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BBP #6 - Your pictures

With thousands of things to read online, people don't tend to linger over unattractive pages. Your blog looks clean and welcoming, so they settle in to read. Pictures are a great way for your readers to get to know you. They are also a great way for them to hear about you in the first place. Pictures share well on pinterest and facebook and can draw readers in to visit.

First things first, ADD PICTURES! It doesn't really matter if you don't have a picture to go with the story you want to tell. Share a completely unrelated photo from your week. Share an opensource image that does relate to what you're writing. Or something completely random. Just get a picture in there. Pinterest is a huge driving force for blog traffic and if there is no image, there is no pinning your post.

As said before, store your images on a hosting site, such as Photobucket, and link up from there. Pictures that are uploaded from your computer or from Picasa can be lost if your files are ever rearranged on your computer (pictures stored in online picasa albums are fine).

Next, make it big. No, really, make it really big. In fact, crop it down so that the background disappears and you are focused tightly on an image. Then choose the "X-Large" setting when you upload it.

Blogger has a cheesy shadow that isn't terribly attractive. Removing the blogger shadow is easy with this tutorial by B.You.

Consider whether or not to add a frame. If your image has a solid background, such as pure white or black without interruption, it does not need a frame. If it is busy, with lots of activity at the edges, it needs a frame. These are incredibly easy to do with picmonkey. The hardest part is waiting for the file to save. Downloading finished pictures from picmonkey and then uploading the pictures back to photobucket are the most lengthy part of blogging for me. All said, it's maybe 3 minutes, but it's a long three minutes. That said, I always forget to add a frame. Most of my pictures probably need one. I'm lazy.

Adding a handy Pin-it button to your images is easy to do. Here is a tutorial by Kevin & Amanda to walk you through it.

We Lived Happily Ever After has a great post describing how to make your pictures pin-worthy and what that means for your traffic.

When it comes to taking pictures in the first place, there are a million tutorials on Pinterest. Start a board and start practicing. Think of it as a photography class. Enjoy learning a new skill. And it REALLY IS possible to get a good picture out of a point-and-shoot. #1 tip for getting good pictures from a point and shoot: Turn Off Your Flash. No flash. Keep a steady hand, have plenty of light, and don't use your flash. Also, rather than zooming way in to get a close up, you need to stand Close Up.

In the meantime, start saving for a DSLR. If you have a Sam's Club handy, the Cannon Rebels go on sale for $600-800 every February. They come in kits with two lenses and a camera bag.

A great way to edit pictures is through Picasa, which is a free download and has great picture editing tools. It is probably worth a post all on its own though, so I'll leave you with these assignments.

Assignment #1 
Get a picture into every post. Make it BIG.

Assignment #2 
Remove the Blogger Shadow

Assignment #3 
Add a Pin-It button

Assignment #4 
Work on your photography skills, picture sizing, and always upload your posts to pinterest!

Assignment #5
Share how you're doing. Leave a comment and show off your progress!

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