Look around. The online world is full of interesting and beautiful images, and it’s no accident. The bloggers that do it well spend time tweaking their images to look exactly how they want them to. Maybe you don’t think you have the skills, or the resources to edit your images before they hit your blog. Well, I’m here to tell you that you do. A few edits can take an image from good to great and help you avoid the bad and the ugly. Here are some simple tips to guide you in the right direction.
If your image seems pretty flat or colourless, you should pump up the brightness and contrast – just make sure you use this in moderation. The goal should be to make it look natural and alive, not like someone has been hit with extreme sunlight.
Cropping your image might help give focus to a specific area, or make for a more harmonic composition. There are certain things you should keep in mind when doing this. The Rule of Thirds is a commonly known photographic tool. You draw two horizontal and two vertical lines, dividing the image up in nine squares – if you put the main subject of the image in the spot where two lines intersect, you will achieve the optimal harmony and balance. Also, please don’t cut off any people’s heads, this isn’t Game of Thrones.
Resizing your images before using them may help you achieve the correct size, but there’s one thing you should keep in mind – never upscale your images. If you’re resizing to make them smaller, go for it – but if you try to upscale an already small image, you will lose quality by making it larger.
Don’t stretch your images
If you’re resizing your image within the blog post editor, remember to always hold down the shift-button to avoid the image being stretched out vertically or horizontally.
Note: If you can’t afford to purchase a license from Adobe Photoshop, there are free alternatives you can use (e.g. Gimp).
Watch out for large images
A common mistake a lot of people do, is copying images straight from their camera and putting them onto their blog without resizing them first. Some content management systems don’t resize the images when you upload them – they only shrink them to look the right size on the page. This means that the whole original file is being loaded when you go to the website, and not just the little square of a photo that you’re looking at. If you have a lot of photos like these on a website, it will slow down the load time for some people. They might even leave the site early because they can’t bother waiting for everything to load, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?
Use consistent image sizes
Try to be consistent with your sizes. If you’re using images that fill out the full width of the blog posts, then stick to that throughout the posts. You can often change the size of your images through an image editor in your CMS – WordPress has this built in, which means you don’t have to be dependant on any programs in order to get the sizes you want.
Don’t steal other people’s photos
Would you steal someone else’s computer? Hopefully not. Then why should it be OK to steal someone elses photos that they’ve worked hard for? Imagery has licensing, and taking other people’s photos and using it without permission is actually a breach of the law.
If you find a cool photo online that you want to use, try to track down where it originated from. If you’re able to track down the photographer, send them a polite email where you ask for permission to use the photo – maybe even offer to pay an attribution in exchange for the rights to use it. If the photo can be found on a stock website, you can purchase it in a few simple steps.
If you’re not willing to pay for photos, you’re left with two options: capture your own, or acquire something with a free license. This is a good collection of websites that offer you free stock photos that you practically can use for anything – just remember to double check the licensing.
Don’t let other people steal your photos
If you find someone has nicked an image you have worked hard to create, keep it cool. You can use this as a link building opportunity. Send the webmaster, editor or author a friendly email and tell them that if they would like to use your image they will need to provide a link back to your blog to give you appropriate credit. Be clear that if they don’t, they will need to use a different image.
Stand out bloggers
Here’s a list of our top 5 favourite bloggers who stand out when it comes to images: