In Part 1 of Creating Your Blog's Featured Image, we talked about how to plan your your photo shoot.
Next, we want to go over spicing it up.
Let's take a great photo and make it your next great blog photo.
Taking a great photo is only part of what makes a great blog photo or featured image.
Not only does it take a great photo, but you'll need to dress it up.
Keep in mind, people want to know where to find you and by adding your URL it's a great way for your biz to stay front and center in their mind.
However, not only do you need to put your URL on there, but you also need to add other graphics as well.
Some options would include your logo, your blog title, or something else eye catching.
Now, I'm not saying you MUST add words to your feature image. Obviously, it's your preference, but why not?!
There was a time when I had NO clue what I was doing inside photo editing programs and apps, but with a little training and practice you'll be able to create top quality blog photos too.
I don't think anyone will argue with the statement that Photoshop is the gold standard for photo editing.
However, not everyone has that and since it's a paid service, I'm going to go through how to use Canva instead.
Canva allows you to create and design stunning graphics with simple drag-and-drop features and professional layouts.
Canva.com is a great, FREE alternative for making your blog's next photo or featured image.
Have questions about changing the text in Canva? Watch this tutorial, it was GREAT!
This tutorial will walk you through the text feature inside Canva.
Along the left hand column, you’ll see a “T”. This is the text tool. Once it’s selected you’ll see it gives you a ton of different options. It’s your choice if you want to use some of the already created professional looking text/graphic choices, but I personally tend to just use the individual headings over on the left.
Clicking the “add heading” will bring up a large font and it will also be a bit more bold so it will stand out.
Now you can change the font choice. You just go up to the top, left corner and if you click on the word it gives you tons of different options. Pick something eye catching, appealing and easy to read.
“Raleway heavy” font is one that I use a lot.
Also at the top, you’ll see a number. This number indicates the font size and if you click on it you can change it.
I have typed out “Great Holiday Gifts for 2016”.
To center the text, you can move it around on the image. Once it’s aligned in the center, either vertically or horizontally, you can see that line appears across the screen. This tells you that you’ve centered it.
Some other options for font include:
- Bold font
- Justified left, right, center, all uppercase.
- Text spacing you can spread out how far it goes across the screen. You can see I have it set to zero currently. You can spread it by changing the setting. You can also change it vertically too.
- Opacity of the text
- Duplicate the text and create a drop shadow
- Add bullets
- Add a subheading. This will automatically bring up a smaller sized font as well as a different type of font. You can make changes to your subheading font as you wish.
You can design each section to have their own size, qualities, and characteristics.
Plus, you can rearrange them so you can put them wherever you want. As you move them around you’ll notice lines show up. These will go away once you’re finished moving things around, but they will help you line things up.
Let me know if you have any more questions.
So, once you click ‘images’, you will see down at the bottom of the screen the images that you’ve already used and at the top you can pick from the more popular options.
If you click the ‘more’ button, you get a ton of options. It all depends on what you are looking for.
They have a lot of templates that are already created for you which saves you time by just picking what you are looking for.
So it starts out blank and on the side they have some photos that you can use and if you scroll over the individual photo you will see this little symbol towards the bottom right. The ‘$’ sign means you have to pay for it. I have heard that almost all of them are paid now. The typical price for the paid images is around $1 to purchase.
Oh look! Now they have an entire section here for just the free stuff! Cool.
Pick something that goes with your color scheme.
If you select a paid image, once you select it and it moves over to your creation area, you can see it has this checkered board look. That is a feature included in Canva so you don’t steal it. Once you download it and pay, the checkered watermark will go away.
The left hand column you will see all these different options:
- Elements – this will bring up different items that you can pull over. Several free items in here. All you do here is just drag and drop and bring it over.
- If you pull the dot in the corner you can change the size of the photo.
- It gives you some drop down options too. So this little dotted icon in the top right is for the transparency. You can hit flip and it will automatically give you options to flip it horizontally or vertically.
- Filter and that will change the way the overall photo looks. So just like any other filter program (ex. Instagram, photo editing app on the phone) it will allow you to filter the photo.
- You can also change the brightness or exposure or contrast. But if you hit the advanced options it gives you even more options to change ex. saturation, tint, blur (which could be nice if you don’t want the photo to be less pronounced if you want to put some text on their. It will draw the eye to the text and not quite as much to the photo itself), vignette (darkens down the corners of the photo). X process is going to make it a filter and changes the overall look ultimately. It is a bit more edgy looking.
So if you don’t want to use one of their free or paid photos, you can hit ‘background’ and you can use one of their colorful backgrounds. Scroll through here as there is tons of different options. Some are free some are paid. Or you can go to ‘uploads’ and that would be where you can upload your own photo.
If you use your own photo or just the free items, Canva is free to use.
So there are other things that you can also add:
- Shapes or frames
- Charts if you do infographics
I a lot of times will take one of the shapes and will either use one of these as a frame around it or I will use a color background take the opacity down so kind of have that ghosted look again.
You can also go up here in the top left corner and you can change the color of it. So if you wanted more yellow to go with the theme for fall or what goes with your colors in general, you can pick whatever color you want.
There you can see when you use the full strength of the photo how it is nice to tone it down a little bit to add text and it will actually stand out a little bit better. The photo that could be too bring or busy, text really stands out if you change the opacity.
Tons and tons of options are available! You can change colors and put your text in the middle of this, have it coming off the edge.
One thing that I feel Canva could add to the list of features is the functionality of a drop shadow. I think it offers a lot of other very useful tools and handy tools especially if you’re not familiar with photo editing or graphic design. So it’s quick and simple, drag and drop, but I love drop shadows.
The way I get around wanting to add a drop shadow is I already have the one photo here, but I can take the opacity down on this one. I will hit copy and now I have two of them. The top one is now the one selected so I am going to change this back to the top opacity because I really want to see that one.
Now if you line them up, you can get a drop shadow. I tend to have a hard time trying to get it off center a little bit. It tends to want to put it right on top of the other image so you can’t even see the second image. You want to try to get it just a smidgen off center/ lower or higher it doesn’t always work for me. So if you know of a way to not automatically snap it together, I would love to hear from you!
Now it makes it appear like this element is popping off the page a little bit since it has a drop shadow.
Ultimately the are guidelines or rules for design for what looks good and beyond that is personal preference and what you like and how you want it to show up and look, mood and feel and all that great stuff. So you can customize it any way you like.
So let me know if I have answered all of your questions or if I have missed any questions.
Please send me an email or leave a comment on this post or better yet, if you haven’t joined the private Facebook group and ask me inside the group.
I am happy to answer any questions you have.
For support, tutorials, and a place to ask questions
Amy is the owner extraordinaire at Learn Blog Photography and Amy Paris Photography. She's a single mom to an amazing teenage son. She's passionate about photography and skiing (downhill), the faster the better! Sign up for a FREE 30-min call to light up your photos & biz! bit.ly/2udzBXB