Adding Images to Your AC Articles

For those Content Producers who are still hesitant or uncertain about adding images to their articles on Associated Content, here is a set frequently asked questions.

Why should I add images to my AC articles?

Put simply, people respond to visuals. When a web surfer visits your Content Producer URL and sees a bevy of photos, they’re more likely, on average, to respond positively to the page and to click on links to your work. And if someone navigates to a specific article via a Google search, the image they see – even just a stock photo – helps to make the page of content look more robust and professional. The positive effect of the visual is sometimes hard to explain, but it’s quite powerful in a world where people make instant decisions about what to click on and how to judge it.

Beyond just creating a more attractive context for your AC articles, images can even be instructive or demonstrative. Examples include:

– Photos of a Finished Project. See Jeff Gedgaud’s Replacing the Kitchen Sink for superb use of images to accompany a how-to.
– Images from Travel Destinations. See Gary Picariello’s A Visit to the Brindisi Antiques Market or my own article on Vacations in Montenegro.
– Tech-related Screen Shots. See Lolaness’s Custom 404 Icon in Photoshop.

Also, you’re more likely to get featured on the site’s main page or on the topic pages like when you’ve taken a moment to include an image during the submission process. Based on the current AC layout, images with a landscape orientation work a little better than those with a portrait orientation for selection as features.

What kind of images are appropriate?

There are two main types of images appropriate for inclusion with your AC articles: photos taken by you and stock photos taken by others. In order to use an image, you either need to have the rights to the image yourself or you need to find stock photography that doesn’t require payment or other permissions (unless you actually want to deal with those matters). Screen shots may also be appropriate for inclusion along with certain articles, notably tech tutorials and software reviews.

How do I add my image to an article?

Simply go to the bottom of the submission template to upload an image that you have saved on your computer. Just click on “browse” and go the appropriate folder to select the file. Then, all you need is a caption and the credit/copyright information.

Can I add more than one image to an article?

Yes! This is a great idea for something like before and after photos or how-to guides. After each upload, you’ll see an “attach another image” option on the submission template. Just remember to decide on an order before uploading, as the images will be numbered in the order they are submitted.

What are the technical details?

The image should be under 2MB, over 72 dpi, and in either GIF or JPG format. Most of the stock photography on the web or the images you take with a digital camera will meet these specifications. In addition, images attached to AC articles should also be clear – not too dark or blurry.

What if my image isn’t a GIF or a JPG?

On those occasions when you find a BMP, PNG, or other image that isn’t in one of these two AC-friendly formats, it’s fairly easy to “Save As” the appropriate type using a photo editor. I recommend IrfanView, a free program that has been around for years.

Which websites are best for stock photos?

Different content producers prefer different stock photography sites. My personal favorite is SXC because it’s easy to use, has a large library, and contains a lot of free images that require no permission from the creator. The advanced search feature is especially useful for finding photos free of restrictions.

Other useful websites include: geekphilospher, freestockphotos, bigfoto, and of course the infamous Flickr (though a lot of people on Flickr restrict their images by reserving all the rights).

What if I can’t find a good image for a particular article?

Sometimes, no matter how you search, you won’t be able to find an appropriate stock photo, and you won’t be able to capture something yourself. For these cases, if you have access to a digital camera, you can always use your AC stickers (sent to you via email after you join) to create a visual. For an example, see Timothy Sexton’s article on the Stem Cell Research Veto. If your take an AC sticker photo that’s truly awesome, then don’t forget to submit it for the sticker contest, too.

What if I have more questions?

Then visit the community tab and ask in the forums!

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