|5 Must Haves for Creating Custom Images for Social Media Sharing
By now, you?ve probably heard that photos drive the best engagement on social networks. It?s no surprise, then, that a growing number of users are beginning to share more and more images across sites like Facebook and Google +. If you, too, are ready to start adding images to your sharing plan, here are 5 must have resources for producing your own content.
Note: Creating your own images for sharing on social media is completely doable on a low-cost budget, but the time investment might not be ideal for your particular marketing strategy. Check out the resources below and see for yourself if producing your own content sounds like a valuable addition to your plan.
To start, you'll need some inspiration. Viewing the work of some of the world?s most talented artists might be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing. Here are a few sites where brilliant minds go to hang out.
The Behance network is all about professional-caliber artwork. Creatives from all around the world use the site to showcase their work in branding, illustration, photography, web design?you name it. The platform?s success in attracting talent has led many major brands, like Google, Nike and Sony to use the site for seeking and hiring designers for their own projects. If you?re also looking for some help bringing a design to life, this is the place to go.
Dribbble is a close-knit community of talented artists who share glimpses of projects currently under development. While everyone is invited to explore the site, designers who wish to join must be ?drafted? by the community, meaning only the best work gets showcased. As an incentive to browse the site, visitors can download the color scheme of any of their favorite photos for free.
Sometimes the best inspiration is found in the work of a talented young artist. DeviantArt is a great site for exploring photos, paintings and digital artwork from creatives of all ages and skill levels. The site is also full of freebies like Photoshop brushes, patterns, textures and animations you can use for any of your own projects.
Color matters. There?s an entire branch of science devoted to studying how color affects our judgments, behaviors and emotions. Using color correctly can add meaning to your graphics and tell a story beyond the contents of the image. But, not a lot of us have an eye for choosing the right colors (see for yourself). Fortunately, these sites are here to help.
If you?re looking for a color scheme that?ll make viewers feel like they?re enjoying an ice-cream Sunday on a hot summer afternoon, look no further than Adobe?s much-loved Kuler. Here, you can browse thousands of inspiring themes uploaded for free use by talented Adobe members. You can even extract a color scheme from any of your favorite photos from within the application.
Like Kuler, ColourLovers is a community of artists who share original color themes for free use. As an added bonus, you can also download patterns, templates and shapes to help you create some interesting new designs.
While you?ll find some of the best fonts already preloaded on your computer, you might want to explore more stylish options when creating bolder and more unique images. Here are two of the best places on the web for acquiring just the font you?re looking for.
I haven?t come across a font that I can?t find for download on Fontpalace. This archive of free fonts is an excellent resource for typefaces of all kinds?from holiday-themed to old school calligraphy.
If you can?t find the font you?re looking for on Fontpalace, check the free fonts on Dafont.com. Here you?ll find tons of fonts and dingbats that are sure to be a match for your photo.
4. Free Photos
Sometimes all you need is a photo related to your topic to get your message across. With these sites, you?ll always have an abundant supply of royalty free images that you can edit and share across your site and social networks.
Flickr?s collaboration with The Library of Congress means you have access to thousands of public photos that are free to use. Plus, the new design changes to Flickr makes browsing through these photos a much more pleasant experience. Note: Be sure to pay close attention to the photos that require attribution if used. A simple photo credit is enough to avoid any issues later on.
There?s no shortage of free high-resolution stock photos on MorgueFile. Chances are you?ll find just what you?re looking for in a matter of clicks, but for more specific categories, the results aren?t often relevant.
If you?re still hunting for the perfect image, check out Pixabay. The site has thousands of free stock photos, and the majority are professional-quality pieces.
Maybe all you need is some good old clip art. For that, there?s no better place than Clker, one of the largest archives of free vector artwork on the web. Working with vectors has its advantages and the site even lets you upload and vectorize your images for free.
5. Editing Tools
Now, all you need is a tool to put everything together. Below are the best free tools for editing and manipulating images.
I first learned about PicMonkey from a comment by Mike Kawula on our blog. The site?s features and editing capabilities were immediately impressive and the built in shapes and illustrations were perfect for the types of images I wanted to create. Best of all, the best features are absolutely free!
If you?re looking for a photo editing application that feels more like Photoshop, check out Splashup. This browser-based editor works like a native app and gives you the freedom to edit your images the way you want.
Everybody loves GIMP. That?s because it packs a lot of the same features you?ll find in the top photo editing programs and is available as a free download for every major operating system. It?s really amazing that an application this powerful is offered free of charge.
Now that you have all you need to start creating images, let's see what you can do! Share your custom images with us in the comments below!