I’m gonna say it.
I’m gonna say it again guys.
Look away if you don’t wanna read it…
PEOPLE LIKE PRETTY PICTURES!
Ok, we got that outta the way early this post.
It’s true, which is why I’ve mentioned it like a billion times here on TechYourBlog. People are more likely to share your post if it’s got nice pictures. People are more likely to read your whole post if it has good visuals.
If they stick around to read a whole post, they’re more likely to click over to another one, and spend even more time on your blog.
Good blog photos contribute to a domino effect, keeping readers around and bringing them back.
So today I’m going to show you how I make blog photos. For me, this means featured post images – that won’t get me sued – and pinnable images that people can share on Pinterest.
I’m going to show you:
- how to make the process quick and easy to repeat so you can become a blog photo machine
- how and why I choose certain image sizes for my blog photos
- where I get photos to use on my blog if they aren’t mine
- how I setup Photoshop (for those of you who use it) to make editing blog photos easy
I had to create this process to make creating blog images easier and faster for myself, and it can definitely help you streamline your blogging work too!
This tutorial is going to take place in Photoshop, but you can easily take the steps here and translate them to other editing programs.
1. Open Photoshop
Open the image file you want to use for your background.
(it should be a fairly large file size – definitely over 1000px)
You’ll be using one photo for the background of both your blog post’s featured image and post pin. Makes it all pretty and organized that way, eh?
Where to get photos:
I use photos or mockups for background images. If I’m using a photo, I either take it myself or get something from a free stock site – check out this list of resources for lots of free blog photo options.
Mockups are a little different. They’re Photoshop or Illustrator files with multiple layers, so you can move the different object around to create unique photos. I almost always use GraphicBurger for free mockups.
These two photos are from the same mockup but I decided to hide certain objects to create two different blog photos.
2. Create 2 more new files
I named mine featured_image_template.psd and pin_template.psd
You’re going to save these later as PSD files so they’ll be reusable in the future.
I always edit image size in pixels (px)
Featured image: 1200×800
I use this size because 1) it creates a landscape oriented image 2) it covers pretty much any social media or blog requirements without stretching the image. Social media sites are going to automatically resize your image a lot.
Pin: 300×1000 | 500×1000 | 500×1200 | 800×1000
What size you choose for your pin will depend on how long you want it to be. These sizes are all going to be vertical oriented – which is great for Pinterest – but you may want to change between really long pins or shorter, depending on the image.
Once you have your 2 blank images, you can start editing.
3. Arranging the tabs for easy editing
See in the image above how all my blog images are in separate tabs? That makes them harder to edit quickly, so I always take a second to arrange them so I can see them all at the same time.
Go to Window >>> Arrange >>> Then choose how you want the images to show up.
I like 3-up Stacked
Now you can zoom out in each little window until you see each photo in it’s entirety.
4. Making your blog post’s featured image
- Make sure the background image tab is active by clicking on it.
- Click and drag the background image over to the featured image space
Notice how much bigger the background photo is in the featured image tab? We want that – that’s why we choose a background image that’s big – bigger than our featured and pin templates.
Now you can leave it as is, move it around to create a different look, or resize it.
Make sure that the background image layer is selected in your layers tab.
Go to Edit >>> Transform >>> Scale
- A resizing box will appear around the background image layer.
- Hold down Shift to make sure the image doesn’t distort when you scale it.
- Click and hold a corner and drag it inward to make the image smaller.
Once you’ve scaled it down as far as you want, press enter.
5. Adding text
Some bloggers like to use text in their featured images, some don’t. It can depend a lot on your theme. Some themes (like TechYourBlog’s current theme) place the title over the featured image automatically, so adding text doesn’t work so well.
Once you have the background image the way you want it, all you need to do is add your text (if you want text in a featured image) and save!
6. Rinse and repeat with the pinterest image
You’re going to go through the exact same process with your pinterest image. Text actually is required for this one, or there’d be no point in making it!
- Drag the background image over to the pin template.
- Resize it and move it around until you like it.
- Add text.
That’s it! Just save your new blog post pictures as jpeg (or jpg – same thing) then save your new featured post and pinterest pin templates as PSD files so you can just open and reuse them with a different background image and different text.