Making a photo post

Sigh. Every so often, I gather up a bunch of pictures of Hayden and post them. Let’s face it: this can be like being caught in an elevator with an overeager parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other relative, armed with the seven hundred most recent pictures of their beloved child. Mom bloggers do this probably more than most other bloggers.

Maybe the best photo posts are “real” posts with photos that go with them. I always feel like no one will be that interested in my pictures, unless they’re really funny.

So today I’m going to your collaboration in creating a “blogging tutorial.” As a reader, what do you think makes a photo post good? What makes it less like the caught-in-the-elevator scenario I imagined above? As a blogger, what makes them easier for you to do?

Here are some of my thoughts, please add yours!

Put it in context
We’ve all heard it: a picture is worth a thousand words. In high school, I was reading a book about the Vietnam War and was struck by the commentary on a very famous Pulitzer Prize-winning photo. The text read something to the effect that photographs can’t stand alone. You need words to tell you what happened before and after, to put the photo into context. Because out of context, pictures (like words) don’t mean anything.

Your context doesn’t have to detail how everything happened to get to that point—though if the picture isn’t fairly obvious, some explanation of what’s going on (and what we’re supposed to see) could help. Otherwise, your context can be as short as a silly comment about the photo (but try to let us see why you’ve chosen that photo in particular).

Make it funny, cute, or both
We’re moms. We can appreciate cute pictures of cute kids. We can appreciate funny pictures of funny kids. Funny comments can help, too.

Make it unexpected
The pictures I can’t wait to post are the ones of Hayden doing surprising things: wearing his shirt around his waist, wearing Mr. Potato Head’s glasses, etc.

Make it not too long
I’m very guilty of this one: I wait so long to post pictures (because I figure no one’s interested) that I stuff 8 or 10 or more pictures into a photo post. As if forcing more pictures on you would make you happier to look at them all. I still envision most of my readers as the victims in my elevator, backed into a corner, nodding politely and mentally vowing to take the stairs for the rest of forever.

Resize your pictures before uploading them
Figure out how wide your post column is and in a photo editor, resize the image to fit. It looks a lot better than making your browser resize them. And if you make your pictures too wide (post them exactly as they come off your camera, for example), they can break your blog or your readers’ feed readers. We’re probably not going to scroll side-to-side to see pictures of your kids. Sorry.

(Exceptions: if you upload photos to Flickr or Photobucket and they make some good looking, smaller versions, or if you use Blogger. They resize them to look good pretty consistently.)

Maybe the best photo posts are still “real” posts with photos that go with them. What do you think? What makes you enjoy photo posts more? What tips do you have for making them easier to do?

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10 thoughts on “Making a photo post

  1. My favorite posts are those with photos. I have over 150 blogs in my reader and if there are no photos, I often will just skim the text to see if it catches my eye. Especially posts by people I know personally. It does not bother me at all if there are a ton of pictures. I also have been known to post 20 photos in a post. I am not concerned about my stats and numbers though and it is mainly friends who read my blog so that may affect what I do.

    What I do usually is write my post first and then add photos. Sometimes I do the opposite though. My post tend to be long.

  2. I like posts with photos or graphics added. When I have a bunch of photos to share at one time…be it birds or babies…I try to make it a little more interesting by making them into some type of slide show or rollover image. Photobucket has some options and I am sure others are out there too. I am just learning how to do Photoshop Elements so have been posting the before and after results. Resizing is vastly important! So is arranging the photos neatly so they don’t seem like they just thrown in the post. I like to center them most of the time. I wish I could get more than one next to each other but haven’t had much success where I blog.

  3. I am the opposite. If I see a slide show or film I rarely click on it because if it does not show up on my reader (and they usually don’t) then it takes time to go to the blog, click on the website, download, etc. Only for my niece and nephew do I go to the effort. Not for random blogs I read or usually even for blogs of friends. I would rather scroll quickly past all 40 photos and stop on the ones I like. That is my 2 cents.

  4. I like seeing posts with pictures – I definitely prefer those to ones with just one long paragraph of text. For my own posts, I usually try to either add in funny captions or stick to one topic or event in each post to help with the onslaught of photos… :)

    I agree about resizing and arranging them so they are easier to follow and catch the eye better.

    And I agree with Christy about slide shows – I tend to skip over them or watch just the first few, since it’s quicker for me to scroll than wait…

  5. I read a lot of mommy blogs, and many bloggers are guilty of this sin. I don’t think it would be very charitable of me to point out any specific negative examples, but I can recommend one mommy blog that uses pictures extremely well — Notes from the Trenches. Chris makes liberal use of pictures both as an accent to her textual posts and as the meat of other posts. Even her photo posts, however, include humorous captions that capture the essence of the action.

    Look at her Easter (I Hope You Dance) or American Idol (Geeks Gone Wild) for evidence.

    I am not very witty myself, so I need to rely on the pictures to tell their own story if they are amusing. I tend to use pictures to illustrate a point more simply than it can be made in words. For example, if I am describing a craft, I will include pictures of each step.

  6. A lot of people have pointed out the importance of having photos here and I have to admit that I didn’t even think about in this manner (there I go again, trying to compartmentalize business and personal blogging).

    Photos can be used to enhance posts, to illustrate things and to break up the text. Thanks for reminding me, ladies—I’ll be sure to mention that when I post our results from this post in the future!

  7. I think it depends on what you are writing about. I prefer to make up my own images as I am reading. I have seen pics of Hayden so it’s easy to picture what he was doing at that moment. A little imagination goes a long way:)

  8. I enjoy posts with pictures & have been trying to add some to enhance my posts.

    After seeing so many talented photography posts & pictures that were taken with terrific cameras, it makes me realize how lacking I am in the photography talent department! Ironic though, as my brother’s a professional journalistic photographer with a degree from RIT!

    Thanks for your suggestions, I’ll work on it!

  9. Based on some suggestions here and from some of your other posts. Tomorrow I will post a request for readers to make comments and subscribe. I will also try to keep in mind all this helpful information when I post pictures. My post tomorrow will include a link to your blog. Thanks!


  10. I appreciate the blog entry and the comments. I am going to start posting photos to ‘spruce’ up my blog. I will let you know how it is going. Thanks Mamablogga!!

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