Blog | Marketing Madness

Creating Images When You Are Not Creative At All

20/07/2016

Everyone has things they are good at, and things they are not good at. When it comes to creating amazing content for your blog or website, it helps to be as well-rounded as possible.

Being a great writer is definitely a plus, as you are able to create your articles as soon as you think of them. But what about imagery?

There are tons of programs and apps out there that can help you create amazing images for your content.

But what if, like me, you don’t have an artistic bone in your body? What if you can’t even think of a good idea for an image, let alone create one?

For some of us, knowing you need an amazing image for your blog post is one thing: actually creating something worth looking at is another thing entirely!

Creating Images

I’m not great when it comes to drawing, I’ll happily admit that. When asked to draw a face, our creative designer did this:

face-sketch

I did this:

creative-content-face

You see where I’m coming from.

The problem is, I know what image I want in my head, but getting it out and onto the page it a lot harder for some of us than it is for others.

If you are looking for tools to create content images, head over to our guide to the best free content marketing tools for some insights.

However, if you want help on the step before the creation – the inspiration – you’ve come to the right place.

Colour Inspiration

This is probably the simplest way to kick start those creative juices and anyone can do it, even those people who share my stellar levels of artistic talent *ahem*

Colour inspiration simply means using the associations we make with colours on a daily basis and applying them to the content you are creating.

Most of us link the following colours to some sort of emotion or feeling:

Red – Angry

Blue – Sad

Yellow – Happy

You can see where I’m going with this.

You can use these preconceptions to influence your images and, in turn, influence your reader’s mood as soon as they begin reading.

Example 1:

When you’re in need of an image fast, Stock Photography comes to the rescue. Whether you’re using paid or free accreditation images, you can usually find something to fit the bill.

But sometimes, you need something a bit more unique to slot into your content, which means getting creative. Gulp!

Don’t panic! This is actually one of the simplest ways to get creative and make something that looks more original.

In this example, we have a stock image ready for a piece about Dealing With Internet Security. We have an accreditation free image ready to use but it needs tweaking.

Tip: Use accreditation free images if you are going to mess about with them, otherwise you need to get permission from the photographer

Now for the inspiration bit. Print out a copy of your article, walk away from your desk, and imagine yourself speaking the article out loud.

What is your tone of voice like? Are you serious? Are you lighthearted? Are you angry? Most likely, based on the headline, its the first one.

So what comes to mind when you are being serious? What colours pop into your brain? Bright red and yellow, or muted grey and white? Got the answer?

security-double

Bingo! Inspiration! Turn your stock image black and white.

This instantly changes the look of the image and sets a tone for your piece. Your reader makes the association based on common associations with colour and know this is going to be a serious, perhaps thought-provoking piece.

Pinterest Inspiration

There is a reason why practically every bride in existence has a wedding board on Pinterest – inspiration!

It really is one of the most effective ways to inspire your own creativity and collate every you discover in one handy place.

But the reality is, not all of us have the photography skills or set up required to make Pinterest worthy images. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for inspiration.

Granted, you can’t just pinch a Pinterest image and claim it as your own, but you can use the styles of the images to create your own.

The popularity of Pinterest comes down to it showing you a ‘story’ behind each image.

It’s not just saying ‘here’s my bowl of salad’, it’s saying ‘look at my salad and how bright and fresh and healthy I am! My life is better and more colourful with this amazing salad!’ (There’s even entire websites dedicated to eating salad, albeit tongue-in-cheek)

salad

Example 2:

You’re written a feature on how productivity can be improved if you take regular breaks at work.

So, first take a moment and think what is the first thing that pops into your head when you think of your office – a desk? A computer? Coffee?

I went with coffee.

So I want an image of a tasty-looking cup of coffee to give my article a tone of voice. I’m writing a light, relaxed informal piece (using Colour Inspiration, I’m thinking, Whites and Greens – Clean and Calm)

This is where Pinterest comes in. Its not enough to simply whack in picture of coffee, you need to create the ‘story’ behind it.

You’re writing a feature about the benefits of taking a break so everything in your picture needs to support that:

coffee

So, here’s the cup of coffee on its own. Not very inspiring

coffee-break

But add a person reading a magazine and a table, combined with a nicer background, and you create the perfect ‘relaxed’ image for your article

You don’t need a photo studio and a team of models either. Just use the team you have available, and most smart phones these days come with a camera powerful enough to do the rest!

The Human Touch Inspiration

Unless you currently work and live in a small enclosed space with no access to the outside world, chances are you know at least one other human being – use this to your advantage!

Other people can be an amazing source of inspiration in a number of different ways:

Opinions

Sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees and finding the right image to support our feature seems like a lost cause. Instead of banging your head against a wall, rally your colleagues or friend and ask for their opinion. They might not be creative types but sometimes having a different perspective on something can be all you need.

Talents

If there is an image you want to create but you just don’t have the photoshop or artistic skills required, find someone who can. This can range from asking a team member for some help, or putting an ad on Fiverr.

Get The Look

You may already have an idea for an image in your head but don’t have quite the right ‘look’ yet. Perhaps you are writing a feature about young people and social media.

You want to have a picture of a trendy teen using an app and having fun, but the reality is, you’re pushing 35, have no fashion sense and hate having your picture taken. Grab a younger, trendier colleague and, with their permission, create the perfect image!

Location Inspiration

An image doesn’t always have to be perfectly staged and set up to create powerful associations for an audience. Sometimes, it is the simplest of connections that helps them identify with your writing.

An image associated with a location or landscape is an easy picture to take. Here are just a few examples:

  • Parks
  • Beach
  • Garden
  • Office
  • Doorways
  •  Carnival
  • Kitchen

We all see these places regularly in our daily lives and , as long as your happy to use image of your own home, you can get easy access to lots of great pictures.

TIP: When taking photos outdoors, ensure you don’t get anyone’s face in them. Try and take photos without people in so no one has reason to object to your photo

Example 3:

In order to save yourself time, try and take pictures when you’re out and about and not just when you need them. Once you start taking pictures on your travels, you’ll soon build up a fantastic bank of imagery that you can dive into anytime.

Lassi, Kefalonia

Here’s a picture I took – great for any travel or holiday piece I may end up writing

Hopefully, from reading this article, you will realise that anyone can create some amazing images for your content, without ever having to pick up a pencil!

Got any other suggestions not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below.