Don’t you love this? I found it on Big Stock Photos. I find most of the images I use on either Big Stock or iStock, but there are so many sites out there–Flickr, MorgueFile, Photobucket. Probably more. Sometimes all you have to do is credit the photographer or designer; other times, you can buy the photo and use it almost any way you want to. Best to read the terms, though. Long time ago, someone contacted me about using his photo without his permission, so I learned the lesson the hard way. It’s also best to use these services instead of using what you find on the internet. Sometimes you can get into big-time trouble using these images without permission, particularly if they’re copyrighted.
My favorite image sites are Big Stock and iStock, so I’ve bought credits with each of them. A package of 25 credits at Big Stock costs $49.00 ($1.96 each), and since most of the images I buy are only 1 credit, that basically gets me 25 images. iStock sells a package of 30 credits for $54.90 ($1.83 each), but since I rarely find an image for under two credits, that only gives me 15 images. I like the search function on iStock better, but I use both of them.
Wherever I buy or obtain my images, my next step is usually to Photobucket because their editing tools are simple enough even I can figure them out. That’s saying a lot, I promise you. Photobucket is perfect if I’m working with a single image, but if I want to make a collage from several images, I head over to the photo editor at picmonkey. Using their simplest functions (because I haven’t learned everything else yet), I made this collage:
This is the simplest construction of a Facebook banner, because they have a collage style called “Facebook.” Can you beat that?! But basically, picmonkey is a bit more technical than I can handle right now, so I use it only for the simplest of collages.
For single images I prefer Photobucket.
You can upload images into Photobucket, and they’ll be stored into your library. Go to the library, hover over the picture you want to work on, and a tool icon will show on the top right corner. Poke that, and poke “edit” in the drop-down menu–or just poke the picture, and when the page loads, poke “edit” on the menu over it.
From there, all sorts of options are available–crop, resize, add a “sticker,”frame it, enhance it, add special effects. For my current ad, I used “Text” primarily. A text bubble appears that says “enter text here” and can be repositioned anywhere you want it to go on the picture. After you’ve typed in your text, you can size it using the text bubble to fit, and you can change the font and color. In the image above, I had three text places to fill, so I entered one, hit “apply,” then moved on to the next. You can’t change them once you hit “apply,” but you can always start over (which I hate, but it’s good to know I can).
Now, a few words about context. Since I have a catchy picture, I didn’t really bother with a catchy phrase. I settled for what (the giveaway title), when (tomorrow night, as a matter of fact! You coming?), and why (to celebrate the release of my new book, The Cat Lady’s Secret!).
I used the comment section on my sites to provide the link and holler something akin to “Y’all come!” but I still wanted a way for folks to notify me, so I included “DM me for details,” since most sites allow for direct messages.
Major caveat: PROOFREAD!
I’d be willing to bet no one will realize what my mistake was in the ad, but it’s evidence of my attempt to get this done and up before I’d finished my second cup of coffee. I should’ve waited until I was on my second pot.
What’s most annoying on Photobucket is the ads on the top and side. They move–and sometimes they mess with what you’re doing in your image. The best way to avoid that is to upgrade, and I intend to, eventually. Meantime, I try to keep a steady hand.
In other words, I have to balance precisely how much coffee I drink before going to work. Too little, and I make dumb mistakes. Too much, and my hand shakes. It’s a delicate business. Takes nerves of steel. Grit and determination. Or just the will and patience to try it out.
In case you didn’t notice from all the subtle hints,
Tomorrow’s the big day!
Come join me for the CAT IN A COFFEE CUP GIVEAWAY!
Want to know what’s up for grabs? Coffee cups!