5 Ways to Make Photos Look Better On Your Blog

I get a fair amount of questions about blogging, and while I definitely don’t consider myself some sort of expert, I’m happy to offer what tiny bits of wisdom I have.

Also, blogging is basically one of my all-time favorite topics, so I thought it’d be fun this year to write a post every few weeks about various blogging things. I had a big positive response to this post about making money on your blog with sponsored posts last year, so I’m assuming there is at least some interest.

If you have zero interest in all things blogging, feel free to skip right past these posts. It won’t hurt my feelings a bit (mainly because I’ll have no idea).

Anyway, first up, let’s talk about photos.

There are ten million posts out there about how important photos are for your blog and I’ve thrown in my own two cents about taking sharper photos, but this post isn’t about taking better photos.

It’s about how to make your photos look better once you actually put them on your blog. Because there is nothing worse than having great photos that look lame once you post them.

Tired of your great photos looking BLAH on your blog? Here are five ways to make your photos look good when they show up in a post!

1. Resize them. If you upload your photos at full-size (which, even with camera phone photos are pretty enormous), it’ll take forever for them to load. Not to mention it will take forever for them to upload when you add them. The only thing worse than terrible photos is beautiful photos that take 3-4 minutes to load when you pull up someone’s blog. I resize all my photos to a standard of 1000 pixels long (I use Picasa to resize them) which is big enough to look good on my blog but not so huge they take forever to load. And it doesn’t use up all my storage space in about two seconds (I did upgrade to paid storage a year or so ago when I ran out, but it costs a whopping $1.50 a month or something like that).

2. Have your photos take up your whole column. When I look back at my old posts, I’m like “did I think they were going to charge me if my photos were too big?” I have to pull out my glasses to look at the postage-size photos on this post. Now my photos always take up the whole space of my post column. Resizing them to 1000 means they’ll take up my entire column and then I added this CSS code to my blog template to make sure they don’t leak out the column (because that’s a bad look too). Three minutes on the backend and I never have to worry about my photos being too big or too small again.

Tired of your great photos looking BLAH on your blog? Here are five ways to make your photos look good when they show up in a post!

3. Make your pictures all the same width. This is one of my personal blogging pet peeves (and I only started doing it on mine in the last year, so it’s kind of painful for me to look at old posts). But when you have horizontal and vertical pictures and they keep switching between wide and thin, it’s just not a great look. If you resize them all to be at least as wide as your column (see #1) and then have your CSS keep them from leaking out into the sidebars, all your photos will be nice and standard, so it’s not so distracting for a reader’s eye when the margins keep jumping all over the place. This one below? Yuck.

Tired of your great photos looking BLAH on your blog? Here are five ways to make your photos look good when they show up in a post!

4. Ditch Blogger’s standard border around your images. Maybe you love the look of the little white border/shadow around all your pictures. And if so, go right ahead and leave it on. But I think it looks much cleaner to have my blog photos not have it around it, so I’ve added some CSS code so it never appears on my photos. Another one of those quick fixes that I did once and then never have to think about again.

5. Turn off Google’s Auto Enhance for Photos. A year or so ago, I noticed my pictures were looking pretty terrible when I uploaded them (the colors would be way off or they’d be significantly less sharp than they were when I looked at them on my computer before uploading them). Turns out that, if you have a Google+ account, you may have auto-enhance turned on for your photos and when you upload photos to your blog, it tries to fix your photos for you (not always for the better). Turn that feature off. And rejoice when your photos don’t look horrendous anymore.

If you have blogging questions or topics you’d like me to talk about this year, please let me know in the comments or by email (janssen.everyday at gmail) and I’ll try to address them! 

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  • Reply Paige Flamm January 23, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Oh my gosh, this is literally everything that I've been struggling with in one post! Save yourself the nervous breakdown and don't look at my pictures on yesterday's post!

  • Reply Tina's Blog January 23, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I was just thinking about photography on my drive in to work….and how I am such a bad photographer and need to get some help to make my pictures look better on my blog. I will definitely need to read and re-read your post. Seriously, I loved your how to make money on your blog post as well…..still struggling with that, too.

  • Reply Kristen January 23, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    This is really great. You've answered so many questions to things that make me insane but that I didn't know were fixable. You've created a little cheat sheet for me. Love it!

    I would like to know your posting process. Do you keep a running list of what you want to write about? Is it planned? Spur of the moment? How do you continue to keep the content amazing as you post day after day? Those are my burning questions.

  • Reply Becky TheWallflower January 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you so much for that no-border-CSS! I've wanted to know how to get rid of it for ages!
    Great post! x

  • Reply K. Elizabeth @ YUMMommy January 23, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Great tips. Definitely, agree with turning off the auto enhance from Google. It's always great to manually tweak your photos so that they are just right.

  • Reply brittney perry January 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    omg THANK YOU SO MUCH for the link to removing the standard photo boarder! I HATED THAT STUPID THING. hate.

  • Reply Jessica Pieper January 23, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    You and Kayla are my heroes today! That CSS code is rocking my world. I'm so embarrassed to admit that have been changing the width manually in the HTML of each photo… terrible.

  • Reply Feisty Harriet January 23, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I wonder if these work in WordPress, I think some of the issues and problems you are talking about are inherent to Blogger. I must investigate.


  • Reply Emmaco January 24, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Your blog in 2007 may have been less professional but it was very cute 🙂 Looking at a few old blogs recently I've noticed they all seem to attract more comments than blogs these days (even when readership is higher now). I wonder if people comment less than they used to because there's more stuff around to interact with now e.g. twitter, Facebook…

    • Reply Janssen January 28, 2015 at 12:57 am

      I think that's true! Plus, so many people read blogs on their phones now, where commenting is significantly more difficult.

  • Reply Courtney Dunsmore January 25, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Great tips! I never knew about the google auto-enhance,glad to turn that off now!

  • Reply Rachel January 26, 2015 at 11:09 am

    This was super helpful {resizing and css code}. Thanks a million!!!

  • Reply Carmen Varner January 29, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Woohoo, Thanks for these tips. I literally just turned of that Auto Enhance feature, which I had no idea existed.

    :] // ▲ ▲

  • Reply Courtney February 2, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Great tips! I'm curious about resizing … I've tried everything and no matter what I do my pictures always come out really pixelated/blurry when I resize them. I've used Lightroom and PSE. Do you have any tips?!

    • Reply Janssen February 4, 2015 at 12:37 am

      So frustrating! I edit mine in Photoshop but then resize them in Picasa. I have no idea if that makes a difference or not, though.

  • Reply Michelle February 28, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks for these tips! How do you resize in Picasa? Do you export them or upload them to a Picasa web album and do it then?

  • Reply Heather June 15, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Is your blog template custom designed? I am just looking for a simple template like yours. Any tips?

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