The two things I use most in creating blog images are my Nikon D3200 DSLR and PicMonkey. I use my phone occasionally, but prefer the look I get from the DSLR. My Nikon is money well spent: not only do I use it for my blog, J uses it for his business, and we use it for life as well. It gives me the best vacation pictures! I chose the Nikon over the Canon because of Nikon’s guide mode. The guide mode is an option on the camera dial that assists those of us (via step-by-step process) who aren’t professional photographers in taking gorgeous pictures. If you’re new to the photography world, I highly suggest starting with the Nikon.
There are tons of photography how-to resources online and you can take classes in many cities. Honestly, I’ve done little research on the topic because I find it so intimidating. However, my friend Nina wrote an easy-to-follow guide on using your DSLR that I often refer to when I feel lost.
Using Your Camera:
Again, I can’t offer you decent photography tips. I use the guide mode for nearly every photograph. But I can offer you a few basic tips on getting the best image, whatever your tool may be:
- Plenty of sunlight. I found the sunniest spot in our house and set up a little camera station. It’s made a huge difference in my image quality.
- Invest in backgrounds. Based on a recommendation from Anne, I picked up some floor tile from Home Depot to add texture to my pictures. And I recently picked up a piece of marble from a local tile store because I love styling beauty products against it. Those two items cost around $40 but my images have improved drastically. If that seems like too much money, run to the dollar store and purchase white poster board- it works like a dream!
- Props. I like adding a little something to my images. The Target dollar spot is a great resource for these props. I picked up some plastic pumpkins from Walmart for my fall-themed posts, and you could also incorporate leaves, flowers, and household items.
The image below was taken on floor tile and styled with items from around the house. So simple and I love the way it turned out!
I have debated purchasing Photoshop but am drawn to the simplicity of PicMonkey. It doesn’t have all the features of the Adobe products, but I appreciate its ease of use. The site is free for many features, but access to more fonts, overlays, and freedom will cost you $5 a month. I chose the Royale (paid) option. Today I’m going to walk you through adding text to and resizing an image:
From the home page, select your desired task:
For adding text, I’m choosing “Edit.” Select image you wish to edit. Keep in mind that the image you select can be one of your own or a stock image, as we discussed last week.
I chose to edit a picture for this post that I took from my iPhone. To add text, select the “Tt” icon to the left of the image. PicMonkey comes equipped with many font options. If the font does not have a crown icon beside it, it’s free to use!
Select your desired font and click the “Add Text” button.
Move the text box to the location you want the text to appear. Use the edit popup to the right of the image to change color, size, and direction of text. Once you’re satisfied, select “Save” to save image to your computer.
You can also use PicMonkey to touch up photos, create effects, add overlays and textures, and create themes. Here I added a texture and some Halloween overlays. Have fun with it!
PicMonkey is also great for resizing blog buttons. If you’ve ever sponsored a blog, you know each host has her own dimension specifications. I rotate a few pictures of myself (with blog name added via PicMonkey) that I resize based on ad option.
Select the “Edit” option from the homepage as you did above. Select your blog button.
Select the “Resize” button to the left of your image. As you can see, this button is currently sized to 200 x 200 dimensions. But many blogs require a 250 x 250 ad.
I always uncheck the “Keep Proportions” box and change the size. Select “Apply” when finished!
Select “Save” to save resized image to your computer.
I also use PicMonkey to create product collages. This post is already too long, but if you’re interested in creating collages, let me know!
Tell me: how do you create blog images? Do you use a DSLR? Your phone? PicMonkey or Photoshop? I’d love to hear your feedback!
And make sure to check out how Anne creates images for her beautiful space!