We like to run series from time to time here at Blogelina because it gives us an opportunity to examine a topic in more depth without making you, our readers and fellow bloggers, feel overwhelmed. Recent series we’ve done include Blog Design Basics and Time Management for Bloggers. We thought we’d revisit the area of blog design but this time take an in-depth look at using photos on your blog. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll examine photo composition, or what makes a good photo, what kind of photos you should look for when using photos on your blog, where to find photos for your blog and how to handle photo attribution when using photos on your blog.
What Makes a Good Photo
Today, we’ll examine in general, what makes a good photo. Sometimes, it can be hard as a blogger to know what to look for in a photo, especially if you’re not coming to the blogging world from a background of graphic design, art or even web design. The beauty of blogging is that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to develop a keen eye for what makes a good photo and making smart choices when it comes to using photos on your blog. Writers, professionals, salespeople, students, and moms can all benefit from the work of others when it comes to photos. Using other peoples’ photos, as long as you attribute them properly, can be a great way to add color, emotion, and character to your blog while at the same time showcasing off the work of talented artists who want to share their work with the world and gain a wider audience for their trade.
Knowing a few of the following fundamentals when it comes to photos will help you make smart decisions about which photos to use on your blog.
- Select photos with good structure. Structure refers to the colors, shapes and contrasts in a given photo. Ken Rockwell has a lot of good things to say about photo structure if you want to know more than we’re delving into here but suffice it to say that concrete shapes and contrasting colors grab your attention and that is all you really want when it comes to using photos on your blog – something that will stop a reader and hook them into giving up a few minutes of their precious time to read your post and then hopefully, become a returning reader of your blog.
- Choose photos with clear, compelling composition. We’ll talk more about composition in a future post but really, you want pictures for your blog that aren’t busy and aimless but which have a clear subject or are telling a message that in some way relates to the post you’ve associated that photo with.
- Look for photos with people in them. One of the basic rules of engagement is that people like looking at pictures of people more than they do pictures of things or places. If your blog is all about dogs, you’d want to include dogs as the main subject of your photos, but in general, a picture that includes people, especially their faces is going to elicit more emotion than one without people. And, emotion is key to driving engagement. Let’s say your blog is about finance, for example, and you’re looking for a photo to go with a post you’ve written about debt. You could select a photo of the word “debt” taped to a glass jar or a picture of a piggy bank; but, you could also choose a photo of a person with his head in his hands at his desk to communicate the stress and pressure that people feel when they’re dealing with debt. Which is going to grab your attention? It’s probably going to be the latter every time.
These are just a few basics to get you excited about the rest of the series. Stay tuned for much more in the weeks to come about using photos on your blog!