Five Reasons to Add Words to Your Craft Photos

craft notions with words
Do you add text to your blog photos?
Ever wonder if you should?
I would venture to say that most of us are visual learners.
You’ve heard it before: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Would adding words to your photo make it worth two thousand words? This is a debatable question and also a personal style choice.

Most people scan your blog post and do not read every single word. Including text within the image could make it easier for your readers to skim your tutorial and decide if they can tackle that project.

Below are five reasons to use more text within pictures:

1. Protect your work

Bloggers feel very strongly for or against photo watermarks. Some find them distracting. Some complain that it takes too much effort to add one.

My thoughts? I do not find them distracting, especially if a watermark is small or transparent. It takes me seconds to add my watermark to a photo.

Why bother adding a watermark to your photos? To protect your blog’s brand and your intellectual property.

It is awesome to see one of my projects featured on another site. Most bloggers are courteous about listing my blog as the photo source. But sometimes it just a link and: “Cute Thread Collection {via}“. Now the blogger is giving me credit. But unless one clicked on the link, their readers would have no clue who made that sweet thread collection.

Why not remind them? By adding a watermark to my pictures, readers everywhere (not just on my blog) will be able to associate that cute project with the Madigan Made name. In a way, it helps promote my blog as a brand.

Similarly, in the world of Google images, many people will copy an inspiring picture to save for later.

“I found this picture, but I can’t remember where.”

How many times have you read that on a blog? Now when they save one of my pictures, there is no excuse.

And I hate to say it, but there is a nasty side to blogging. I’ve yet to come across it myself, but some low-life bloggers will take your photos and words and pass them off as their own.  Granted, adding a watermark will not stop all of those thieves, but it could slow them down.

I love taking photos for my blog! I work hard to get the shot I want and edit it. It is ‘my’ image. If I can protect my work (and my blog’s name) in this small way, I will.

2. Clarify Instructions

Sometimes it is difficult to describe a step in a craft tutorial with just words. That is why any great craft post will include pictures. And for really complex steps, adding text to the photo can clarify what you mean.

I find sewing tutorials, in particular, daunting and complex. For a great example of using instructional text on photos, check out this sewing tutorial by Jessica at Running with Scissors (guest post on Tatertots and Jello). Jess shows us that sewing is really not so hard! (But why am I still scared of sewing more than just straight lines?!?)

3. Label and Name Stuff

It might be useful to label your pictures for readers. A classic example of photo labels would be before/after photos. You also may want to use labels to point out certain objects within your photo.

Allison from House of Hepworths often names items in her pictures. I find it helpful to be able to see what object she is specifically talking about (like in this post).

4. Summarize or Title Your Project

Your readers are smart and may be able to deduce from just a picture that you made a super cute blue ruffled pillow. But do they know that all the materials came from the dollar store?

Consider the fact that you have seconds to capture the attention of your readers before they click away. Spelling out what the project is in a single image makes sense.

Think about labeling your pictures to be clear what the project is about like:  “Ruffled Blue Dollar Store Pillow” or “Vanilla Chai Latte Cupcakes.”

I love how Amy from Positively Splendid adds text to her photos to describe her projects. (like in this post) She uses the picture at the opening of her post. In one quick glance her readers can see the final project and get a brief summary of what it is supposed to be. If you look in her sidebar, she adds one of these titled pictures there, too.

5. Add Personality

By including a few fun comments or labels on a photo you can share a bit more about yourself with your readers. Mix it up a little and have fun with the addition of clever text.

It is not like this girl needs more personality…  But occasionally Kim from A girl and a glue gun will add some text to her photos that takes her sense of humor above and beyond normal (like in this post or this one).

How can you add text to a photo?

Any photo editing software should allow you to add text. And if you don’t want to purchase photo software, there are some free programs out there like Picasa, Picnik and Photoscape. (I personally use Photoscape to add text. It ‘remembers’ the last word I added, which typically was my watermark. That makes adding a watermark quick and easy.)

And here a few more tips if you do decide to use text on your photos:

  • Limit Your Fonts: Don’t follow the photo examples in this post. I’d advise keeping the number of different fonts you use on your photos to a minimum (maybe 2-3). By keeping your fonts consistent from post to post, it helps create a cohesive look on your blog.
  • Keep it Simple: This is just my opinion, but I like to use simple and easy to read fonts for my text. Yeah, that fancy or super scroll-y font is darling… but it could also be hard to read at first glance. However, there is no rule here! If that fun font is ‘totally you’, go for it! Do what what works for you.
  • Use Text Sparingly: Less is more. Be selective about how and where you use text. Sure, my photos might have a small watermark, but not every photo needs labels or instructions. Sometimes the photo can speak for itself.
  • Save the Originals: You never know when you might need a text-free version of that picture. Save the original file, just in case Nate Berkus or Martha Stewart comes calling! (Hi Nate, hiii!)

Maybe try to start employing one or two of these approaches listed above. I already apply watermarks to all my photos. I do not use style #3 or #4 much. But I plan to make use of method #2 (adding instructions) more in the future.

As with all aspects of blogging, the choice is yours. This is a personal style decision and using NO words is also acceptable.

So, will you consider adding more text to your craft photos?

About the Author:

Madigan blogs daily at Madigan Made, but that’s not her real name.  We love that she’s so mysterious – and in addition love the fact that she’s an avid crafter, a novice cook and (of course) a great blogger.  Don’t forget to visit her blog . . . connect with her on Facebook and Twitter as well.

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19 Responses to “Five Reasons to Add Words to Your Craft Photos”

  1. I LOVED this article. And the fact that I ran across my own name and a link to my blog made me so excited! Like, I’m giddy excited. Thanks Madigan for thinking of me.

    I love adding text to my photos. It makes the how-to’s so much easier to follow! Plus, with my sense of humor, sometimes it’s just fun to say something random on a photo. What’s even funnier if is that random photo gets featured somewhere. Those poor readers have no idea what you are talking about, which usually means they will click through to read your whole post!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love Crafterminds. This website is fantastic.


    Allison @ House of Hepworths

  2. Allison @ HouseofHepworths is the Queen of this – and it’s so great! I love reading her posts, but the text on her captions are a riot! It’s a great way to infuse a little humor, or simply more instructions.

    I need to do this! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Kristi G says:

    It’s true! I do enjoy HoH tutorials! Thanks for the article! I’m not really blogging right this moment, but I plan on starting in the future. I really enjoy it!

  4. Thanks so much for the opportunity to post here today!

  5. Tabitha says:

    I’ve used Before/After and have numbered a collage, but that’s it. You made several excellent points (especially about the photo thieves) and have given me lots to think about. And a watermark to design, apparently. lol Thanks for the great article! 🙂

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Tabitha!

      You don’t have to go crazy creating a fancy watermark. I simply add a text box in the corner of my photos with my blog’s name. I just keep the font similar from post to post so it is consistent.

  6. I just recently started watermarking my photos. I love the idea of adding more text to the photos. It does give it a more personal feel.

  7. Christine says:

    Not only did you provide sensible and outstanding reasons for this important tool, you gave clear cut examples as well. Thank you for the great article!

  8. Drew says:

    This is fantastic. I was just considering using some text in my pictures as well – perhaps in the last of the five ETSY photos to show blogs or sites to make sure that these links are noticed. But this has certainly made me consider watermarking

  9. Steph says:

    I just tried this today, along the lines of #3. You couldn’t tell exactly what was in my photo, and I have no more of it (party favors that I already passed out) so I can’t retake the picture. Adding a label made a huge difference! Thanks!

    But I reeeeaally should add a little watermark to my photos.

  10. Great post, and some useful ideas about adding text to images (I rarely do that).

    While watermarks can be useful to help people figure out where they found the photo in the first place, they don’t offer any real protection against your images being stolen. It takes seconds to remove watermarks – anyone who wants to take your image will do so.

    A handy tool to find out where you image is being used is

    • Kitty – You are right. If someone really wants to remove a watermark, I’m sure it is not hard. But at least it gets ‘my name’ out there when the photo is seen on other blogs.

      Thanks for the reference about tin eye! That looks pretty neat. I need to check it out.

  11. Great article! I used to do more text on photos, and will now get back into the “groove.” : )

    And, even if someone can remove a watermark, it often isn’t worth their time.

    An analogy would be – I lock my car every time I leave it in a parking lot. Sure, it is simple enough to “jimmy” the lock… but wouldn’t the thief rather move on to an unlocked car?

    Photo thieves are often looking for the “easy way out.” Adding a watermark is a good deterrent. : )

  12. kimbowest says:

    oh..thanks for including me…I love this post…i think words add so much. kinda just pushes it over the edge into looking like a professional. i use picnik and love it!

  13. This was a wonderful post. I have sometimes added words to my pictures but never thought about it ending up on someone elses site. Maybe someday I’ll be with the cool kids. Anyway, thanks for the great tip.

  14. Jennifer says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I was just thinking about text in photos the other day. I like them because they just add more creativness to a photo.

  15. Lots of good points there; I always watermark my pics and sometimes add instructions on them but will probably do this more often now, especially on my sewing projects!

  16. Lynda says:

    Great ideas that I will use. I found via my Wassup that a blogger had posted about one of my techniques and just gave me a link. (I found this here.) Didn’t even mention my site. So from now on, all of my pictures will have a watermark. But I also love the other ideas. I always put explainations under the pictures but why not in them? Makes sense to me.Thanks a bunch!


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