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Tired of pinning images that don’t receive the attention they deserve? You’re not alone. It’s difficult to create shareable images, especially in the sea of millions of images that circulate around Pinterest daily. But while it may be difficult, it isn’t impossible.
The secret to getting people to share your Pinterest images (i.e., repin your work) is the same secret to writing tweets that people will retweet and gaining more views for your YouTube videos: creating strong, consumable content that’s presented in the most aesthetically-pleasing, user-friendly manner.
People will only share things that they can feel proud about sharing. In the context of Pinterest, that means your images must be beautiful. Not just pretty or above average. Beautiful. Here are some tips that will help you get there.
Less Is More
On Pinterest, you’re fighting for the viewer’s attention. At any given moment, they can click away to that other fancy image before they had a chance to share yours. One effective way to not only snag but keep a viewer’s attention is with a tightly focused image that immediately draws their eyes to the subject.
Crop and be ruthless about it. Why? Because cropping rids the image of clutter, reducing the amount of visual noise that bombards the viewer. When there’s too much noise, the viewer doesn’t know what they should be looking at so they get tired or bored of searching, and move on.
Before pinning an image to your Pinterest board, ask yourself: “What’s included in this image that doesn’t HAVE to be in there?” Crop out everything that’s inessential. Similarly, when you’re taking photos, angle the shot in such a way as to eliminate background clutter.
Rule of Thirds
Ready for some paradoxical advice? When you want to focus on something in an image, don’t center it. If you do, the image won’t feel properly balanced. In fact, it’ll feel artificial and amateur. What you want to do is adhere to the rule of thirds.
Take your image and, in your mind, separate it into a grid of 3×3 equal sections. Horizontal lines in the image itself should fall on one of the two horizontal gridlines, while vertical lines in the image should fall on one of the two vertical gridlines. To draw the most focus, put the subject of the image at an intersection of gridlines.
This tip alone will instantly kick your image up a notch and will help it look less amateur.
Tall, Not Wide
The past decade has seen a huge obsession with widescreen capabilities, but all that gets thrown out the window when talking about Pinterest. One look at the website’s layout will tell you why: the Pinterest columns are designed to have tight widths with an informative meta box below the image, resulting in more vertical space than horizontal space.
Not that wide images are bad. It’s just that images look better on Pinterest if they’re in a tall format. Look at the screenshot above and see for yourself. Which pins are more likely to immediately catch your eye?
Note: Not every image will look good in tall format. Sometimes you’ll lose important details by cropping out the sides, other times the image just won’t look as nice. Just keep this tip in mind as a general rule of thumb: when possible, choose tall over wide.
Lighting and Color
Different lighting conditions can dramatically alter the mood and clarity of a photo. Try an experiment where you take multiple photos of the exact same subject in the exact same location under different types of light. The results will blow you away. In general, the best time to take a picture is during the day when there’s a lot of natural lighting (i.e., sunlight).
When pinning an image that isn’t a photograph, this tip still applies in the form of color manipulation in post-production. Using various image-editing techniques like color balancing, saturation, and filter effects, you can tweak an image to further emphasize or mask certain details.
Proper lighting and color is one of the most important ways to make your photos feel more professional and, therefore, shareable. Lighting techniques is a huge topic that exceeds the scope of this article, but a quick search on any search engine should get you started on the right path with specifics.
Go Easy On the Effects
On the topic of effects, be sure you don’t overdo them. These days, it’s incredibly easy to download an app that applies visual effects on your photos, but the danger is that you might go overboard and apply too many of them. One or two is fine, but remember that the “less is more” principle is fitting here.
Instagram users are often ridiculed (at least from what I’ve seen and experienced) for their tendency to apply filters simply for the sake of applying filters. Don’t fall into that trap. If you want to go for a certain look, that’s cool. If it looks like you’re just filtering because the option is there, there’s a good chance viewers will see through it.
For more tips and tricks on making your Pinterest images as beautiful as they can be, check out these photography tips for absolute beginners. If all you have is a smartphone, don’t worry, you can still take some good photos with it too.
If you’re not taking your own photos, the tips above can still apply. Even if you don’t know how to use apps like Photoshop, you can do some amazing tricks with simple online image-editing tools.
Do you have any advice on how to garner more shares on Pinterest? Voice your thoughts in the comments!