Guest Post: Five Musts for Pictures That Pop

[Professional photographer Morgan Ione Yeager is our guest writer today, sharing tips for making your online images better. Want more tips for using pictures on the Web? Check out Communicate Better Through Imagery.]

By Morgan Ione Yeager

Very often the simple inclusion or exclusion of a particular element can either result in a great photo or in a great photo gone wrong. Here are some details to pay attention to while choosing the photos you upload to your website or use for other media. Also, learn some simple tricks to capture better images in the first place and therefore cut down on editing time.

1. The man who grew a pole out of his head.

Are you looking at the chef or the pole on his head?

Are you looking at the chef or the pole on his head?

This one is really common. Once you start looking out for this you will notice it all the time and it will drive you crazy! Be aware of any kind of vertical or horizontal line that is in the background and behind a person’s head. It can create an odd intersection or look as though person has a weird protrusion. Most often this happens with street poles/signs, door frames or tree branches.

2. Remember that bright colors draw the eye.

If the subject of the photo is in the center of the image, then that’s where you want the viewer’s eye to go … not to the person wearing a bright red shirt in the top right corner. Often a simple crop can get rid of distracting peripheral objects or people.

Flash spots are also something to look out for. Generally taking photos of people in front of mirrors or glass can leave you with a blinding white spot, which is very distracting. Professional photographers know how to manipulate light and use off-camera flashes that make these kinds of photos successful.

3. Don’t amputate your subjects.

The father of the bride is cropped at his wrist.

The father of the bride is cropped at his wrist.

This means try not to crop people at their joints. If you crop right at someone’s elbows, knees, neck, wrist, etc. it can often look very awkward.

A better crop, cropping them both mid-thigh.

A better crop, cropping them both mid-thigh.

4. Frame the image.

The vertical edge of the viewfinder was lined up with the vertical edge of the beach sign resulting in a straight and balanced image

The vertical edge of the viewfinder was lined up with the beach sign for a straight and balanced image

If you are taking a photo, try to frame the image by lining the vertical edge of the viewfinder up with something vertical you see through the viewfinder. This will create a more balanced image and will simply look more professional. If you are working with photos that are already shot, use the rotate and crop tool in your editing software to straighten the image. Again, use vertical and horizontal lines to gauge how straight the image is.

5. Simpler is often better.


The photo has been cropped to eliminate the clutter and make the pole less obvious.

If there is too much going on in a photo it can be confusing. The viewer’s eye wanders restlessly, unable to find a place to focus or settle. Be aware of unnecessary props, extra people, any non-essential subjects or objects. Often cropping a bit tighter on the main subject can help.

About the Author

Guest blogger, Morgan Ione Yeager of Morgan Ione Photography, is a professional photographer based in New York. She specializes in shooting people, food, interiors and travel images. She travels all over New England to shoot for online and print publications, small businesses, restaurants and events.

View her portfolio and blog at:

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