You’ve gone through all the work of putting together a well-documented tutorial, taking pictures at every step, and describing each step in detail. But before anyone is going to read the tutorial, follow the steps, or even want to make the project, you need to draw them in with your “Glamor Shot.” Also known as “The Money Shot,” this picture is the last one you take, but the first one that appears in your posts. It is a picture of your finished project in all it’s glory. When composing this picture, here are some things to consider:
Time of Day
I’m not a photography expert, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but every photographer I’ve spoken with agrees that natural light looks best. Keeping this in mind, even if you’ve finally finished up your tutorial at 2am, wait until the next morning to take the final photo. Go outside or bring some natural light indoors through a window or open door.
Staging the Photo
Some projects look most appealing when they’re in use – they need to be staged to make sense. A napkin ring looks like what it is when it is holding a napkin in a place setting, and a bracelet becomes jewelry after being strung on a wrist. Without context, one might look like the other.
Staging also makes sense for objects that go together. A candlestick looks most natural holding a candle and set on a mantle. Staging can make sense for link-building within your own blog. Show a picture of a birthday banner hanging over a party table, and in the text you can link back to a recipe and another great craft that appear in the picture.
Even a plain-colored backdrop or drape of fabric behind a project might make it stand out more. As THE attention-grabbing device for your post, you want it to stand out and shine.
Size and Shape
When laying out your photo, consider the size and shape of the finished picture. If you plan on connecting the post to linky parties, which use square photos, consider making your glamor shot square so that you don’t have to worry about awkward cropping when linking up. If you get a lot of traffic from Pinterest, a long, skinny picture might work well so that it takes up more “real estate” in Pinterest, making it more likely to get noticed. Then again, if most of your traffic is from sharing your projects on your Facebook page, it is most important that the image looks good when shown as a small thumbnail.
Secret Crafty Tip: You can actually make TWO glamor shots. Put one at the very beginning of your post as the “isn’t his cool” picture, and another one at the very end as your “ta-da” photo. That way, when you want to link up to a party, you pick the square picture, but when you want to pin, you pick the long, skinny one.
I can’t think of a situation where you wouldn’t want to watermark your glamor shot. This “brands” your project (both literally and figuratively). For people reading your blog in a reader, they can quickly associate this awesome tutorial with your blog. If your project is featured on another blog (yay!), having a watermark on the picture ensures that the project stays recognizable as belonging to your blog. Watermarking is easy to do – read more about how to watermark photos in Picnik this Crafterminds post.
Some Bloggers post pictures in their blog sidebar of their most popular tutorials. These pictures look like ads or buttons, and have a picture of the finished project as well as the title of the project. If you do this or want to do this in the future, to successfully layout the button you need to consider where the title will fit when taking the picture.
You may also want to consider the resolution size of the finished image. If you think that you will want to print the picture in the future (for example – on a postcard or used in your media kit), you should save your picture in a high-resolution format, because printing requires a larger DPI. However, if you’re planning an e-book, you will want to save a smaller version of the picture to reduce the overall file size of the finished e-book. And regardless of future use, you’ll want a manageable-sized photo for your blog that looks great but doesn’t increase the load time of the page.
You don’t have to take each of these factors into account every time you take a glamor shot for a tutorial… but every project you complete should get a glamor shot of some kind.