Creating a Pinnable Image

A few weeks ago, I went to a webinar about Pinterest by Beth Hayden.  (I encourage you tuo visit her site, she rocks and she has a free Pinterest marketing guide too!)   It was really educational and as someone who LOVES Pinterest, I was psyched.

One of the major things I learned was that you need to create images that are pinnable, not just pretty.  So, to succeed with Pinterest, you need to:

  • Learn how to take beautiful photos.
    By the way, Sitepoint has a sale every Christmas and they have a  Photography.  Last year, I signed up for 3 months of courses (I think it only cost $17) and part of what you get is free credits to download books.  Also, that book will probably go on sale, so sign up for the updates.  It’s always worth it, especially if you are interested in web design!  Or, start hanging out at Digital Photography School.
  • Learn how to make the photos you take pinnable.
    I’m going to show you, step by step, what I do as a designer.  And  yes, I only started doing this but I recommend it!

Once you have a photo that conveys your idea or shows your product, you need to do a few things.  Please, do not just load it up at full size to your blog! This will weigh down resources.

First of all, these are general procedures, and the reason for that is that I use Photoshop CS5, a web designer tool, and it’s very costly.  But whatever program you use, these tools should be available.  Even the free preview tool your computer comes will have some of these tools, so please open whatever image software you use and find the help to locate these tools.

Without further ado, here is a step-by-step guide on creating a pinnable photo:

  1. Resize  your image.
    Your pinnable images should be no smaller than 240 pixels on any side, but I like creating big, bold images that are sized nicely for my blog.  To resize, you are looking for a tool or image menu, and finding the words “resize or adjust size.”  You want to change the resolution to ideally 72, or 96.  When you do this, it will reduce the size of your image.  (Cameras often will taken the images at 300 pixel resolution.)Next, find an image size that fits well for your blog.  For example, if I place a large centered photo on my blog, I will set the width to 525 pixels.  My blog post area is a width of 600 pixels.  Pick a proper width first, and make sure you are set to “scale proportionally.”  If you think that your image is too tall, find and use the crop too to trim the height.
  2. Tune up your photo.
    You can sharpen it, and adjust contrast, tone, and color to color correct something that’s too dark or bland.  An editor can also help you eliminate red eye, work on shadows, change colors or backgrounds – it depends on how powerful your image editing software is.  Some recommended free image tools include PicMonkey, iPiccy, and GIMP.  At Reviewer’s Retreat, we were advised to always sharpen photos, but that’s not necessarily true!  Words look weird if over-sharpened, this is why you need an image editor to gage the actual affects of your image.  If you have graphic skills, you can be really creative too.  You may want to consider adding  a watermark if you are concerned people will steal your image.
  3. Create a border.
    You may have software that allows you to add a frame and gives you some option.  If not, and you can add a layer, you should resize your canvas (NOT image) to add about 15 pixels to each side, then put a layer under your photo that’s all white.  That’s it – you have a border!  If your blog background is white, you’ll want to change the color or add a “stroke” in black to set it off.
  4. Add text that will attract readers.
    You can use multiple fonts, to create headline and sub-heading.  Try mixing serif (those tails on the end of letters like “n”) and sans-serif fonts for a nice effect.  Make sure you create a headline that is appealing AND captures your post theme.  Add a drop shadow for added effect, and make sure whatever color your font is in, it is legible!
  5. Upload your final image and you’re done!
Here’s the last one I did:
zoe at beach
My post title was, “A Non-Complete List of Things That May Contribute to Autism “

Remember that you can promote your own posts with pins, but do not overdo it!  It’s not proper etiquette, and the ratio should be probably no more than 10% of all your pins.  Pinterest is a social tool, more than a promotional tool, so keep it in line.

Any questions?

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