Welcome to this free, on-the-blog series “Blissful Blogging.” This series includes tons of great tips and strategies on how you can create a blog that you can feel happy about, that doesn’t stress you out(!), and that meaningfully connects with others so that you have excellent content, authentic readers, better traffic, and overall happy vibes. Here are our posts in this series —
- PART 1- How blogging can help you live meaningfully
- PART 2 – How to tell stories about your life, work and passions on your blog
- PART 3 – How to use photos, images and creativity in a meaningful way on your blog
- PART 4 - Growing your blog readership authentically and meaningfully.
This week, let’s talk about how to tell stories about your life, work and passions using your blog platform.
Photography and imagery is a huge part of why I love blogging. I love how an image can draw you into a blogger’s experience without you having to read through too much text or copy; I appreciate the beauty and natural composition of photo elements; I enjoy studying photos and seeing how I can use angles, lighting and color to bring my own experiences to life.
That, in a nutshell, is how to use photos and images on your blog, creatively and meaningfully. Each photo has to have a specific purpose, a role to play so that it makes your story shine. Great images — taken with the right amount of light, drama/emotion/feeling — have the power to communicate our experiences in a way words can’t always grasp.
Here’s a photo “how to” on taking these meaningful shots so that they help us create inspiring reads for our blog readers and visitors.
TAKE YOUR OWN PHOTOS. MAKE YOUR OWN IMAGES.
When you use your own photos in your blog, you feel a wonderful sense of investment, like you really put a good load of effort into a blog post. Doesn’t it feel great? Readers can appreciate that, especially when to make time to publish a really meaningful photo that tells a story, your story, specifically. Let your photos convey an emotion or a feeling, so that they draw people into an experience.
MAKE YOUR IMAGES ‘SHARE-ABLE.’
Another reason why it’s important to own your images: You want to make your blog sharable. You want your content — your own, original content — to spread far and wide. This is why social media marketers tell use to make our website images crisp and “Pinteresting”, because of the amount of web traffic that comes from Pinterest alone. Some of the most inspiring and helpful blogs out there have images, photos and infographics being pinned and re-pinned on Pinterest, which means more exposure for them, and ultimately, more views, readers and followers (eventually).
Here’s an example of a sharable image: (Photo take by me on a Canon 100D.)
A note on “ownership” of your photos:
When you make images for your blog — like quotes, cover/feature images, memes, etc. — remember to brand them when applicable. Take this photo of Sonja’s Cupcakes, for instance. I used this for my February theme for MakeitBlissful.com, and I wanted it to be sharable on social media. So, I made different versions: the photo as-is; the photo with different overlay words on it; a Facebook version using this photo but different words, etc. Depending on where I used the image, I placed a watermark of my name or the website on the bottom right-hand side. This can help protect your photos to some extent, but they aren’t necessary.
(I actually prefer clean, crisp photos with no watermarks, unless of course it’s a photo of my son, like the first photo in this post. Again, it’s all about personal style and preference.)
CRAFT A ‘BRAND LOOK’ FOR YOUR IMAGES.
I appreciate bloggers who take the time to create a signature “look” or “personal style” for their photos. Having a “brand look” helps build up your brand, because your readers begin to associate this “look” with your blog. I personally do this on Instagram, when I edit photos (quickly!) using filters and Snapseed, so that my images have a light, airy feel.
I tend to work on my dining table, so many of the scenes you see are shot there, such as these pics.
The same goes for creating images. When you want to use other media (not photography), remember to inject your signature style into what you create. For example: If you want to create a papercut or a watercolor image for a blog post, consider the overall feeling and appearance so that you create a signature “look” for your work.
Crafting a brand look means that your images are a visual representation of your brand. With Make it Blissful, we aspire towards meaningful living, and that’s why our images have a light feel to them, with the goal of uplifting or inspiring our readers. This look should cross over on other platforms in social media as well (Facebook, Instagram, or whatever other visual-powered platform you use.)
Notes on using borrowed images
- How to properly credit other people’s images. — Sometimes you might need to use images that are not your own. This is OK, provided to give credit where credit is due! Link to all your sources, and as much as possible, ask the photo owner for permission to use their images on your blog. (They’ll usually be nice and say “yes,” but the point is: Always ASK first.)
- Make use of photography resource sites. iStockphoto.com has a “free download” for the day for members: You can download high quality photos, vectors and illustrations (even video clips, on occasion) for personal use on your media or website. I’ve found these to be useful for memes and website graphics or quotes. Another great resource is Death to the Stock Photo, a site dedicated to providing quality, inspirational images for free! It’s simple: Just sign up on their website (deathtothestockphoto.com/), and each month, you get a free bundle of 10 high-quality stock photos along with permission to use them!
What new insights have you gotten from today’s post? Do you have any thoughts about your own images and photos on your blog? Are you happy with them, or are there things you’d like to change? Let’s chat in the comments and help each other out.
This week, study the blogs and Pinterest accounts of bloggers who have a good eye for photos, or who create beautiful images on their blogs. What do you like best about their work, and what can you do to improve your own images and photos?