Are you a newcomer to blogging wondering where you can find the right tools to make good images? I personally use two excellent pieces of software–three if you count Paint, which is standard equipment for Windows PCs and laptops. Paint is so basic that it’s almost not worth mentioning–with one notable exception needed for WP blogs that aren’t hacked to include an automatic white (or black if your theme design is dark) border around the right-hand edges of text.
You need that little white border to keep the text from butting right up against the image. Yes, we know we’re guilty of this in some cases-I’m working on it with some remedial training of my non-Paint usin’ collegues, heh.
All you have to do in Paint to add that little white border?
- Open the image
- Select any draw/paint tool
- Make sure your primary color for that tool is white
- Click on the bottom right corner of the image and pull diagonally a tiny bit
- Watch the white space grow as you drag
Another excellent tool you will need as a blogger is found in MS Office 2007 and above.
MS Office’s OneNote has many different uses, but the best one for bloggers is the Screen Clipping tool. This is what you need when you want to pull an image from another site that–for whatever reason–won’t let you right click to Save As. With Screen Clipping, you can drag the mouse over the image you want to save and it deposits a copy of the image into OneNote. Then you can right click, dump the image into paint and give it a nice border and post away. I’ve never bothered trying to edit images in OneNote, it is much easier (to me) to copy/paste into Paint and do the magic there.
For Mac users, the Grab function is much like Screen Clipping, except it’s a seperate program and comes as standard equipment with most Macs (or at least with the Macbook Pro, which I own.) Grab is just as efficient and easy as Screen Clipping.
Become intimately acquainted with these image tools—your blogs will improve tenfold. Why do you want to take the time and trouble to do all this? Aside from the visual aesthetics factor, many websites have images you need to use when writing about those sites or the products/media associated with them–but you can’t save them easily. In some cases it’s because the sites have images preseted using Flash, and sometimes you just want to get a good screen shot of another blog–and you can’t right click on an entire screen.
It is worth pointing out that in all these cases, you are using the images to PROMOTE THE BLOG, not steal the pics and use them inappropriately. Newcomers soon learn that for blogging, this sort of borrowing is usually OK as long as it’s obvious that you are giving press to these sites and products rather than simply ripping and re-using other people’s work out of context.