Have you ever wondered where bloggers get all of those cool graphics? The ones with standout headlines and sharp pictures. How do they do that? Are they master photographers as well as bloggers? In this post, I am going to give you some quick tips and tricks to make your graphics look just like all of those amazing graphics.
The Perfect Picture
A good graphic starts with a great picture. Bright, sharp, and colorful pictures catch the eye and draw people to your posts. These can be photos you have taken yourself or free stock photos. Either way, there are ways to take a mediocre picture and turn it into an amazing graphic.
(If you need some help figuring out where to find free stock pictures check out this post)
Check out these two images. The one on the left is the original stock photo downloaded from Pixabay. The one on the right is my cleaned up, squared up version. This one is all ready to be used as a Facebook or LinkedIn image.
Here is another example:
The image on the left is the original image from Pixabay and the image on the right is a Pinterest image made from the same file. The point is, even if an image is not perfect, you can make it perfect for your purpose.
Cleaning Up Your Pictures
I was using Picmonkey to do many of my images, but now that they are charging a fee, I have switched to Gimp and Canva to do most of my images. No matter what program you are using there are a few tricks that will improve any picture.
- Crank up the brightness. Bright clean pictures draw the eye.
- Make the shadows darker. After you turn up the brightness, making the shadows darker will help the picture pop off the page.
- Amp up the color. Color is eye-catching and makes a blah photo look awesome.
Once you have the image cleaned up you can go on to the next step.
Cropping Your Pictures
I prefer to clean up and crop my pictures before dropping them into Canva to add any text or overlays I want in the graphic. To do this, you need to know the shape of the image you are going for. As a general rule, there are three different sizes you will need for blogging.
- Header image. Used for feature images in some themes or just a header image in your post. A header image should be 800 x 200 or width x .25.
- Square image. Used for Facebook and LinkedIn, a square image is a good standard image to put in all your posts. Image size should be 500 x 500.
- Pinterest image. Used for well, Pinterest. Pinterest images should be 800 x 1200 or .66 x height.
If you are using Gimp to edit your pictures, you will need to go to export picture and then save it as a jpeg file.
Adding Text and Overlays
Once you have edited the image to your liking, it’s time to add text and overlays. You can do this in Gimp, but so far I found it a bit confusing. Uploading the image to Canva and adding text and overlays works better for me. If you master Gimp, feel free to leave your tips in the comments (I can use them!)
To get started, go to Canva and choose the type of image you want to make. For this tutorial, I am going to make a Pinterest image.
After you have chosen your image type, click the uploads tab on the bottom left side of the screen.
Once you have uploaded the image, click on it to make it appear in the white space on the right. This is where you will build your new image. The image may need to be stretched or shrunk slightly to fit the image. Grab the corners and stretch it to fit. Make sure no white space is showing.
Next, click on the text tab in the left side menu and choose ‘add heading’. A box with the words ‘add heading’ will pop up in the middle of your image, erase the text and add your own text. You then have the ability to change the font, adjust the color, make the text bold and resize the text.
If you want to use two different font types you will have to add a heading for each different type of text you want to use. Once you have the text, you can add an overlay behind it to make the text stand out.
Click the shapes button and choose the style of overlay you would like to use. You can then click arrange in the top righthand corner to send the overlay back behind the text (click multiple times for multiple text blocks). Then you can use the checkerboard to give the image a bit of transparency so your awesome image shines through a little bit without distracting from your wording. In the top right you can change the color of your overlay.
Once you have it all perfect, click download and you are good to go!