How to Pick Photos for Blog Posts That Will Pop on Social Media

Filed as Guides on July 8, 2013 8:00 am

photos for blog posts
We’ve long known that having a giant image at the top of a blog post will help the post perform and find an audience. People are visual, and that’s only become more of the norm as time has gone on. Many sites have redesigned their pages to highlight more, and larger, pictures.

But one thing that’s changed in recent years is how we find and share articles. Social media — and all of its various platforms — now requires writers and editors to have in mind how and where the blog posts will be seen as they construct the content. That’s not just for the headline and copy, though; the images, too, need to be relevant and shareable for people to be drawn to them.

Think about your Facebook feed and what stands out for you. That’s the sentiment you must invest into image selection when the time comes. Photos should not be an afterthought or a burden. In reality, they can make all the difference on what gets viewed and what gets ignored. It’s important to consider carefully what visual messaging leads your story on your site because the featured image you choose will be what sells your story elsewhere.

Here are three proven tips on what to look for when hoping to reel in viewers on social media platforms:

1. Humans.
photos for blog posts
It might sound counter-intuitive to some who believe that the Internet is powered by pictures of animals, not people, but we’ve shown a preference to see people who look like (albeit, better-looking versions of) us. As we scroll through our social media feeds, we tend to stop on albums filled with pictures of friends. You have a chance to get into that scroll with a similar photo that will grab people’s eye. Perhaps unsurprisingly, images of women tend to perform better than those of men. You want to grab one that has the subject staring back at the camera and connecting with the viewer. She should have an expression of some sort and not look staged. Candidness is key  in making her engaging and natural.
2. Vanishing points.
photos for blog posts
Vanishing points can be some of the most compelling images you will find. They treat the reader as if they’re at the start of a long journey down a road, sensing there’s something waiting for them in the distance. For blog posts that focus on big issues or forward-thinking, vanishing points can be an ideal choice for imagery. It represents and captures something more abstract and essential. To some degree, a vanishing point acts as a microcosm for the post itself, ushering people in and encouraging them to carry on. The more colorful and prominent they are, the more they can resonate with someone. Instagram in particular is a good place to showcase vanishing points which are typically expressive. If you’re looking to make a splash on a visual-heavy social platform like that, attach a stimulating and attractive image to your blog post. You’ll be rewarded for thinking ahead.
3. Macro shots.
photos for blog posts
One of the best things about social media is the constant feedback and trends available. If you do a search on some platforms for #macro, you’ll quickly discover just how popular these shots are. When you put your post up, make sure to tap into that community and conversation with a hashtag that lets people know it’s there. If vanishing shots give you a fuller view, macro shots give you a close-up one. Both of them can be effective in their own ways. Macro shots can be intense, calling all of your attention to one central location. Within a long feed full of a diverse collection of posts, these pictures might have the best chance to spring up and stand out. Zooming in offers the viewer a sense of exploration. With it, they will be overcome by a strong feeling of urgency to click inside.

Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Shutterstock. He can be reached on Twitter and Google Plus.

Image credits:
Paint picture from Shutterstock
Woman picture from Shutterstock
Railroad picture from Shutterstock
Flower picture from Shutterstock

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  1. By TeslaThemes posted on July 9, 2013 at 3:20 am
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    Good theory, but from our experience, users click the most on photos that are related to content.

    Reply

    • By Danny posted on July 12, 2013 at 10:26 am
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      Everyone will have different results, but these are three suggestions for those looking to explore.

      Reply

  2. By Amrik Virdi posted on July 9, 2013 at 8:30 am
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    Great advice. I often use stock photos for blog post. I should focus on the new methods while choosing photos.

    Thanks,
    Cheers!

    Reply

    • By Danny posted on July 12, 2013 at 10:26 am
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      Thanks for reading!

      Reply

      • By Kary Lee posted on October 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm
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        Do you know how we can choose images within our blog? It seems that it’s random which choices I’m given when I try to post on FB. I would like it to pick which image and I can’t. Am I missing something in settings?

        Reply

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