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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