4 Easy Steps for Creating a More Refined Blog Image

before & after side by side

Today I’m going to talk about some photoshop magic.  Specifically I’d like to share my current go-to method for making a blog cover photo.  A cover photo is essentially the first image that someone will see in your post and it is also the only photo that someone will see if they are following you on a blog reading server like bloglovin’.  That one photo could be the determining factor for someone clicking over to your post or passing on it and it also sets the tone for what’s to come.  Everyone likes a strong intro, and amazingly with only a few small modifications in photoshop it’s actually really easy!

There are so many ways to customize a cover photo so I’d encourage exploring options, but this is currently my favorite method.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 7.08.46 PM1.  Curves/Levels: This photo was taken from above looking down at some products on my desk.  The lighting was not ideal when the photo was taken and therefore the desk that is actually white has a grey tone to it.  To help reduce the grey I like to play with the curves or levels.  Simply go up to Image>Adjustments>Levels.  I usually only do one thing here- I pull the white triangle on the right under Input Levels until the photo looks brighter and the grey tone has gone down.  However, don’t push the triangle too far to the left or you’ll get an overexposed look.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 7.48.11 PM2. Brightness: You might be pretty happy with your photo after you’ve adjusted the levels, but if you like your photo really bright (like me!)  then you can also play with the brightness setting.  You’ll find the setting under Image>Adjustment>Brightness/Contrast.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 7.12.42 PM

3.  Add background color: The next thing I like to do is take one color from the photo and incorporate it into the negative space on the top of my photo.  Because I leave some blank space at the top of my image for the title I have the option of keeping that space white or adding a little color.  Lately I’ve been more inclined to add color.  I use my Eyedropper tool and simply hover over a color on the image that I want to use as my paint color.  Just click and that color will automatically be set as your next painting color.  Next, select your brush tool and then choose a brush that has a soft edge.  This is in part what creates a faded look.  The other aspect of creating a faded look is to lower the opacity on the color.  You can go over the image with your brush multiple times to make areas more opaque (like the edges), but some areas can be given a softer color, which will create that ombre effect.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.02.13 PM4.   Add a Title: The final step is to add your title.  Sometimes I use the same title as my blog post.  Other times I like to make the title a little more descriptive.  It’s totally a personal preference, but I would just keep in mind that this may be the only image that someone sees when deciding if they want to click over and see what your post is all about . . . no pressure ;-)

So there you have it!  Just some easy steps to create a nice first impression for your post.  Hope you found this helpful, and if you have other techniques that you use for creating your cover images I’d love to hear them!

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