#Advisorhack: Finding Not-So-Corny Finance Photos

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Images give your blog interest and personality. And let’s be honest, finance blogs don’t score very well on the Interesting Blog Scale. We humble finance bloggers need to step up our photo-game.

Can we all agree to never use stock photography?

Seriously. It’s awful. No road signs pointing to ambiguous destinations. No close-ups of handshakes. No large, arrow-laden graphics that look like they were ripped from a 1990’s flowchart. I’m warning you, even ironic use of these images can render your blog unreadable by the snap-judger.

This is a sucky photo.

Plus, there’s this: 60 Completely Unusable Stock Photos.¬†It’s pretty funny, have a look.

If there’s an obvious choice, take it.

Sometimes posts or post-title’s, specifically, have really obvious photo-choices. And most of the time you should probably just go with that photo. Like when you write a post about a famous Star Wars character, you should probably pull just that character’s photo for the post. Like this:

3 Tips To Help Liz Lemon Retire From 30 Rock

Funny and relevant? That’s a no-brainer.

If you can make a joke or reference pop culture in a way that’s both smart, funny, and somehow, even tangentially relevant, you best take that opportunity. Or if the image can be the punch line of a joke, or a joke in and of itself, then do that.

Permission To Experiment Fearlessly: Granted

A Word on Finding Kick-Ass Photos

Use Google image search, and get creative with your Googling. That’s really all you need to know. You don’t want to use that same stock photo that everyone else is using. If you’re writing a generic post about technology in financial services, experiment with some weird, slightly specific searches like, “woman frustrated by finance,” or “tech problems suck,” or “my iphone saved my life.” You never know what you might find…

Query: “my iphone saved my life”


This is a not-so-sucky photo.

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DJ is a freelance writer, hopeful photographer, and social media has-been. He writes to financial advisors about lifehacks, science, technology, business and marketing for Blueleaf, a software that helps create dramatically simpler, more scalable financial advisory businesses. You can find DJ across the web (about.me/djswitz) or you can just follow him on Twitter (@djswitz)!
  • Jim Beall April 19, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Are there any legal issues to using pictures found on Google Image Search?

  • DJ Switz April 19, 2012, 8:38 pm

    Well, that’s a good question with a complicated answer. The short answer is yes, technically. Every image ever is copyrighted. The thing is, so long as you’re not making any money off of your use of the image, there typically won’t be a problem. Also, if there were to be a problem, the most typical response would be a polite message asking you to take the image down.

    I’ve never had a problem with any image ever. Never been asked to take an image down, and I’ve written and supplied images for several businesses in different sectors (real estate, food vendors, etc.)

  • Jim Beall April 26, 2012, 7:27 pm