Long ago, bloggers didn’t use photos or videos in blog posts. Now, photos and videos are critical elements of a posts’ success. For this reason, it’s essential to learn how and when to use both. Today, Beth Bauer (@JourneyofBethB), freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur, provides basic tips, strategies, and advice for using images and videos to enhance your posts and increase readership.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you could argue that the images and videos on your blog may be more critical, or at least as relevant, as the words themselves.
Like it or not, it’s the images and videos that get the reader’s attention—not your words. In a digital world where you have only a couple of seconds to make an impression, you can’t use dull or poor-quality media.
To level up the impact of the photos and video you use on your blog, put the following advice and strategies to use.
You Don’t Need Expensive Equipment
Start with the equipment you have—like your cell phone. The latest model smartphones take amazing photos. I’ve taken many incredible shots with my iPhone 6, so don’t feel like you have to go out and buy expensive camera equipment.
It’s more important to know about proper lighting, staging, and backgrounds than to use a fancy camera. Once you have the basics down, photo editing software can greatly enhance your photos.
Pay Attention to the Number of Photos You Include
If you use too many photos, your words get lost. Then readers have to continually scroll past images to find the next paragraph. If you don’t use enough photos, though, your post looks too wordy, and you’re going to lose readers.
A good rule of thumb is to use one photo for every 150 words.
Use Photo Editing Software
By far, the best thing you can do, aside from learning to take good photos, is to use a good photo enhancing app. After all, not every photo you take will be perfect.
I suggest Lightroom by Adobe. It’s very user-friendly. Once you download it to your Smartphone, it’s easy to experiment with. From cropping to removing shadows, changing color to adding texture, Lightroom does it all. There is also a version for your computer.
Use the Right Image Size
Different social media sites use different sized images. For example, the optimal size for a Facebook post is 1,200 x 630 pixels. The same is true for most WordPress themes. However, the right size for Instagram is 1080 x 1080 pixels.
It’s crucial to find out the correct size for the different applications and resize your photos before uploading them.
Closeup images draw your audience in more effectively than other types of photos. For example, in travel blogs, it’s easy to get carried away with those big sweeping landscape shots. Still, a picture of a tattered, dirty pair of hiking boots leaves more to the imagination.
Try to switch it up and use both expansive shots as well as close up images.
Supplement with Stock Photos
If the image you took is unimpressive, rather than using it, try finding the right stock image. Websites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Flickr are filled with professional-grade photos, and many are free. Just search by a keyword and then browse through the library to find the one you want.
Always give credit to the photographer, even if you use a free stock shot.
Use Appropriate Photos
It goes without saying that you do not want to publish inappropriate photos on your blog. However, it is worth mentioning that the images you do include should be appropriate for your blog and topic.
Consider your readers and the type of images that would appeal to them. And then find photos that also reflect the subject of the post in which you plan to use it.
If you use more than one photo, each photo should correspond with the content in some way.
Start a YouTube Channel
YouTube is right behind Facebook as the number two most-popular social media app in the world. It even beats out Instagram.
The great thing about YouTube is that you can create a catalog of your videos and easily link to them from your blog. If you don’t already have a YouTube channel, it’s time to start one!
Shoot Your Own Videos
Your Smartphone also takes super videos. And today, adding video to your blog posts can help catapult you into expert status—especially if you are posting those videos publicly on YouTube.
You can elaborate on a blog post topic by shooting a short video (maybe 5-10 minutes long) of yourself talking about that subject. Or start with a video, get it transcribed, and turn it into a post.
You can embed the video on your blog after you share it to YouTube. And now you have two pieces of content on the Internet that you can share on social media or through email.
Take Workshops and Read Books to Improve Your Photography Skills
There are tons of great classes and resources to help you improve your photography skills. From courses at your local community college to free online workshops, it’s a popular hobby.
The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby is a great place to start. He makes learning photography fun and easy. I think the best way to learn, however, is by taking an in-person workshop where you can get tips from other students as well as the instructor.
However, you can learn online, too. Increase your knowledge about how to shoot and use video from Lou Bortone or about all types of photography from Darren Rowse. If you only want to know how to use your iPhone for photos and videos, try the iPhone Photography School.
There’s nothing quite like capturing that photo of a lifetime. An Indian mother dressed in a Saree holding her child with a dot on its forehead or a baby giraffe playing in the Serengeti are the types of photos that can make your travel post go viral, for instance. They’re the types of images people share with their friends and repost over and over.
Try to use these photo and video tips for your blog. Taking your video and images as seriously as you do the words you write will make you a more successful blogger.
What type of photos would give your blog posts more impact? Tell me in a comment below. And if you enjoyed this post, please share it with other bloggers.
About the Author
Beth Bauer is a freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur currently working on her third novel. She has traveled to over 20 countries in just the last two years and enjoys life as a digital nomad. She is originally from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A., and when she’s home lives on the Long Beach Peninsula with her dog, Ozzie.