DIY: Create your own personalised pictures

Howdy guys,

So I’ve had a lot of requests about my pictures. People are always asking where I find them; if they’re my own or whether I source them from a third-party website. The bad news is that they are my own pictures, taken with my very expensive camera. But the good news is that you don’t need a R20,000 camera to get equally (if not better) quality images. So I thought I’d share my favourite online picture sharing site in this week’s Online DIY post.

Besides for being extremely time-consuming, doing your own pics also takes a lot of effort. Firstly you have to actually ‘go out’ to take the pics, and then you have to download and edit them in Photoshop to get it exactly how you want it. So not only do you need a good-ish camera, but you also need software, like Photoshop or Gimp or something.

Studies have proven that posts that contain a picture are much more likely to be ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ or ‘commented on’ or ‘retweeted’, etc. So weather you’re a small business who like to increase your social media following using images or an individual who just love pretty pictures (like me!), this post will certainly get you to your goal in no time.

**Hello, and welcome to the world of Canva.com**

For those of us who are not graphically inclined, creating anything that looks slightly presentable poses a colossal obstacle, especially if we are trying to come across as professional as possible. The great news is that with Canva, you don’t have to design anything. Yes, you heard me. They have a database of over a million designs and pictures and backgrounds to choose from so you’re bound to find whatever you’re looking for. You can create anything from posters to invitations to cards to web graphics to just a beautiful picture, and its easy as pie.

Step by step tutorial:

Log into www.canva.com and subscribe to the website. You will receive an email confirmation, confirm and you’re good to go.

Canva1

Firstly, pick your template. They have 20 options ranging from social media, poster and blog graphic. I selected the ‘social media’ template. It will open the board below;

Canva2

*Take note: if you hate spending additional money on designs, like me, then be careful not to select one of the pics that have the ‘Canva’ sign on the background. These are not free and you will be prompted for payment details once you’re ready to download the picture. So look out for that.

Right, so you have your blank canvas and you are ready to create an awesome personalised picture. You will see an options board on your left. Here you are able to pick your layout, your text, your background and in case you’d like to upload your own picture, you can choose the ‘uploads’ button. You can also search for a theme-related picture at the top (like Christmas or swim or summer… you get the point). So first you select the layout of your picture.

Next you can choose which text you’d like to add or change. You can choose the text font, the size, the colour, etc. You are also offered a selection of text banners should you wanna use them. Again, just look out of the ones that says ‘free’ when you hover your mouse over it.

Canva3

You can delete the text on the background picture and select a text banner, under the “Text” tab, if you’d like.

Canva4

Okay, so we’re just about done. Once you are happy with your picture and you’d like to download it, select the ‘Download or link’ tap at the top. It will take you to the screen below.

Canva5

Under “Publish” select; “Image”. Another pop-up will inform you that they are “preparing your image”. Usually the image will save to you ‘downloaded items’, depending on how your PC was set up. Once your picture has been downloaded, you can post it onto your social media sites or your website or save it as your PC background or whatever you choose.

*Tip: Another tip I always do is to personalise my pictures. I like to add my website’s address at the bottom of my pictures, as you can see in my example below. Branding should always be a priority for you and your business so I’d highly recommend this.

And voila! Your very own, highly professional-looking picture created all by yourself and without some fancy camera! Doesn’t it just look gorgeous?!

Honeycomb_Aim

Canva is an amazing tool for the clueless, and can come in handy for professionals too. It makes designing easy for everyone, but it’s not aimed only at amateurs. The simplicity and richness of the tools will get you coming back for more, and according to Canva’s developers, the current features are only 1% of what they have in store for us.

If you liked this little tutorial, please let me know so I can share more of these kind of tips with y’all. Please also share it if you think it could benefit some of your friends. As always, please subscribe to my blog (see top right hand side →). Please also follow me on twitter and follow my blog on facebook. I’ll be posting a lot more tutorials like this over the coming months.

Peace and love… xoxo

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New Facebook photo sizes (& cheat sheet)

Howdy guys,

As promised, here’s my very first DIY Online piece to aid businesses to become better communicators. I thought I’d start with one of my greatest pet peeves on Facebook. I’ve seen so many blurry cover and profile pictures from both businesses and individuals that I thought I’d compile a short, guide as to how to size your pictures when loading them onto Facebook. If you’ve been struggling with a blurry cover or profile picture, then this is a def must-read piece for you.

Pictures play an integral part in building an audience when starting your business’s Facebook page. And because pictures are visual, they are much more pleasing to the eye then just words on a blank piece of paper. People are more likely to click on a gallery or album than read long paragraphs of texts. I cannot overemphasize the importance of adding pictures daily to your company’s Facebook page. So go ahead and post some, your audience will lovit!

Working out what image sizes to use on Facebook isn’t as easy as it could be and involves some wrangling to get the result you want. Each type of image on a page, profile, and timeline has its own size and quirks, making it very difficult to memorise of all the various sizes.

What makes things even more fun is that Facebook changes things from time to time. Sometimes it’s a small, incremental tweak. Sometimes it’s an entire overhaul (like the new timelines that were introduced). So it’s always a bit of a moving target. And there always seems to be a new system just around the corner.

In March 2014, Facebook announced a new layout for the timeline of business pages. As of June, most pages were switched over. I’ve updated the information below to reflect the new layout. There’s a single column at the right with updates. The narrower column at left is for admin features and static information.

The new layout for business pages looks like this;

Aim_fb page layout

So lets start with the sizes of the cover picture on your Facebook page;

The Facebook Cover Photo is the large panoramic image space at the top of the timeline.

Aim_fb measurements

The image you upload must be at least 399px wide–one that’s at least 720px wide will work best. You can upload a photo already cropped and resized to precisely those sizes. Or you can upload a larger image, in which case you’ll be given a chance to move the image to choose the crop you’d like displayed.

To get the fastest loading times, upload a JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes.

Onto the profile picture.

Aim_fb pp_layout
You have to upload an image at least 180px by 180px. It’s displayed at 160px by 160px. The thin white border is added automatically and there’s no way to remove it.

Tip: If you find that your resulting profile picture, after it’s downsized in Facebook, is blurry, try uploading an image twice the size of the downsized image (that is, an image that is 320px by 320px). That should give a sharper result.

Below is a quick cheat sheet you can consult when you need to resize and load a picture onto Facebook quickly. You can download and save this cheat sheet for when you need it. It’s pretty straightforward and simple.

Aim_fb picture cheat sheet

Do you experience any difficulties when uploading pictures onto your Facebook page? Tell me about it in my comments section. I’d like to remind business of the a great platform social media, and Facebook in particular is to communicate with your target audience. Besides for being cost-effective, its instant and it provides an informal platform to communicate with your customers. Please make use of this wonderful tool to reach your customers.

Happy Facebooking everyone!

Till next time,

xoxo…