Sunday 20 May 2012

make them fall in love.. pt II blogging series

Some great feedback and reasons for blogging in the comments after the last post, thank you. 
Today I want to talk about images or more specifically photos. Now, one of the reasons I started this mini series is because I was asked how to get more traffic/readers and as I said last week, first impressions are everything! I believe there is a simple formula here...

Obviously, it isn't as simple as that but if your blogging content is something you are sharing whether it be a recipe for apple pie, a new gadget you have bought, a craft you did with your kids or your latest garden exploits then good photos are an important part of the equation. Reader and other bloggers are more likely to share your content if you have a great image.

I always try and put up the best images I have but sometimes, especially with kids it doesn't always work out as planned, so I say, keep it realistic. Don't post a rubbish photo just because... unless it is essential to the story you are telling. There are hundreds if not thousands of websites giving information on how to take better pictures and I am not a professional photographer so I am not even going there but I will share these tips...

  • When you are taking photo's of something you know you will be blogging about, more is less. Professional photographers shoot hundreds of shots yet only one or two will make the final cut.
  • If you are taking photos of something such as step by step for a craft, make sure the area is well lit, natural light from a window works best.
  • Don't be afraid to edit your images. There are a lot of free editing software packages out there, I personally use Photoshop. Adjusting the lighting or contrast can make all the difference.
  • Add a watermark with your blog or business name to all your images. Having a watermark reduces the chance of your image being stolen as passed off as someone else's. People who steal others work are not likely to be the type to sit as remove a watermark. Also, some sites such as Facebook and Pinterest strip all the meta data from the image so there is no way of knowing where the image came from.
  • Keep the sizes of your images consistent, when I use the frames I stick to 600px wide. Just plain photos are 5x7 or 7x5.
  • If you use someone else's image for whatever reason CREDIT them and link back to where you found it, it is good practice to ask first too.
  • Cropping an image can completely change and improve it. Give it a go! 
  • Reduce your image size, this will make the page load faster, better for your readers. Depending what your images are of go for anything from 72dpi to 150dpi - anything bigger than that is wasted.
  • Use templates  - I tried this several times before and have only just found a way of doing it that is both quick and easy. The recent templates are from Pugly Pixel, if you use photoshop, get yourself over there, she shares loads of great things and does some fab tutorials. Although I basically know my way around photoshop, I have learnt a lot of new tricks from her.

A few other points, your header - keep it to a reasonable size. Think of a newspaper, folded and face up, across the top is the name of the paper, big and bold, underneath is the 'grabbing headline' and the most important story. Your blog is the same, if your header is too big then the reader has to scroll down to get to that very important post you wrote, so in effect you are pushing your important content down the screen or 'beneath the fold'.

Finally, NEVER EVER post pictures of naked or semi-naked children on your blog. No matter what your do, your images can be taken off your blog one way or another. There are a lot of sick and twisted people out there who trade and share stolen images of children. Would you leave your naked child alone with a bloke you have never met before? OF COURSE NOT, so don't share your adorable naked kids pics online whether it be Facebook, flickr, instagram or your blog. Keep them in an album, at home to be pulled out when they bring their first girl/boyfriend home :o)

Have I missed anything? Possibly. Now, I don't know much about the free photo editing software out there so if you use something please share in the comments section and let us all know what you think of it or if there is anything else you want to share please do. 

Part III coming next week and if you have found this useful, please share with your friends.

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