Monday , March 18 2019

9 Image Design Tips For Your Next Social Media Photo-Post (or advertisement)

If you’re posting photos on Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social playgrounds, you’re playing on a very crowded game board…

According to a white paper recently revealed by Facebook, its users have uploaded more than 250 billion photos, and are uploading somewhere in the ballpark of 350 million new photos every single day. (not including Instagram photos)

So… chance of blending into the other 250 billion (yah… that’s a “B”) photo posts just on Facebook :: HIGH.

Fortunately, we’ve got a solution… and a strategy to get your photos more eyeballs and attention than any of your “competitors” (i.e. grandma and that one overly ‘promiscuous’ chick from high school)

Using even one or two of these 9 image design tips for your next social media post will {virtually} guarantee a more EYE-grabbing photo-post and all of the perks (attention, fame, yah know…) that come along with it.

If You’re Not Using Photos To Perk Up Your Brand, Here’s Some Proof That You Really Should Start Now.

WishPond (The Impact of Photos on Facebook Engagement) Did A Little Research And Came Up With Some Fascinating Findings…

The one metric in there that’s particularly intriguing for us is that “Posts that include photos receive 120% more engagement than the average post.”

Conclusion :: Photo Posts = Where dah money’s at!

I digress, though. Let’s dig into these 9 image design tips now.

#1 – Risk Blending In? Border Up!

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do borders on social media.

Depending on what sort of marketing vibe you’re going for, the color of your border is crucial. Too bright, and ridiculous and you risk turning people off, too dark and subtle and you risk STILL blending into the other photos.

So, as for borders, this is a good place to hang:

  • 7px borders are the maximum size you should go (to maintain a clean look) on a 940px by 788px (Facebook photo-post dimensions using Canva)
  • Instead of trying to figure out the color that’ll fit your photo, find one using this color Social Media Color Palette as a reference (then select colors within that spectrum)

It’s also worth considering that most of the BIG dogs in social media are looking for higher quality looking photos rather than the gimmicky looking ones. So, exaggerated borders and funky colors can actually transform a decent looking photo into a piece of spam.

Keep it cool. Add a border.

#2 – Be Stylish With Your Fonts

If you’re adding text to your photos that’s great!

First, you’ve got to remember that if you’re using this photo on your fan page (to boost it) or you’re building an ad for Facebook, it’s gotta contain less than 20% text.

You can use the highly inaccurate “Grid Tool” that Facebook provides (and uses as their scale for disapproving ads).

Now, after that it’s all about the design.

How many fonts should you use in one photo?

Well, according to EngageInteractive, “3 is a crowd.

That said, though, I kinda like a crowd; especially if they’re partying well together. Know what I mean?

Over three fonts is a bit excessive, but if you’re going to create your own photo-quote post, using three fonts will open up the opportunity to add some emphasis to a couple key words using the font-style and size.

Here’s a couple examples of this thinking in action:

(notice the words that REALLY pop out are a different font from the main one?)

How different are your fonts from one another?

It’s important for your fonts to vary from one another enough so that we can see a clear difference. That’s how you make an expression!

Notice, how in the photos above, the words that POP out at you the most are the ones that vary significantly from the main font-style.

#3 – Colors, Vibrance, & Brightness

Just like with borders, you’ll want to work with colors that contrast each other, but don’t overwhelm the eyes.

Photos with HD color and vibrance are most attractive… and tend to absorb most of the likes and shares.

So, if you’re going for a more organic feeling photo (like an iPhone shot), you might consider playing with the brightness and exposure to bring up the vibrance of your photo a bit.

You can also use colors to affect your audience on a psychological (even physiological) level. Use a red border to create of a vibe of energy, intensity, and excitement.

…Or maybe you’re going for a cooler, calmer, more focused vibe… You’d want to use a shade of blue.

#4 – Background image (fade or darken or nothing)

If you’re creating a post that includes a quote or some text, you’ve got three choices as it goes with your background image…

Lighten it up.

Darken it.


Do nothing at all.

Let’s get into what each of these entails.

Lighten it up: If you choose to lighten your background image (recommended for a darker font color) you can do this by simply decreasing the opacity of the image (ensuring that your background color is white).

Now, the same applies if you’re going to…

Darken it: If you go this route, usually because you’ve got lighter font colors, then you’ll reduce the opacity with a black (or dark colored) background color.

If you do nothing and keep the image intact, as it is, then you’ll continue to #5 and follow those instructions…

#5 – Add A Transparent Background Behind Your Text

If the photo you’re using is a bit dark or has many colors that just don’t work with the visiblity of your text, a simple fix is to decrease the opacity to a level where you can better see the text and the image is more faded into the background (which is typically white by default but can be changed to black).

This is what we talked about int #4.

Now, while I’d like to say it’s easy to explain how to do this, it’s MUCH easier if I just show you. Watch this video to learn how to add your own transparent backgrounds behind your text…

So, there you have it.

A little “intermediate” but with some practice, you’ll be able to create these sorts of effects with your images just as quickly.

#6 – HD Photo Are Essential (Pixabay)

Back to HD photos.

Finding these types of images and graphics have since 2014ish gotten much easier. Royalty-free, FREE image-collections are all over the web now. My personal favorite is Pixabay.

Here’s a few additional royalty-free, free photo databases:

The reason you want to be using HD images (besides the fact that they just look way better than a fuzzy, pixelated photo) is because your audience has come to associate crisp, clear images with professionalism and HIGH-craft.

HD photos are also prized by big social media platforms like Facebook.

When it comes to advertising, Facebook would rather you use a HD photo than a clipart picture or a screenshot with lots of red circles and arrows.

So, it makes sense that Facebook would also like these types of photos in the “organic” newsfeed.

#7 – Mobile-readability (text must be big enough)

“For starters, there are 3.65 billion unique global mobile users.” (

So, it’s clear that we, as marketers, have really got to make our photos and images (especially the text in them) more readable on a mobile device.

Here’s a quick way to check if your photo will look good on an iPhone…

  1. Open your iMessage app on your MacBook or desktop computer.
  2. Start a new text message to yourself.
  3. Drag the photo into the “message” area and hit send.
  4. Open the message on your iPhone and view it in full-screen mode.
  5. Does it look good?

If you can clearly and easily read your text and see a clear image, you’re good to go.

Another bonus test is to send it to one of your buddies or show them your phone to see if they can make out what it says and communicates.

#8 – Clarity: Representation of message

Nothing says “sketchy” like a photo mashed up with some text that has absolutely no congruency. Make it worse by sending your prospect off to a site that looks and feels nothing like the photo.

Clarity of message is essential.

Better to have a boring looking photo that accurately and clearly represents what you’re trying to communicate, that a bright, crazy, somewhat controversial image that says absolutely nothing about you or your products & services.

Go for clarity, use it as your foundation, and then get creative and colorful.

#9 – Watermark

Last one here.

If you’re the sole-creator of your photo, you might want to grab some additional “credit” for it by watermarking your photos with your Website name & logo.

I do with with LeapTribe sometimes by adding a low-opacity logo (so it’s faded into the picture and not too distracting)

Adding the URL of your website is another great way to potential attract more visitors to your blog if someone else shares your photo.

Some Closing Words

Posting a photo on your Facebook profile or into your twitter feed is a lucrative marketing strategy… And posting the RIGHT photos is even more lucrative.

Get clear about who your audience is…

Invest just a few more minutes into your photo-post, and the results you see will improve.

Find value in this post?

What was your favorite photo-tip? Let me know in the comments below!

About Nick Haubner

Nick is an innovative entrepreneur and thought-leader. He's always coming up with new angles and "gamified" elements to engage his audience in a way that's not only educational, but fun & rewarding. And, with 7+ years of meticulous studies of various religions, philosophies, and ways of being, he blends his own unique perspective with these "ideas" to bring you a deep (yet easy to understand & lighthearted) view of the World that'll open your eyes and inspire you to dig deeper into yourself to be the BEST you that you can be. Enjoy!

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