At Voice.club, we highly value the images that accompany your stories.  When two stories are equally good, the story with the more impressive image will often take precedence in our selection process.

Many of you choose your images from Unsplash.com, which is an excellent source of public domain images, copyright-free and easy to use.  Several of you take your own photographs.  Some of you create original art work.  All these are excellent sources of the best possible images. 

How do you choose your images for your stories?  How important is the image in the presentation of your story?  What ideas can you share about determining the “perfect image”?  What have been some of your favorite images in the Voice.club stories?

We look forward to a lively discussion on this topic!

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
3 months ago

I love that we have to choose an image for our stories on this site. It’s good practice for when you are looking for or designing the cover art for book covers. I have to say, I spend hours sometimes looking for the perfect image. Sometimes I need to play around and manipulate the image or combine 2 together, like with the picture I used for my ‘Springing the Witch’ story (https://voice.club/story/fiction/20825/2021-zengarden-01-springing-the-witch) or ‘The Last Dragon Slayer’ (https://voice.club/story/fiction/21943/the-last-dragon-slayer). I had fun with those ones. I took a photograph of the hubbies dinner for my ‘Revulsion Revolution’ story (https://voice.club/story/fiction/22292/2021-micro-02-revulsion-revolution) because I couldn’t find a ready made one of nicely cooked greens. I like to use my own pictures where possible, but when it isn’t, like with a close up of an eagle for Liberation (https://voice.club/story/fiction/15704/2021-flash-01-liberation), then I have to turn to sites like Unsplash. I’ve done the cover design for the three short stories that I already have on Amazon, and have a folder with another eight covers that I’ve designed ready for my other works in progress. I find it motivates me if I have something to aim for. There is one thing that is worrying me about using Unsplash… Read more »

Eduardo Olivares
Eduardo Olivares (@eduardo-olivares)
3 months ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

Carrie: I shall re-read your concepts and commentaries on this amazing topic: meanwhile I thank you for all of your peculiar optics and fine recommendations. Let us keep it gorgeous and easy because the eye deserves it !!!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
3 months ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

I can now answer my own question after looking into the licensing regulations on Unsplash. Even though the images are generally free to use, there are different regulations for usage in books, or for book covers, if the person in the image is clearly identifiable. In that case, you need to get additional permission from the person / people in the photograph before using them for that purpose. Hope that helps other people too.

Julie Harris
Julie Harris (@julie-harris)
3 months ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

Carrie, what software do you use to combine images together? I remember seeing a picture you created that was a younger you overlaying an older you. I thought it was quite brilliant. Which story was that?

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
3 months ago
Reply to  Julie Harris

Hi Julie, thank you. That was my ‘Not Old, but Experienced’ story (https://voice.club/story/fiction/20677/2021-micro-02-not-old-but-experienced). I use an app on my iPad now called Bazaart which is really simple to use but still gives some really good results. I think I also used another app called Waterlilli on that photo, but I’ve been unable to use it since the last iOS update, which is very frustrating!

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Julie Harris
Julie Harris (@julie-harris)
3 months ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

Thanks for the information. I don’t have Apple computers, so I guess Bazaart is out of my realm. I’ll have to do research on other software packages. I really love what you do with the mixing. It would be impossible to find pictures as perfect as yours without some artistic manipulation!

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
3 months ago

I use Unsplash for my images but do find it a bit hit and miss. Sometimes the image takes less than minutes to find, others I seem to spend almost as much time searching for as I do on my story! And other times, it’s a compromise as the perfect image is just not available. That said, I’ve always felt the image is just as important as the story and well worth the effort. Which is why I was so pleased when voice-club and Julie both gave the image for my ‘Animation’ story a mention in their comments. Looking forward to seeing the titles and the images for the new ‘Mystery’ prompt but as the theme is ‘mystery’ maybe they should be left blank!  ? . Good luck everyone!

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
3 months ago

Half the time I use my own, half Unsplash. Usually my own are existing ones in my archive, but I have been known to go out and photograph a gate down the road to fit my story. In one instance, I changed the story to fit the best photo I could find on Unsplash.

Eduardo Olivares
Eduardo Olivares (@eduardo-olivares)
3 months ago

One of my choices is 1+ Million Royalty Free Images · Pexels , there you can find plenty of image options. Hope you can sink your teeth into it.  ?  Having saying that, I want to compare the whole process of image selection to what one does during the icing of a well seasoned cake: not too much, not too little, just the right amount of powerful visual message.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
3 months ago

Thank you Eduardo for identifying another selection of free images. I’ve just found the perfect one for my ‘mystery’ story.

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Eduardo Olivares
Eduardo Olivares (@eduardo-olivares)
3 months ago
Reply to  Linda Rock

Wonderful. I am ready to read you !!!

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
3 months ago

Thank you, Eduardo! I just had a look at some of the photos and it’s great to have another avenue to find the perfect image if I can’t take a photo myself. I noticed several that would fit my mystery story 🙂

Julie Harris
Julie Harris (@julie-harris)
3 months ago

I’ll add my thanks to everyone else’s. I just went to the Pexels site and found the perfect picture for one of my new stories! You’re the man of the hour, Eduardo.

Eduardo Olivares
Eduardo Olivares (@eduardo-olivares)
3 months ago
Reply to  Julie Harris

Oh Julie. I feel so grateful for this community and for the soft scent of your friendship. So let us keep helping each other! ?

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
3 months ago

My thanks too Eduardo, I managed to find the perfect, out of the ordinary, image immediately on Pexels when Unsplash let me down for one of my new stories ?

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
3 months ago

Thank you for sharing with us another option for the selection of the best images, Eduardo. I visit the site now, and I found many beautiful photos to use. It is a big help for me.

Last edited 3 months ago by Lotchie Carmelo
Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
3 months ago

Several times I’ve had my story ready to go, then realised I haven’t got a good photo to go with it! Some have been my own, the rest from Unsplash. I have written my first story for the new Mystery competition and hoping I get the chance to take the photo I want for it. Having my own photo will make it more special.
I had fun with the photo for my story Laughter and Lamingtons (HOME theme) and baked and iced my own lamingtons for the photo rather than buy them or find an internet photo. They turned out well and my family certainly didn’t mind having to eat them afterwards 🙂
Despite a few moments of panic when I couldn’t find what I wanted, I really enjoy choosing an image to suit my stories 🙂

Julie Harris
Julie Harris (@julie-harris)
3 months ago
Reply to  Sandra James

How amazing was that Sandra, to actually bake Lamingtons for your story and then serve them to your family! I just read your story and loved it. Without the picture, I wouldn’t have known a Lamington from a Lambs Ear!

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
3 months ago
Reply to  Julie Harris

Thanks, Julie. Lambs Ear – now that’s another wonderful memory for me. My Mum used to grow them when I was young and my late brother and I used to stroke them and pretend they were real lambs 🙂 I have some growing in my garden, too, and hoping the heavy frosts we get in winter don’t do too much damage. I think I will have to set a mystery story around another cake or biscuit – my family will love it 🙂

Julie Harris
Julie Harris (@julie-harris)
3 months ago

I have to say I love the fact that we are required to send an image along with our stories. I sometimes read through some of the shortlisted stories on other sites and, first of all, they all seem too long (!) but secondly, they seem bland without an image. The shortlist pages for Voice Club contests look like works of art, with all the imaginative colors and shapes. I get excited when a story of mine makes the shortlist, to see how it looks among the other masterpieces!

I usually use Unsplash to look for my pictures, but as someone said, it can often take longer to find the right picture than to create the story! It’s all worth it, though, when it comes together into a perfect package. I’ll have to try the new site that Eduardo mentioned – Linda seems to have had great luck there!

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Eduardo Olivares
Eduardo Olivares (@eduardo-olivares)
3 months ago
Reply to  Julie Harris

Do it in a happily fashion ☺️?✋? great pics for them all !!!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
3 months ago

Am I the only one to browse photos on Google? I have found nice photos there several times. Of course, a lot of them have water stamps that show that they are copyrighted, but not always. Unsplash is also useful, as often are photos we can find in our own libraries. I’ll try Pexels next time too as suggested by Eduardo.
The challenge, I have found, is often to type in the right words for the search engine to help me. It often takes time and inventive thinking and I have to have a lot of patience, just like I need patience to stay with the story until it seems to work.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
3 months ago

Just be careful when selecting an image by browsing Google, Christer. Just because it isn’t watermarked does not necessarily mean that you are free to use it without the permission of the person who owns the image. The watermark is put on to make them more difficult to use, but ones without a watermark are not free to use unless they specifically say so. As I found out recently, even with the photographs on these sites where you can use photographs licence free, there are limitations with photographs that have people in them who are clearly identifiable; just a heads up there ?

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
3 months ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

Thanks for the advice, Carrie. I guess that makes Google practically impossible to use. I should have known that.

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
3 months ago

No, no, Christer, Google is a wonderful, legal resource for pictures! I’ve been using Google images for years, by limiting my search to those Google images that have a Creative Commons license. Here are instructions on how to do that: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/29508?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en&oco=0

When I do a Search for “all”, and then narrow it down to those with “Creative Commons license” sometimes there is very little difference. I found my Isabel picture this way. I downloaded a full picture of the Isabel painting, then used SnagIt to crop it down to just her face. I’ve found some other marvelous pictures this way, some of which I’m saving for the perfect moment!

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
3 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

Wow, Fuji! Ever so helpful! This is what I needed to know since I don’t have an clue about such things. Your Isabel picture is, just like that Goya/Ronda-story, wonderful. I returned to it mostly to look at Isabel again, but also to read your story once more. Thanks again!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
3 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

Thank you for sharing the instruction, Fuji. It is very helpful.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
3 months ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

Oh, thank you for this cautious information, Carrie. I mostly used to copy and paste pictures from google. 

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
3 months ago

Thank you everyone for sharing information and ideas on the sources of your photo selection for your story. I am glad to know about unsplash and 1+ Million Royalty Free Images · Pexels. I hope I can use this one day when I am ready to submit my stories. Stories with photos are the best way to tell your story visually. The photo serves as the lead or the opening shot of the whole story, it can convey an emotion or express the mood of the story. So for me, photos are very essential for every story.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
3 months ago

I also love that we are able to choose an image for our stories. This is just my opinion, of course, but I believe the perfect image is one we take ourselves! Every story I have written has been based on a photo I have captured during my daily goings-on. It allows you to be creative, and beauty is something that isn’t defined in one particular way. With each new set of eyes you’ll end up with a new, interesting view. And to me that is perfect.

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Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
3 months ago

Your pictures are indeed perfect, Melissa! I always enjoy them.

However, I don’t have a camera, and in fact, don’t even have a cell phone, so using my own pictures is not an option. I usually search Unsplash, and then the Google Creative Commons. Recently I tried Eduardo’s suggestion of the Pexel website and found all those to be great resources.

Stories without pictures are like a day without sunshine!

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
3 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

I didn’t even take this into consideration. Of course not everyone would have a camera. Sorry if I caused any offence, Fuji. I have never heard of “Unsplash,” I’ll have to check it out!

I also agree with you. Pictures and stories go hand in hand. ❤️

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
3 months ago

Oh, Melissa, you did not cause any offence at all. Quite the opposite – your comments, as always, are an inspiration and a source of joy! Photos taken by the author are indeed a rare and beautiful art form and it’s a thrill to have them on our site!

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
3 months ago
Reply to  Fuji

Fuji, thank you for your kind words! ?

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