How to Use PicMonkey for Your Blog

When I first started blogging back in high-school, I had no idea how important images were to what I went online to say every day.  I thought that the most important (and frankly, only important) part was my writing.  Now, over five years later, I realize that couldn’t be further from the truth.

For a lot of us (at least for me) this is hard, because as much as I love photography I’m the first to admit that I’m not that great at it; and I’m even worse when it comes to Photoshop.  And that’s exactly why I love PicMonkey, a basic (and free!) photo-editing website that I use to put all my blog photos together.  Everyone edits their photos differently, but it helps to have a few go-to actions when you’re putting a photo or graphic together for a post.  These are the three things I do to the primary photos for all of my blog posts.

PicMonkey for Bloggers
Unsplash

Resize

For the most part, people react better to larger photos, and it’s better for the overall look of your blog if all of those photos are the same width.  For a long time, I just threw photos onto a post and left it at that.  Over the summer though, I worked with Kenzie who provided me with a ton of super helpful blogging tips and tricks.  One of her first suggestions?  Figure out my post width and size my photos accordingly.

Having a photo that takes up the entirety of the space in front of a person makes it harder to miss and gives it a bigger impact, not to mention how much more streamlined and together your blog looks when all photos are the same width.  Personally, I keep the width of each photo I post at 825, which is also the width of my post size.  So when I go to write a new post, the first thing I do to the photo is resize it.

PicMonkey for Bloggers

Text

One of the most important parts of a blog photo is to have at least one that can be used on Pinterest.  And how do you do that? Make sure your photo has some kind of description on it – whether it’s a title or something else – to let potential readers know what they’ll be getting if they click over.

Plus, starting a new post out with a graphic that has some kind of description on it lets readers know what they’re about to read about.  It’s sort of like the introduction paragraph your professors were always going on about with your college research papers.  The more a reader knows about what you’re about to start telling them, the more receptive they’ll be to that information.

PicMonkey for Bloggers

Overlay

I just told you how important it is to have some sort of text on your photo to let readers know what they’re getting into with your post, but all of that can be for nothing if they can’t read the text on your photo.  Especially with blog buttons, one of my biggest pet peeves is a title I can’t read because the color of the text fades into the photo’s colors, or just gets washed out by the background.

In my opinion, the best way to avoid this is to provide a base for your text with an overlay.  I put a rectangular overlay on each of my photos, edit the transparency so that readers can still see the photo below, and use black or white text over that to make it easier to read.

PicMonkey for Bloggers

PicMonkey for Bloggers

Looking for more tips on PicMonkey? Check out Helene’s post on the topic!

Blog Photography : 3 Tips to Improve Your Photos

One of the things I don’t talk about much in terms of blogging advice is photography.  As much as I love it, I know that I’m far from being an expert in that particular field, and that’s before you add in all the editing that comes with professional blog photography.
But in the years since I’ve started carrying a camera around, and in the years since then when I started blogging, I’ve learned a few things to help me get by.  So, my tips today might not help you become a famous wedding photographer, but they will help you in terms of blog photography.
Blog Photography
Unsplash

Carry Your Camera Everywhere

Seriously.  This is something I’m constantly having to remind myself to do, but whether you’re spending the day in the city with some friends, going on an amazing vacation, or just taking your dog for a walk – you should bring your camera with you.  I think it must be an unwritten law of the universe that fantastic photo opportunities present themselves when you don’t have a camera available.  My solution? Make sure you always have your camera, and the results will show in your blog photography!

 

Take A LOT of Photos

I guarantee this will probably drive your friends nuts (it certainly makes my friends a bit crazy), but it just makes sense that if you take five photos you won’t have as many chances for a good one as if you take 100 photos.  A lot of photo opportunities may not present themselves again, so if you don’t get the shot now, you’re never going to.  It’s just easier to take way too many photos now, than to get home and realize they’re all out of focus, off center, or shot in the wrong setting.

 

Use PicMonkey

I mentioned that editing is NOT my forte when it comes to photography.  It’s my goal to have to do next to nothing to a photograph to make it look the way I want it to (refer to number two, wherein I take about 1,000 photos until one of them is perfect).  I haven’t used Photoshop since high-school, so it’s basically all Greek to me (much like HTML, now that I mention it).

One editing program I can use though is PicMonkey, and lucky for all of us it doesn’t come with the same hefty price tag as Photoshop.  If all you’re worried about is simple blog photography for your lifestyle blog, PicMonkey is perfect to change color, add text, resize, crop, and some other really helpful things!

Keep Stock Photos Handy

If I’ve learned nothing else about blog photography, it’s that every post should have at least one pin-worthy photo in it.  And if you want to avoid stealing someone else’s work – even unintentionally – it’s important to have a plan.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve started working on keeping a folder on my desktop of my blog photography.  Any photos I take, I edit to the correct size and then save in this folder so that when I need a post photo, I can check here first.  And if that fails, I keep a list of good sites for free stock photos, like Unsplash.

 

And now that we’re on the subject of blogging and photography, I’d like to not so gracefully introduce you to a lovely giveaway! Jana of Life Could Be a Dream, along with myself and some other lovely bloggers, have been loving these  Epiphanie camera bags, and would love to give you all the chance to win one in this great giveaway!

Blog Photography
The Fine Print:
The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on September 25th until 11:59 pm EST on October 1st. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Entries will be verified, so please don’t be a stinker about your entries. Just be honest. The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is selected. Lastly, good luck! :)

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