Myth #4: Any Old Picture Will Do
Although we discussed the importance of words last week, blogs rely heavily on pictures to tell stories, share steps in a tutorial or recipe, and say things that sometimes words just can't impart. Readers tend to scan for a picture or two before moving on.
If your blog is lacking in (good) pictures, how can you grab your readers' attention?
The hard truth is that sometimes the difference between a good blog post and a great one lies in the quality of pictures shared.
I am not a photography expert (looking back through my archives will prove that), but I have learned over the past few years of blogging that good photographs can only enhance a blog post that features good content.
Here are a few things to think about when planning your posts:
1. Size Matters (that's what she said)
Many of you know that I contribute to the Centsational Girl blog as a "talent scout" of sorts for Kate's weekly Best of the Blogosphere series. I can't tell you how many blogs I've had to click away from because the photos were so tiny that it was impossible for me to see the details of the project/room/craft/recipe that the blogger wanted to share.
Small pictures make your reader work too hard, and readers don't want to have to work to get the gist of your post!
Here's a little test. Which of these pictures works best?
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the largest photo works best because it lets the reader see not only what my girls are doing, but also the colors of the bedding and the neat IKEA lamps that I wrote the post about.
Please don't go through all the work of transforming your family room/bedroom/kitchen/bath only to cram all your work into teeny tiny photos. If you work in Blogger, the easiest way to resize your photos is to upload them to your post, click on each photo individually, and choose the size you want. (Note: Some blog templates will not allow for X-Large photos unless you have your template redesigned)
But what about my Blogger storage? Will using larger photos use up my storage?
Yes, you will go through your storage capacity using large photos, but Blogger (shockingly) made it very easy for me to add more. I spent just $5 for extra storage and was immediately able to get back to reloading photos to my post. $5 is small price to pay for large, clear pictures that do not make my readers squint or work at guessing what I'm sharing.
Bad lighting is another culprit in blog photos. If you want a real explanation of why using your flash on photos indoors doesn't really work, check out the resources at the end of this post.
Suffice it to say, flash photos just have a harsh, glaring look to them. It's easy to tell the difference once you've been reading blogs long enough.
I grabbed a little box of Bible verse cards on my kitchen counter to show you the difference.
No Flash (natural lighting):
Obviously, life doesn't just hold still and wait for good, natural lighting to arrive so we can snap the best shots. But you can control when you shoot photos of your latest project or recipe.
If you're serious about making your blog reader-friendly, scheduling a few minutes ahead of time to get some good pictures of your latest project can make a huge difference! Planning plays a big role in blogging.
4. Other factors to consider
Experiment with different angles before choosing the best photo for your post. It's fun to see how a picture can look completely different when shot from a few inches to the left or right!
I used the old poster board technique to shoot my Bible verse box...but look what happens if I show you the "whole picture":
Getting close to your subject, cropping, and being aware of backgrounds are all good things to think about! No one needs to see my food processor, candle propping up my poster board, or (still!) need-to-be-caulked counters!
I hesitated to post these tips today because I am self-taught when it comes to taking photos. I am clearly not a pro. I haven't even had to guts to use the Lightscoops I got for my birthday. These are all tips I wish someone had shared with me as a new blogger. I think it would have been a game changer for me!
Here are a few great Resources on Photography:
Better Brighter Blog Photos (a series from Centsational Girl)
I Heart Faces (a great site with good tutorials and fun challenges)
31 Days to a Better Photo (wonderfully informative series at Life with My 3 Boybarians)
Using the Flash (guest posts at Centsational Girl)
I'm taking a break from Blogging Myths next week because of our beach trip (holla!), but I have some other fun things in store....
What are some tips you have for better blog photos? (Or things you like to see?)
Linking to Home Stories A to Z