https://bookbrush.com/. Literally, you just add your picture and the program does the work. You hit download…done.
3) You can get free stuff for Photoshop or anything that you can use PSD files in at https://covervault.com/ Affinity, a fairly new software, is a onetime purchase and just as good as Photoshop. https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/ is their website!
4) Use something like https://www.relaythat.com/ where you can do both social media and a few mock up shots with the click of a button. The best tip is finding a deal for it on Appsumo.com or a coupon.
5) Stock Photography. If you are making an ad or social media post, most of the “free” places will be good. I prefer https://unsplash.com/ as they have a wonderful selection of items. However, if you ever are afraid of the licensing issues https://depositphotos.com/, which often sells 100 nonexpiring credits on Appsumo, is a splendid choice. Also, I found an impressive company called https://www.yayimages.com/ where they have reasonable prices AND you can use the pictures in commercial endeavors as long as you modify the picture. Which is a great resource for me. I caution you to choose a reputable source over a free source.
6) DAZ Studio. OK. So, maybe that is a bit advanced. But if you go to www.daz3d.com or www.renderosity.com you might find some great backgrounds. I use the 3D rendered items and backgrounds in a lot of my art because their licensing is generous. If I buy a pack of backgrounds, I can use them in my art and make money off them. If I buy a 3D figure, I can render a picture of the figure (fancy speak for a photograph like item) and use the 2D art as I please. Renderosity is also a prominent place to get “painted hair”. Most stock photo places that try to sell you “painted hair” or basically wigs to change up stock models or your 3D render….put the same crazy limits on those assets as they do their stock photography. IE don’t even think of trying to make money on the art if it uses any of those items. But not items found on the sites like Renderosity or DAZ. Many of their items are licensed to be used in works for sale without strict limitation.
(PS I’m not a lawyer so don’t take any of my advice to heart on the licensing agreements. I just want you to be aware of the terms of how you can use the art you have found and some known caveats. You don’t want a blog post to bite you in the butt three years from now because you find out someone uploaded a picture to a free site illegally and you are the one getting the nasty letters.)