Boost your blog with original photos: The SAGE Advisory example

Visual appeal is part of what draws readers to your blog posts. Photos can make your blog stand out, especially when you go beyond stock photography. Sheri Iannetta Cupo of SAGE Advisory Group works with a photographer to locate and create photos tailored to individual blog posts. This seems unusual for a three-advisor firm, so I interviewed Cupo by email to learn more about how she works on the SAGE blog with Wendy Vissar, a former photojournalist who holds a MFA in electronic art.

Why work with a photographer?

Some blogs don’t bother with images, but Cupo knew that wasn’t for her. “I am a visual person, very drawn to images when I read, so I wanted images for my blog postings,” she said.

Cupo wanted images that would stand out from the stock photos that pop up everywhere. “I generally dislike stock photos (here is the happy gorgeous family eating at home, here is the happy gorgeous family having fun together…) so I wanted custom images.”

How the process works

The path to image creation for the SAGE blog starts several weeks prior to publication, when the draft blog post is uploaded to Dropbox, a file sharing service. This is the cue for Vissar to create one to three images based on the post, and then upload them to Dropbox. Vissar says, “I would call what I do photo illustration. I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop, probably since it came out.” If someone wants an image she can’t shoot, she’ll take a stock photo and customize it.

The next step is for Cupo, Vissar, and editorial consultant Wendy Cook to vote for the best image. “We generally all agree on which we like best,” says Cupo.  “Wendy gets SAGE so well I have never had to ask her to go back and try again.”

Benefits of working with a photographer

As Cupo sees it, “Wendy Vissar’s images do an awesome job complementing our words and perhaps draw attention to our blog that we may not otherwise get. A big added bonus is that she also creates and uploads the entire posting with image each week to WordPress.  That’s a big time saver for me.”

Finding a photographer

Cupo found Vissar almost literally in her own backyard. Vissar is her neighbor. In addition, “We have used Wendy before for SAGE website photos and for family photos so using Wendy was an easy decision.  She is the only photographer who has EVER captured my Dad smiling in a photo!”

If you don’t already know a photographer, try asking around and looking at their work. “They have to understand the vibe you are going for on your blog,” says Cupo. “They need to get ‘you’ so that their images complement your work and your company.  Otherwise you spend money for images you won’t use.”

If you like what you see of Vissar’s work, you can contact her at