“Thrifting” Your Photos

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Friends of ACFW, tips, writing 1 Comment

By Mesu Andrews

My daughters are so fun and silly. When we got together last fall, they took me thrifting with them, and—WOW! They’re really good at it! Goodwill, yard sales, and antique shops are their gold mines with unclaimed treasures waiting to be harvested.

I’ve been looking at my bajillion photos the same way. Sure, the pic I took of Aunt Lulu’s broken toe may never see a blog post (you’re welcome), but other seemingly mundane pics could be hidden marketing treasure if I learn to think outside the box.

Inspiration From the Past

We know kids and pets get the most comments. I would caption this one of my grandson, Asher: “Stole Mom’s copy of Isaiah’s Daughter. Shhh, don’t tell. I’m skipping to the part with the soldiers!” I’ll bet you have similar photos you could use to tug at readers’ interest in your writing!

First, decide how you want to use your photos for marketing. Blog post, social media, newsletter? After deciding how you want to use your photos, choose a theme (forgiveness, romance, storms in life, etc.), and take a stroll through your photos with an imagination to match your theme.

Inspiration For the Future

While preparing for our recent tour in Israel, I gave my assistant a list of general photos to take during the trip:

  • Birds
  • Landscapes
  • Animals
  • Flowers
  • People
  • Doors

Why doors? Because in my newest release, Isaiah’s Legacy, faithful Yahweh followers hid behind closed doors in Jerusalem when they were threatened with death by wicked King Manasseh.

Do you see how today’s doors of Jerusalem can translate into the ancient past on the wings of emotion? Fear of death is universal. Hiding, isolation (Hello, COVID-19!), and the safety of a locked door can speak to people right now regardless of race, religion, age, or gender.

Choose Pictures That Appeal

Though I would love to have authentic pics of my Old Testament time periods, stones and diagrams are the only visual evidence of the biblical novels I write.

Let’s face it, only a few of us geeks care about stones and diagrams.

So choose photos that appeal to the eye, the heart, and the imagination; then tie your theme to the picture and let it capture your reader’s emotions.

Sharing, Sorting, Filing

Let me confess up front: This is a “do as I say, not as I do” section. I’m terrible at categorizing my pics and graphics! However, I have learned a trick or two to share.

  • If you use your photo in a blog, newsletter, or social media, put a copy of it in a separate folder (Dropbox, Google Photos, etc.) to keep track of what’s been used.
  • Be sure to get permission from family members in the picture before sharing! And ask family members if they have great photos you could use for specific themes.
  • If you want to get really organized and put pics into albums, you might consider doing albums by date, family groups, or the general topics I listed above (people, landscapes, animals, etc.).

Before you shop on the free picture websites—or *gasp* pay for a pic download—take a stroll through the bajillion photos in your family’s arsenal. Photo thrifting can be a valuable use of your time!

Before you shop on the free picture websites—or *gasp* pay for a pic download—take a stroll through the bajillion photos in your family’s arsenal. @MesuAndrews #ACFWBlogs #writetips #blogtips Click To Tweet

Mesu Andrews is the Christy Award-winning, best-selling author of Isaiah’s Daughter, and has received numerous accolades for her newest release, Isaiah’s Legacy. Through her deep understanding of and love for God’s Word, the biblical world comes alive for readers. Mesu lives with her family in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.


Comments 1

  1. There are few pictures from our past,
    and in a way that seems a crime,
    but life was always such a gas
    that we never took the time
    to stop and set the focused frame,
    hold the pose, say, “Cheese!”
    for to stop would be to drain
    the moment of its fresh-born breeze
    that aminates spontaneous,
    gives wings to inspiration,
    and banishes extraneous
    doubtful hesitation.
    But I figure, God looked on,
    and then picked up His F2 Nikon.

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