It's really true -- a picture is worth a 1000 words, and often more. But for some of my clients and colleagues, they seem so hard to acquire for social media and blogging. So I thought I'd pass along a few thoughts on how to make this easier and more fun.
Microsoft Publisher. This software program can be added to your Office 365 package if you don't already have it. Ask your Office 365 agent. I use this nearly everyday. It's easier to become proficient with than PhotoShop, which I also have but rarely use. Whereas the default file type in Publisher is PUB, be sure to save your work as a jpg or png file as well to turn your creation into something that can be posted in your blog or in social media.
PicMonkey. An online tool that augments what you can do with Publisher. I often use them together, starting in Publisher and finishing in the PicMonkey. It's totally worth paying the $40 annual fee for full access in PicMonkey, but I think they still have a free version and a trial period. Tip --- text overlaid on a photo will look better when done in PicMonkey than in Publisher. UPDATE -- the new PicMonkey version is a little more complicated than the old version, but still worth learning.
Jing. Another online tool from techsmith.com, Jing is useful for when you need to take screenshots of your own website. I use Jing a lot when I'm providing step by step pictorial instructions. Be aware that it could be a violation of intellectual property law to take screenshots of anything on the internet that you personally have not created or that is not in the public domain.
Free Online Image Sources. Because it is somewhat dangerous to take images off Google due to not knowing easily if they are copyrighted works -- and almost all images there are protected by copyright -- I recommend exploring the following sources for free photos and vector artwork. Be sure to read the terms and conditions so that you know how the images you want can be legally used. Registration with the image service, or attribution for each photo used, may be required for free photos. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for your use. Some if not most sources prohibit using their photos to portray people with mental illness, or to imply other defamatory behavior.
Free Images Links
Cell Phone Photos. If you have a relatively new phone, it probably has an excellent camera. Most phones have a feature by which you can email yourself any photos you've taken in order to get them into your computer, where they can be then uploaded to Publisher or PicMonkey for full editing. I can attest to the high quality of my iPhone for nature photos and even selfies used on websites and social media.
For great tips on taking excellent photos with your iPhone, check out this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/iPhonePS/
I recommend adding a copyright line to any images you create before adding them to the internet. This helps reinforce the reminder that intellectual property laws are important to observe. Note that there is a difference between adding a marketing link -- just your domain or Facebook page url -- and adding a copyright. A marketing link doesn't not purport to claim ownership of the image, and does not include the copyright symbol of a letter C inside a circle, and date.
Other Tips I'd Pass Along
Using images of various colors make your blog page more interesting
Be sure to only use high quality, high resolution images so they aren't blurry
Crop out distracting backgrounds as much as possible
Look for dramatic or unexpected angles to create interest and hold attention
Captions aren't necessary - a photo should make a point without explanation
Using borders on your photos is personal preference - just be consistent for blogs
Don't let a dark or thick border overwhelm a photo
Finally, if you are attached to a certain outcome and can't achieve it with the tools suggested above, try a freelancer at Fiverr who has expertise with PhotoShop and charges just a few bucks to produce what you need.