How Do I Create More Professional Images For My Business?

More Professional images
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Scroll down to the bottom of this post and get your free Professional Images PDF.

It includes this post plus a handy Professional Images Checklist that you can use to check the quality of your images.

That’s a great question!

And one that we are asked most often, so I thought it was time to put a useful cheat sheet together on some of the basic things you should do that contribute towards producing a professional looking image.

And at the end of the post you’ll find a PDF  which you can download and keep handy as it  has more tips.

So here are our thoughts together with examples, in no particular order…

1. Use the right sized photo for the job

The Symptom: Stretching and distortion of the image

This is pretty fundamental to be honest.

But how many ‘stretched’ photos have you seen on Facebook or Google Plus cover images?

An image that looks stretched is definitely going to look unprofessional.
First impressions do count!

Here’s a ‘Before & After’ example of a stretched Facebook cover image.

professional images best size

Original Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretched image

Image Stretched to Fit

 

The Solution:

  • Use an image that is the exact size or larger than the size of the cover image.

In the example of the Facebook cover photo, the exact size is 851 pixels x 315 pixels.
Ideally resize/crop the image to this exact size (or at least reduce the size) but you
must maintain the same aspect ratio. We’ll be writing about exactly how to do this in an upcoming post so bookmark our site so you don’t miss this.

  • Do not stretch an image to fit the space as this will create a stretched/distorted image.
  • It’s best to use an image that is the same orientation.

The Facebook header is a landscape style image – greater width than height -and it makes it much easier to resize the photo if you start with a landscape photo.

Using a portrait style photo (greater height than width) means you’re likely to not have sufficient width in the photo to fit the space.

[content_box_yellow width=”75%”]Don’t stretch your image to fit – use the exact size or larger[/content_box_yellow]

 

2. Use the same font consistently

The Symptom:  Stretching and squashing your text to fit the space

In the following diagram:

Professional images using fonts

Don’t squash or stretch your text

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – shows the original text

#2 – the text has been stretched

#3 – the logo has been squashed (and stretched!)

When the text has been stretched or squashed to fit the space, this cheapens the effect and it doesn’t look professional.

The Solution:

If you need to increase or decrease the size of the text, make sure you do this in proportion to each other.

Some programmes will do this automatically (e.g. ipiccy, Canva, PicMonkey).  

Otherwise you might try holding down Control +Shift at the same time whilst resizing as this increases/decreases the size proportionately.Don’t stretch or squash your copy to fit the space!

 

3. Use drop shadows with care

There’s quite an art in using drop shadows and very often if they’re not used properly it can cheapen the whole effect of the image.

Here’s a simple example:

Professional images drop shadows

Use drop shadows with care

There’s also a growing trend in using ‘flat design’. This is design without the drop shadows, flashy buttons, bubbles, gradients, complicated textures and any other shiny effects, focussing instead on simplicity

Out of these two examples here which do you prefer?

The top or the bottom image?

Let us know in the comments below.

If in doubt, leave drop shadows out.

 

4. The use of contrast

Don’t make people have to squint to read your message.

  • On a dark backgrounds make your font light

  • On light backgrounds make your font dark

and ensure there is enough contrast between the text and the background.

[content_box_yellow width=”80%”]Make sure there is contrast between your text and the background[/content_box_yellow]

Professional Images Use Contrast

Make sure there’s enough contrast

 

 

5. How do you spell amature?

[content_box_yellow width=”70%”]Avoid spelling mistakes by turning on your spell check and using it![/content_box_yellow]

Granted it won’t help in this example, so if there are words that you’re not sure about, look in the dictionary or ask a friend to double check for you.

This one is so simple to fix but if you’re anything like me, is one of the biggest turn offs.

Professional Images Check Spelling

Always check your spelling

 

 

 

 

 

6. Crop images to improve them

Crop out the boring, unnecessary bits focussing on the main subject.

This is much easier to show than tell , so here is an example:)

In Image #1, there is no focus in the photo and so it’s a little boring.

By simply focussing in on one person in that same photo it becomes much more interesting particularly if you want to link it to a relevant topic.

In this case it could be something linked to a worried looking female.

Professional images cropping

Crop to improve your image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Not properly removing a white background
in an image

How many times have you been to a website where the main header is a certain color, and it has images (with white backgrounds) that have been haphazardly pasted on there?

Something like this:

Professional image with white background

Bits of the white background remain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s really no excuse these days for this to happen even if you don’t own Photoshop!

There are plenty of tools to help you remove this white background completely – Clipping Magic is a good one.

You can remove the background where the image is complex as it is here, with a more sophisticated tool like Gimp  and use our tutorial showing you how.

Or you can simply create your image and save it as a PNG file.

 

8. Keep to 2 to 3 colours

Colour can be a powerful way to communicate your message.

But not every colour on the same image.

Resist the urge to use lots of colours in your message. Choose 2 or 3 that represent your business and use them consistently in your messages.

You can see the difference this makes in this Before and After shot here.

By the way, this goes for using fonts as well. Just keep to a couple, otherwise your message will look unprofessional.

Take a look at these Before and After images. Which do you think looks more professional?

More professional images for my Blog

Stick to 2 to 3 colours and 2 fonts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best way to use these techniques

So to all of you who asked us the question on how to make your images look more professional, this is what I say to you:

  • Download the post as a PDF and refer to it often
  • The next image you make, use at least one of these techniques in it.
  • And in the next image use another one.

Just imagine the sense of achievement you’ll feel because you will have made your image more professional looking  and even better you’re more likely to get more comments and shares on the image.

It is worth doing this.

For you and your readers!

Caroline signature

 

 

 

Free PDF & Checklist

create professional images
This PDF features the full text of this post plus a checklist you can use to confirm that your next image looks professional.

It’s free! Sign up below and you’ll get the PDF in your inbox shortly.

 

 

 

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About The Author

Caroline Jones

I’m Caroline and I look to help small business owners create their own graphics by writing tutorials and tips on graphics editing software. I live in Wales , love Tartan and Coffee Ice Cream. You can read more about me here

  • romi

    Can’t get the PDF , this is the message i get. What it can get wrong ?
    Fatal error: Uncaught exception

    • Hi there Romi – thanks for bringing this to our attention. there seems to be some gremlins in the system so I am sending you the PDF via email. – Caroline

  • Deidra

    I don’t see any votes on whether people like the drop shadow or not in #3. I like the one with the drop shadow, at least for this photo. Much more dramatic and a little spooky looking to go with the image.

    • Hi Deidra – yes, I don’t think I emphasised the point as much as I should have because yes, the drop shadow looks okay on this shot. But I have seen some shockers!

  • Robin Strohmaier

    Excellent article, Carolyn! I couldn’t agree with you more on all 8 points. I love how you have included visual graphics to illustrate your points on each one. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

    • Robin – A lot of people (me included) learn much better when I can see what it is I’m supposed to do..

  • Nifty-Nifty

    Thank you for sharing this. I came over here from Post Planner’s Canva recommendation. I’m stuck on Canva – it will not let me ‘link and publish’ because it’s still uploading my pictures? Any suggestions, or alternatives?

  • Roz

    I’ve been enjoying making my own graphics, mainly using Ribbet.com and although people like them, I see a number of things I can improve using your tips.Thank You.

    • Hello Roz – I think for most of us there’s room for improvement!

  • SueKearney

    Caroline, hooray for sharing your wisdom. I’m a typographer and designer and now a blogger, and care passionately about all these things. I’m probably in the minority, but I’ve been known to do dark type on a dark background (or light on light) with a judicious application of a glow or a shadow for readability. Keyword is probably judicious here. It’s good to have a great designer when you’re getting started, someone who can download key principles to you as you go…right?

    • Hi Sue – I think it’s like a lot of things. Once you have the basics down, then you can begin to manipulate around those basics with that knowledge.

  • Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing! Love your site!

    • Hi Gay – hope you can use these in your own biz!

  • Delia @ Blog Formatting

    These tips are fantastic, Caroline, wow. Thanks for sharing them!

    • Hi Delia – you’re very welcome.

  • Eva

    I am guilty! I know! Will get better – thanks!

    • Hi Eva – with an attitude like that I’m quite sure you will!

  • Len

    Great information, Caroline – Thanks for sharing!

  • Gaida

    Hi Caroline, Great suggestions on how to make our images more professional..

    • Thank You Gaida. Which do you think is the easiest to implement?

      • Gaida

        Caroline, I would think the spelling one would be (I always won the spelling comps).for some maybe not so easy. I love cropping. But easiest one would be possibly #2 same fonts & #8 colours