December 2, 2015

4 Tips for better blog post images

tips for better blog post images

Photography has never been my forte. It's an area that needs exploring and a subject that I would like to dive into more myself. To be able to make beautiful family pictures, but also to create good quality blog post images. Because when you are a blogger, photography should be on your agenda, whether that is in the form of shooting your own images or using high quality stock photos.

I am going to use today's post for sharing some tips on how to display your blog post images in a better way. And maybe you are already implementing all the tips, then this post is not for you. But I know there are still a ton of bloggers out there struggling with this subject. And that's a shame, because badly displayed blog post images can cost you readers.

Since I'm not that great of a photographer myself, I am not going to tell you how to take your pictures or which camera to use. But after an image is taken you can do several things to display it in a stylish way on your blog. So let's begin!

1 - QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

When taking a peak at a bunch of blogs you will notice that some bloggers will use only one or a couple of images per post, while others throw in a dozen of pictures in each post. More is not always better though. Your readers want quality. They would rather drewl over one great quality image than scroll through 10 badly lightened or blurry images.

Especially in the food blog world, taking a lot of pictures for one post is often a must, especially when you want to show your readers the process of making the recipe. But if, after the recipe shoot, you end up with 15 images and only two of them are actually great, then please use only those two and leave the rest out!

Below you'll see two examples of recipe post images. Well, which one is more appetizing? Not such a difficult choice right?

tips for better blog post images

The one on the left (from Oh She Glows) looks much more yummy and appealing than the one on the right. The lighting and focus is so much better. And while the quality of the image says nothing about the taste of the recipe, people will stick around longer on the blog with the soup image than the blog with the cake image. So if you are not that into photography yet, put your energy in creating one great image instead of creating a dozen not so great images.

2 - SIZE MATTERS

Yep, it does. Size really matters. Most people will prefer a larger, well visible image over a tiny image that looks almost lost between the text of the blog post.

Take a look at the image below that shows post images from two blogs. 

tips for better blog post images

The image on the left side is from a fashion blog (Un-Fancy) that uses the full width of the blog post area to display the images. The blogger also puts the images close together and creates a very clean and professional look this way.

The image on the right however is unfortunately not the best. Not only is the quality not so great, but the blogger uses different image sizes, so the pictures are not spreading over the full width, which creates a messier look. But on top of that there is a very distracting orange border around the images which takes the focus away from the image and puts it on the borders.

How to create a full-width image

Spreading out your images over the full width of the blog post area is called a 'justified alignment'. The first thing you need to make sure is that the images that you want to upload to your post area are at least the size of the blog post area. So if your post area is 700 pixels wide, the image needs to be at least 700 pixels wide or larger to fill up the full width. You can often enlarge smaller images to the full size, but this can result in a blurry look.

If you don't know the exact width of your blog post area, then try to contact the designer of your template and ask him/her about the width or use images of at least 800 pixels wide. There are not that many blog templates with a wider post area (be aware of one-column blog templates though), so with an image of 800 pixels wide you are mostly in the safe zone.

Then find out how to upload the image and spread it out over the full width (justified alignment). For Blogger this is usually done by uploading the image to the post, clicking on it with the right mouse button and selecting the 'original size' option. In most cases this will spread out the image over the full width. See image below.

tips for better blog post images

If you are struggling with finding out how you can display your images over the full width and with little space in between them, you might want to contact the designer of your blog template, or try to learn more about the blog platform you are using. Wordpress blogs work a little different than Blogger blogs, so get yourself educated!

3 - DON'T GO OVERBOARD WITH WATERMARKS

While adding a little watermark to your blog post images can look really professional and give you the opportunity to spread your blog name when your images are shared on social media, you need to use them the right way.

In the image below you see that the picture on the left has a small, clean and simple watermark in the right bottom corner. It let's people know in a stylish way where the picture came from. The image on the right side however has a watermark covering a big part of the image, and while this is done by many photographers when they show off images to their clients, this is not such a good idea for blog post images.

tips for better blog post images

Readers want to indulge visually on blogs, and having such a big watermark on each image will definitely interfere with that experience and can even cause your blog to look messy and crowded.

If you aren't using a watermark yet, but want to find out more about it, then check out the post I wrote on how to add your own watermark to images.

4 - USE STOCK IMAGES & STYLED PHOTOGRAPHY

And why not use someone else's pictures for some of your posts? Since my blog is about a topic (blog design and blog & business tips) that doesn't require me to make my own photos, I heavily rely on free stock photography and styled photography.

Stock and styled photographs are great quality images produced for the purpose of helping out people like me, aka people that struggle with photography ;-) There are a lot of websites that share free stock images for bloggers. You can use the images without having to credit the photographer. A list of these sites can be found over here.

tips for better blog post images
Free stock photography from Unsplash

Styled photography is another option. Although this is a little harder to find for free, you might want to think about investing a little money in buying some beautiful images.

tips for better blog post images
Styled Photography by Shay Cochrane

Styled photography is often used for product mockups. With these images and a little knowledge on image editing you can add your own products or text to the images. You can find styled photography/mockup photography on sites like:

- Etsy

CONCLUSION

When it comes to blog post photography keep it clear, clean and simple. Let the photos speak for themselves and don't hesitate to use other peoples images in the form of stock photography or styled photography if you are struggling with photography yourself!


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