Even as metaphors are worth a thousand pictures, images are worth a thousand words -- at least a hundred. We are a visually active society, and we see images in our own culture, language, and context more than we are able to take words in.
Great communicators have always been able to use symbols to rally support and bring people together -- fans, voters, tribes alike.
Over the years, many have noticed that the images to my posts are chosen with care to complement the message of the post.
Creative commons licensed photograph on Flickr are one of my favorite sources. I love photography and enjoy giving visibility to great photographers, like Michele Catania for these landscapes, for example. They are stunning visuals that complement presentations and inspirational topics.
To find image-attribution rules set by photographers, apply the search filter within Flickr.
Another site I use for high quality photography is iStockphoto. They have different price points and a variety of images, including illustrations. There are many other stock photography sites.
If cost is an objection, you can sign up for Stock.xchng, a site where photographs are free to use when you sign up. The site has grown considerably and has a nice inventory.
Of course, there are also the photographs I take. They may not be the best, yet they are definitely safe to use since I know when and where it was taken and have the complete rights of authorship. I took this one above in Montreal.
I enjoy creative short decks with inspirational quotes that I can use as illustrations or leave behind from certain events. For example, see this deck I created at SxSW this past year. It requires a little bit more planning, as you will need to research photo groups from an event, and remember to jot down some memorable quotes.
I like Picture Sandbox a lot. It's a smart image search engine. Above is the results of a search I ran for bicycle. You can filter the results by site when you select a tab. You need to pay attention to licenses for Flickr and some of the other sites are paid sites. However, it may save you a lot of time by centralizing your search.
Wiki Commons also has images you can browse by category, file size, and format. They have a sense of humor as well.
Another site with good images also licensed with Creative Commons is FreeFoto.com.
For personal, non-commercial use, you may also search the historic LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.
Although I am partial to photography, I have also found useful to use illustrations. This community, Vecteezy, shares and rates vector free art (see licenses when you elect images).
Company logos, books covers, search screen shots, event badges and banners, Twitter screen grabs, Facebook wall threads, custom t-shirt compositions, quotes designed in PowerPoint, Keynote, Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop are also examples of images I have used to complement my blog posts.
I have made moderate use of infographics. The reason being that I like to tell the story myself and infographics, many of which are commercials for the companies that develop them, usually have already told the story. We'll talk about graphics, data, and charts in another post.
What do you use as sources? Do the photographers in this community open their shots to Creative Commons licenses? Why not, if that is the case?