Apr 18, 2014

Beginner Blogger Tips: Utilizing Images


Once you have figured out what you want to write about, it's really good to have at least one image incorporated into your blog post. Some of us are visual readers and often, we aren't drawn into an article until we see a graphic or photograph that draws appeals to us.

I hate it say it though, a lot of us judge books by the cover so it's important how to incorporate good images, graphics or photography into your blog posts.

When I first started blogging, I was intimidated by every one's images and graphics. I thought for sure in order to be a good blogger, you had a be a professional photographer! I later found out that that is so not the case.

Yes, it helps to have an amazing camera but you can do some pretty awesome things with just your iPhone camera! As I mentioned earlier, I found out it's not a matter of taking professional pictures. It's a matter of presenting your images and graphics in the right, relevant way.

I have put together some basic tips to keep in mind when creating and sharing images in your blog posts.

Keep in mind, I am not a photographer and I have a lot to learn when it comes to photography, taking pictures and operating a camera. I have learned these few tips and tricks to make my images better along the way!



Basic Tips for Blog Images

1. Less is more.
I've learned this the hard way. Why create more work for ourselves? Good pictures take a lot of time and energy especially if we have to edit and watermark them. I think different angles of an image is good, yes. I also think showing as many visuals as we can is good; but when it comes down to it, it's all about what we have to say. There are a lot of skim readers out there including myself, and when there are less images, they are forced to read.

2. Crop. Crop. Crop.
Crop out ANYTHING distracting. You want each photo to have a meaning and a purpose. You want your reader to focus on something specific. If you're displaying a picture of your kid on the swing set, we want to see your kid's reaction and the swing set. Everything else around is irrelevant and distracts us from the true meaning of the picture. It's a very simple, easy way to get your point across a little easier and draw more focus. Now, some people may like a more open composition. It all just depends on your taste and what message you're trying to deliver.

Examples:


3. Keep edits and filters cohesive.
If you choose to edit your photos, use the same editing techniques so all your pictures in the post flow together nicely. I don't like seeing black and white pictures framed with colored pictures in real life. The same applies for blogs and magazines.

3. Use larger size settings.
I personally think it looks nicer when you're scrolling through a blog and the photographs are proportional to the paragraphs. Smaller, thumbnail like images really break up your posts and leave way too much white space. An example of this is one of my beginning posts here. I didn't know any better! It was one of my first posts as a blogger.

4. Use simple watermarks.
When I first made the decision to watermark my photos so a) People couldn't steal my content and b) If my posts were shared, they would be given the right recognition, I had a really bad, distracting graphic.

Bad Example:



Yeah, it's a cool graphic but it really destroys the photo.

What I like to do now is just the name of the blog in my "signature" font with opacity down to 50%. People can still see the watermark, but it doesn't take away from the image as much. Is it necessarily the right way? I am not certain. It's just my preference on how I like to do things.

Better Example:


Once in a while, if it's a really neat shot and I really don't want my photo stolen, I throw a rectangle with a low opacity under my blog title.

Example: 



5. Use editing software.
There are so many out there but my all time favorite photo editing software is Pic Monkey. It's FREE and you can use it on any computer from a browser. It's very basic and it's beginner friendly. There are times when I just don't feel like getting into Photoshop or Lightroom to edit photos or add a watermark. I find Pic Monkey just much easier to use. There are all kinds of tutorials out there for utilizing Pic Monkey as a tool to grow and improve your blog!

Some basic things you can do in Pic Monkey:

  • Add text and graphics
  • Crop and Re size
  • Fix contrast, exposure, etc.
  • Create graphics
  • Add filters
  • Build Collages
If you make the extra effort to edit your pictures before you post, you will gain more readers and keep them. It does take extra time, but it's part of it. It will be worth your time. 

6. Give credit where credit is due.
I personally try to take all my pictures but once in a while, you're going to have that inevitable situation where you need to find another resource. There are several ways to credit your images. The easiest is by asking permission and linking back to the original image's resource. 

You can also buy various stock photos from stock websites. Once you purchase the photo, it's yours but make sure you double check their disclosure policy and make sure you don't have to give a credit. If you're using a free photo from a stock service, again, check the disclosure policy on how they'd like you to credit their work.

7. Be creative.
You may have something really awesome to write about or a story you just can't resist sharing but no images or pictures to go along with it. Don't let the lack of an image stop you from writing a certain post! Maybe you're sharing a life lesson or something that was a huge blessing to you that day. Imagine telling that story to a friend. Would it be over coffee? Use a picture of a coffee mug as your image. A coffee mug is sort of my go to image when I am just sharing a fun story. I use to have Saturday Morning Coffee with Kelly series but that fell by the wayside as I wanted to share stories other than just Saturdays. 

Another example: I shared a really random story about running away maybe a month back. I didn't have an image from my adventure but in my story, I talked about driving the country side, so, I used an image of the countryside as my header shot!

8. Develop a style and don't compare your style with others.
We are all unique and we all see things differently. That really shines in the pictures we take. The best part about having a blog is sharing your style. You can do that through your writing and your images. I know of some bloggers who just have beautiful images with soft tones and the same color schemes. Every. Single. Time. Every. Single. Picture. Kate at The Small Things Blog is a good example of that. That's her style, though! You can see the same style shine in the way she decorates and the way she dresses, too; not just her photographs!

9. Make and use graphics!
What is a graphic? A graphic is visual piece of art or lettering. I make a lot of my graphics in Pic Monkey. Sometimes I use Photoshop or Illustrator if I am feeling ambitious. They're a great tool to utilize in your posts beyond pictures.

Example:


10. Position wisely. 
Position your graphics or images according to the voice of your post. If you want to give a little preview of what you're going to talk about, keep your cropped, focused images up top and save your full on shots for towards the bottom.

When you create a graphic with the title of the post, you can place it after the introduction so it doesn't seem to repeat your defaulted linked post tittle. I like to do this so I have an image I can pin to Pinterest from my website. 

Also, when placing images into a post, always use a space between the image and any text. Your posts will look more clean and professional this way!

Bad Example:

Today I am sharing my favorite recipe with you all! It is going to be super delicious. It will seriously be the best thing you ever ate in your life and you'll want to eat it every single day!
Ooooooh, doesn't this look so delicious? I can't just taste the cheesy, beefy goodness right now! Wow, I am really just drooling over here.

Good example:

Have you guys ever had Hamburger Helper before? Who hasn't? Well, I love it but I would rather make it without all the sodium and preservatives in it, if I can! I created my own recipe for just that reason.


I call it the hamburger helper hack and I can't wait until you try it! Hopefully you will. You better! You will be missing out if you don't..... 

I just love how clean and fresh the second, "good" example looks! 

Whatever position, sizing and layout you decide to go with, make sure to keep it cohesive throughout your posts! It's okay if you're beginning posts don't utilize all these ideas. Mine sure don't! That's how we learn.

Remember to have fun with your images and photography! You'll only get better with time and practice. :)

3 comments:

  1. Great tips!! Love the idea for this series!! I can't wait to see more!

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  2. Great post! I personally HATE when people post tiny pics! Maybe it's because I have bad eyes to begin with but in my mind either do big pics we can see or just leave them out all together, I hate squinting at the screen trying to see what the picture is of!

    ReplyDelete
  3. These are such great beginner tips! I've been blogging since early 2000's, but I still love reading these refreshers. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete

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