How to Find Your Own Unique Image Style
This post is Day 13 of the 28 Day Blogging Breakthrough Challenge. You can chat about the challenge on social media using the hashtag #BloggingBreakthrough. Click here to view all of the challenge prompts. I'd also like to welcome Sonya from Real World Creatives who has written today's post. Sonya is a creative entrepreneur and fine art photographer, who also provides career resources for emerging visual artists.
This is one of the fun parts! Researching and determining what style images will suit your blog should be enjoyable (especially if you’re a Pinterest freak like me), and not time consuming. I know it’s easy to get sucked in and start collecting a million ideas and then agonizing over what will actually work. So let’s break it down and get you some gorgeous images!
What Do You Love & What Does Your Audience Love?
This is probably something you think about often when considering your blog and who you’re trying to reach. And it plays a big role in finding imagery that works for you.
First and foremost, anything you do has to strike a chord in your heart and then you can think about others. So when you’re looking at images, make sure they light you up, feel inspiring, and resonate with who YOU are. Once you have that piece, you can start incorporating how the images relate to your audience and what they love to see.
Obviously some common sense should come into play here - if your blog is about chic interior design, then posting selfies of you and your cat probably won’t win your audience over. Find that sweet overlap between what you love and what your audience loves and that will guide your images.
To Stock or Not to Stock?
This is an important question to ask yourself, and the answer will depend on your blog type and if you’re a photographer (or aspiring one) or not. Stock images can be a great resource, but here’s a few things to think about.
- Legally how are you allowed to use them? Stock image sites all have different rules of how their products may be used. Even within the same site, individual images can have different usage rights or require attribution.
- Are you willing to pay for images? There’s a range of free image options, but you may find the most beautiful and professional images do cost money. If that’s the case, you may want to create a budget for purchased images.
- Will you consistently find images that speak to your brand? I would check out the resources I list at the end and do a good scan to see if you can find an abundance of images you could use. There are images being added all the time, so this may not be an issue depending on your topics.
This is my favorite. Pinterest is an amazing tool for collecting images, and with the private boards, you can create and edit without anyone else seeing what you’re doing. If you haven’t used Pinterest before, it’s free to sign up and then you can search FOR FREAKIN' ANYTHING.
Here’s how to use it effectively for image searching:
- Create a free account, if you don’t already have one. Then create a secret board and title it Super Awesome Blog Image Inspirations (or ya know, whatever floats your boat.)
- Use the search bar and put in topics or characteristics that relate to your blog. You can use broad or specific terms and will get a ton of posts that pop up. (Examples: meditation, happy, colorful, fitness photography.)
- Pin all the images that resonate with you to the secret board. I don’t want to ruin your Pinterest party, but it can get addicting, so don’t spend more than an hour or so doing this.
- Review your board of images you’ve collected and make note of the style of images that you like the most and what the themes are. (i.e. are most images of sparkly objects, women drinking coffee, bright colors with text overlays, minimal geometric designs?)
Now that you’ve collected images that speak to you - and hopefully relate on some level to each other - make a list of the top 3-5 style characteristics that you’d like to see when finding or creating images for your blog. This should greatly help you narrow things down, and now you have a board as well as a list that you can refer to, when deciding if an image fits your style.
Details, Details, Details
Whether you are using your own images or stock images, the details make all the difference in the impact on your audience! I can’t stress enough that teeny, tiny things you may not be aware of at first, make a huge difference in how your images are interpreted and received.
It comes down to things like the choice of pens in an image of your desk, the colour of pillows behind you in your head shot, the off putting yellow tint of a white wall because the lighting is incorrect. Check out the brands you love visually. I bet you’ll see a clear theme, and that every little detail of their images have been considered and weighed against their style guide of imagery.
I will leave you with this quote from Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D and author of several books on visual literacy:
“…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear.”
So you best believe the images you choose to go along with whatever you’re writing about have a major importance. The good news is you’re smart, you know yourself and your audience, and you’re ready to create a kick ass style guide for your blog!
Go through the steps Sonya has outlined to help you find your own image style.
- Think about what you love and what your audience loves - try to find an overlap.
- Make the decision whether you're going to use stock photographs or take your own.
- Get pinning. Make different boards and pin your image inspiration.
- Go through your inspiration and pick out some common themes.
- Experiment, then make some notes your image style guidelines (accessories, colours, backdrop ideas etc). You're good to go!
Remember to take some pictures as you go along and tweet me with your progress using the hashtag#BloggingBreakthrough. And if you’ve got any questions or you’re struggling with anything, feel free to get in touch!
TO GETTING A BREAKTHROUGH WITH YOUR BLOG
How have you found your own image style? Will you be following some of these tips for inspiration?