Can you believe it’s been nearly TEN years since Pinterest first appeared? Since then, content creators and users alike have added well over 200 billion images – all competing for the attention of 322 million monthly active users.
Ten years is an eternity in internet time, so the Pinterest images that generated traffic and engagement then might not work so well today – and with competition increasing daily and with fresh content taking off on Pinterest, well, it seemed a good time to take a look at what works NOW in Pinterest images, and how YOU can take the best images for your own content.
After all, while you certainly CAN use stock images, there’s no better way to stand out than with one-of-a-kind images you take for yourself. With your smartphone. No fancy equipment required.
Looking for an easy way to increase your website traffic from Pinterest? You could work on your blog full time and upload new products day after day - OR you could spend 30 minutes a week making new images for existing content with templates that are optimized for success!
1. Incorporate Seasonal and Everyday Moments Into Your Pinterest Images
Why this works: Pinterest is the place to be inspired and to envision the best version of yourself, your home, family, job, hobby, and so on. When you can tap into what’s on people’s minds in the moment – how to make mealtime more enjoyable, how to reach fitness goals, how to wow at your next social event, or how to how to enjoy a special moment with your kids, you move people to action.
Aligning your Pin images with seasonal and everyday moments can lead to a 22% increase in online sales.
How to do it: When shooting photos for your products, place them in a variety of seasonal or moment-based settings. Show them in use and from multiple angles (this will also help you have a larger selection of images to share later!).
You can rely on your text on image to frame the event or season, but if you can incorporate it in your images, the effect may be more powerful. You can also try using stock image backgrounds in seasonally-appropriate colors for your Pins.
A Pin where the text on image specifies the “everyday moment” – breakfast time!
An everyday moment that needs no explanation:
2. Add a Personal Touch with People or Pets
What? Isn’t the first rule of Pinterest images “no faces”?
Trends change! While you’ll still see a lot of fashion images where the models are headless save for a chin, images are popping up with families, kids, couples, and critters. And apparently it’s working – because Pinterest is recommending we give it a try.
Why this works: This helps a Pinner see themselves, their family, or their pet in a setting where your product or service is enhancing their lives.
Campaigns that show someone using the product or service are 67% more likely to drive offline sales lift. – Pinterest
How to do it: Enlist family, friends, and pets to pose or find the perfect photo online. Remember to take multiple shots for many image opportunities, and remember tip #1 – tie it in to a season, event, or everyday moment (or two)!
3. Use Beautiful, Eye-Catching Images that Highlight Your Product
Why this works: It’s kind of there in the heading. 🙂 We love beautiful, and eye catching can stop the scroll. Making sure your product is a focal point makes it obvious what the Pin is about and builds awareness.
When your product is featured prominently in the Pin, it’s 20% more likely to drive more offline sales. – Pinterest
How to do it: Make your product the hero of the image with all other elements in support of it. While you can (and should) show your product in use, draw the eye to the product itself.
4. Take Striking, Bold Images that Arouse Curiosity
Why it works: Attention-grabbing, yes, but if you can capture the kind of a attention that makes someone want to learn more, that’s where you’ll grow your Pinterest traffic. This is not to be confused with using click-bait headlines; rather, employ a bit of intrigue with your imagery!
“Images that we can not interpret at first glance invite us to engage with them.” – Adobe Spark
How to do it: Create a little mystery with your image. What’s the backstory? What’s around that corner? Why is he smiling?
For example: Who is this woman waiting for? Oh, I like that outfit! 🙂
5. Try Black and White
Why it works: In a sea of saturated images and bright colors, the rare black and white image can catch the eye.
“Busy, colour saturated pictures can confuse the eye—sometimes there’s simply too much going on. Black and white images on the other hand can seem refreshingly simple and it’s often easier to see and interpret the main focus of the picture.” – Headshot London
How to do it: Almost all photo editing programs have a simple option to transform a color photo to black and white, but you might have better success if you take your photo in black and white mode to begin with. Starting with that view as you compose the photo will lead to better composition and lighting choices for the desired final image.
6. Include a Bold Pop of Color
Why it works: A surprisingly-bold pop of color can stand out in the feed. If this feels like a contradiction to tip #5, just remember it’s all about testing and variety. Try it all!
“When you hear somebody use the expression “those colors really pop,” what he’s talking about is not necessarily just bright colors, but colors that seem to leap off the page (or the computer screen). That is, colors that are the first things you notice when you look at an image.” – Digital Photo Secrets
How to do it: Add brightly-colored accents to your photoshoot (think a bright flower, scarf, pillow, etc.) or choose stock images with highly-saturated areas.
7. Use a Minimal Approach to Product Images
Why it works: There can be no doubt what this Pin is all about! While lifestyle photos may convert better overall, someone who is looking to purchase sooner rather than later may be drawn to these straight product shots.
“The aim with minimalist photography is to isolate your main subject, and this is usually done by ensuring that the subject has a lot of empty space around it.” – iPhone Photography School
How to do it: Simple staging, clean backgrounds, plenty of white space (that doesn’t need to be white), and impeccable lighting are your friends here.
8. Get Creative with Repeating Patterns
Why it works: In a feed that can appear random, patterns draw the eye. We can hardly look away!
“While repetition in the humdrum of daily life can at times be a little boring – capturing it in your photography can create an image with real impact.” – Digital Photography School
How to do it: Look for patterns in everyday objects. Capture and use these images as background images for your Pins. Or use your products to create a pattern in a photo.
9. Play with Texture
Why it works: Minimal design doesn’t always mean a white background! Textures add visual interest and an artistic flair.
“The viewer should be able to almost feel the texture. Sometimes it’s all about finding a creative angle to make the photograph.” – Digital Photography School
How to do it: Look for unexpectedly-interesting texture in fabric, stones, even paper and glass. Use these as a background for product shots. Or, get up close. Use the macro setting on your smartphone camera to create an unexpected backdrop for your product or a simple but unique text-on-image Pin.
10. Leave Some Empty Space
Why it works: Leaving some room allows for space for text. Adding text on your Pin can help increase engagement and clicks as it gives Pinners more context about your Pin and the page it links to. It also gives Pinterest more keywords to help them distribute your Pin in search results.
“Your Pinterest pin images should help tell the story of your article, recipe, or craft that you’re sharing. The image is a breadcrumb leading to the main meal, and people don’t want a surprise when they get there.” – Peg Fitzpatrick
How to do it: Take your photos a little further back than you think you need to. You can always crop out any extra white space later.
11. Try a Flat Lay
Flat lays are popular partly because they’re often not industry/topic specific, so they’re a great choice for service providers and bloggers in particular. They’re also useful for showcasing a collection of items.
Why it works: Simple and clean, the typical flat lay has no shadows and while it has plenty of visual interest, giving an unusual perspective, there’s usually space to add text on the image.
“In marketing, advertising, and blogging – [the flat lay] works as a magical visual that demonstrates a lifestyle and transports your audience into the screen from the photographers perspective.” Ivory Mix
How to do it: Experiment with props on a textured or plain white background. Coffee cups, flowers, laptops, ribbons, and pens are common flat lay props. Arrange your lighting so that there are few shadows and shoot the photo from directly above. Try taking a few on the diagonal and some with more white space for flexibility in editing later.
How to Take Great Pinterest Images with Your Smartphone
Taking great Pinterest images has more to do with planning and perspective than with fancy equipment! Using just your smartphone, natural lighting, and some creativity, you can get more traffic and engagement with every Pinterest image. Here are 11 fresh approaches to try:
- Incorporate Seasonal and Everyday Moments Into Your Pinterest Images
- Add a Personal Touch with People or Pets
- Use Beautiful, Eye-Catching Images that Highlight Your Product
- Take Striking, Bold Images that Arouse Curiosity
- Try Black and White
- Include a Bold Pop of Color
- Use a Minimal Approach to Product Images
- Get Creative with Repeating Patterns
- Play with Texture
- Leave Some Empty Space
- Try a Flat Lay
Keep your Pinning optimized, organized, and always on with Tailwind. Get a free trial of Tailwind for Pinterest. No credit card required.
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Alisa Meredith is Pinterest Product Specialist at Tailwind – a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler and analytics platform. She is a sought-after speaker and teacher on Pinterest and Promoted Pins in particular, having spoken at Social Media Marketing World, Agents of Change and appearing on The Art of Paid Traffic and Social Pros podcasts. Alisa has invested heavily in becoming an expert in her craft – realizing (and loving) the fact that the learning never ends! She lives in coastal North Carolina with her pampered pets Pepe the couch potato Cavapoo, and more cats than she’d like to admit to.