How to create images for social media

In Social Media by Adam AllardLeave a Comment

Too often I see business owners posting very low quality cover photos on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. These images are usually distorted or positioned/cropped wrong because the business is trying to use the same image for multiple social media accounts.

Every social media site has different image size requirements

I say “requirements” loosely here. Technically, they’re recommendations. But realistically, they’re requirements. At least if you want to give a professional appearance to your customers. Imagine looking up a new company online, come to their Facebook page, and see that their cover photo has half of their text cut off. While it’s not a direct correlation to how they conduct business, some people do think like that – “if they can’t even take the time to do something as simple as cropping an image properly, I wonder where else they’re trying to cut corners.”

Creating high quality photos for social media is easy, most of the time

There are plenty of free online tools you can use to help you create some basic, high quality photos. And the best part (besides it being free of course) is that most of the time, all you need is a basic photo. If you’re creating a Facebook ad, your image can only contain less than 20% text, so just ensuring you have a high quality photo that’s sized and cropped properly will do the trick. Need a Facebook or Twitter cover photo? Find a high quality image, throw your logo on there, and some basic contact info. Perhaps change it up every now and then for promotions or what not. All of these you can do by yourself, for free, without any experience. Now with that, there are times when I need a professional graphic designer, at which point I will find a freelancer on something like Upwork or Fiver, but again, this is very rare.

5 simple steps to create high quality images

  1. Find a high quality image
  2. Find the dimensions you need
  3. Resize the image
  4. Crop the image
  5. Add text and make pretty

Step 1: Find a high quality image

These days, there are plenty of websites where professional (or up and coming) photographers will post their HD photos without any restrictions. This means that you can take their images and use them on your website without any worry of copyright infringement. You can take it, modify it, and rebrand it as your own, all for FREE! (However it is always a nice gesture to give a shoutout to the photographer/ artist though when using content they created)

Here is a list of some of my favorite websites to get high quality, HD, commercial free images:

Once you download the picture, the size is usually waaaayyyy too big. So you’ll want to resize your image. But before we resize it, we need to know what we’re resizing it to.

Step 2: Find the dimensions you need

As noted before, it’s important to realize that every social site will have different image size recommendations. In addition to the different sites, there’s also different uses. For instance, a Facebook news feed Ad will have different image size requirements than the Facebook cover photo. The YouTube header cover photo has different size requirements than the preview thumbnail photo. To find out, just do a quick Google search on something like “Facebook cover photo size” or “Twitter card image size”. It’s also important to keep in mind what the “safe zones” are. Here’s a link to Snappa blog that has different articles to explain this in more detail.

Step 3: Resize the image

Now that you have your picture and know what size you’re going for, it’s time to resize your image. For this, my favorite free tool to use is BeFunky.com. BeFunky’s free online version allows you to resize, crop, and download your image. And did I mention that this is FREE?!

Let’s say the image you plan on using (the one you downloaded from Unsplash) is about 6000 x 4000px, and you want to use this photo for a Facebook cover photo (which, at the time of this writing, is 820 x 312 px). Usually, you will want to resize the width first, this is because the width will have more space you want to “save” than the height. So go to BeFunky, click on the “Photo Editor” option at the top, upload your image that you saved from Unsplash, then click the “Resize” option. Resize your image by changing the width to 820px.

Make sure that you keep “Maintain aspect ratio” checked to ensure that your image doesn’t get distorted. Once the width changes to 820px, you will see the height has changed too in order to maintain the same ratio (image shape). Click the blue “Apply” button to save this change.

Step 4: Crop the image

Using BeFunky again, now you’ll want to crop the image to get the proper height size. Again, for this example we’re aiming for 312px. So click on the “Crop” option on BeFunky, keep the width at 820px, but change the height to 312px. Now you should see a window on your image that you can move around. Adjust the position of your cropping window to what you feel fits the best. Once you have it in the perfect position, click the blue “Apply” button to save your changes. Download your resized image.

Step 5: Add text and make pretty

Now you have your high quality image in the size / resolution / dimensions that you need it in. Perhaps, this is all you need. You could use / post the photo now, as is. However, sometimes you may want to add a little flair to your image, maybe some text, info about a promotion, contact info, etc. To accomplish this (for free and easy without any PhotoShop or Graphic Design knowledge), I go to Canva.com

Go to Canva, click on “Create a design”, then click on “Custom dimensions” in the upper right hand corner. Enter in your desired dimensions, in this example, 820 x 312 px.

Now you can upload your image, put it as the background, and add any text, shapes, borders, etc. using Canva all for free! Some people may have a natural talent for making images look good. Others may need some more inspiration, to which I’ll again direct you to Google. Just search for examples of what you’re trying to do, for instance, search “Dog promotion ad example.” Other ideas include looking up something like “Graphic design inspiration” on Pintrest.

Once you played around with the image enough and have it to your liking, download the image and post it to your social media. Now go and resize, crop, and edit the same Unsplash photo a couple more times for the different recommended resolution sizes for the other social media platforms you plan on posting to!

 

Care to share?

If you liked this article or the video above, I’d love it if you shared it on your favorite social media platform and gave it a “like” or two.

Let me know what you thought or if you have any other tips or suggestions for others to follow in the comments below!

 

“Happy Marketing”

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