This guest post was written by Katie. Find her over at her crafty blog, Lemon Jitters, for lots of inspiration and fun projects!
Hi, leShrimpers! While Lindsay is gallivanting around Europe (me: jealous!), I am here to talk about photo layouts in your blog posts. I think photo layouts are a big piece of creating a consistent and pleasing blog aesthetic. When I look back at my very first blog posts, the photo layouts make me cringe. You can learn a lot from other blogs about what makes a good layout. I am going to share several of my favorite layouts and why I like them.
Please remember that these are examples of great design that should serve as inspiration to create your own beautiful photo layouts - not to directly copy anything from the layouts featured here.
This photo layout from Creature Comforts is a great example of clean, minimalist lines. This type of layout lets the images do the talking. Creating a title tab in our images (in this image, "DIY wooden rack") can tie the photo layout to our blog aesthetic. I also like how this layout has the image credit built right in to the photo. That way, when the image makes it way to Pinterest, it is clear who the original creator is (I should take note of doing this for my own blog!).
Oh Joy! creates some of my favorite layouts. She frequently uses this number layout. The number layout serves several purposes. First of all, it's incredibly cute. It also creates a visual center for the photo layout. See how this layout has several types of images that do not have a strong, central visual theme? By themselves, the images do not have a lot in common in terms of color palette or shapes. The numbers pull it all together and 'make it work.'
Donaville, of Discover Paper, is an awesome graphic designer. She is not afraid to go bold with her colors or layouts. This layout achieves a couple of functions. One, labeling each image as 'Figure 1, 2, etc' makes it easy for the reader to find the original source linked in your post - the reader just looks for the 'Figure 1' link. However, I think the best thing about this layout is the strong branding statement. Consistently using that graph paper background in photo layouts creates a link in the viewer's mind: graph paper background = Discover Paper blog post. Think about how many blog readers read our blogs in some type of RSS feed/Reader. That means they do not get to experience our blog aesthetic as a whole. If I am scrolling through a 1000+ blog posts in my Reader, what catches my eye? A consistent photo layout. All I can see in my Reader is a layout and some text. So let's make the layout count!
Hello, one of my favorite layouts. There are a lot of things I like about this layout by Note to Self. Removing the backgrounds from photos (or using images with white backgrounds) really creates a clean palette. A white background is nice because then we can add those nifty number boxes without the image looking cluttered. And I like that this layout is not just square. Because of the white background, the image is full of different lines. Creating posts like these can be a bit more time consuming than a posts with square photos because you have to make the image shapes work together (I'm going to call this 'visual flow', k? Pretty sure that is not a real term.). The end result is great, though.
Be still, my heart. This layout from SF Girl By Bay is really pretty. First of all, she chose a color theme for the photos. Fantastic. I also like the slivers of white space in between the photos (I do this in my photo layouts). I think those bits of white let your eyes rest. Other awesomeness in this photo layout: a big title header. I also do this. The reason I think this is a great tool - it creates consistency in your blog features. For instance, I am currently blogging every Monday about my bike rides and I use the same header every time. This creates brand familiarity and the feeling that the reader has something to look forward to every week. Also, let's not forget how this layout ties the header into the entire layout by using a little emblem with the same background for the numbers. SO CUTE. That also makes our lives easier because we don't have to find a color for the numbers that will stand out on every image. We create our own background so we can use the same color number every time and put it wherever we want on the photo.
And we can always add bold text on top of our images. This achieves many of the functions we've already covered: brand recognition, consistency, ease of creation for the blogger. Donaville from Discover Paper also owns Dearest Nature. This strawberry post (which I wrote!) is one of the many great layouts she uses. See how she writes the title right over the photo? And that other photo is a recent tutorial I did. I am a fan of creating a semi-translucent backgrounds for my title text.
Mrs. Lilien has the most visually stunning posts I have ever seen (not to mention - she rhymes every line of every post!!). She creates magnificent shapes with her photo layouts. Every layout is a work of art. I just grabbed a recent one to show you. I always know a Mrs. Lilien post when I see it - each layout is infused with her distinct, bold style. Her photo layouts ooze personality - a bright personality that is clearly displayed in her text, as well. Mrs. Lilien is a lot about luxuries in life and I think her photo layouts reflect that.
WHEW. I didn't even cover all of my favorites! There are so many great layouts for inspiration. I hope some of these have your wheels turning. All of these layouts can be created in Photoshop. Pugly Pixel is a great blog that offers pretty layouts you can use in Photoshop.
Guess what? The fun isn't over! I created a simple layout for you to try out in Photoshop.
Click here to download it.