How do you make great Pinterest images that stand out? In this article, we offer some tips to make those images pop that create lots of engagement.

Like most food bloggers, Pinterest is a key part of your marketing strategy. But to get engagement and clicks from Pinterest, you need to post high-quality images that stand out.

Pinterest is a unique platform because its images have a long lifespan. You can get traffic from them for weeks, months or even years, unlike Facebook or Twitter whose posts are lost to the noise of the web in hours. Plus, Google categorizes and displays all of Pinterest’s images, giving you another avenue for traffic. 

This means it’s worth your time and energy to create captivating, must-click Pinterest images. After all, this is basically a portfolio of your work.

That begs the question: How do you make great Pinterest images? Instead of grabbing any photo from your recipe blog post, you’ll want to create custom images specifically for Pinterest. In this article, we offer some tips to make those images pop. 💥

Create Plenty of Space

It’s tempting to pack as much as you can into an image so Pinterest users have everything they need to decide to click. But as they say, less is more. Instead of making your images busy, focus on what’s important and give it room to breathe. 

Let’s look at a few not-so-great examples. These are so busy your eye avoids them. (Admittedly, these aren’t food, travel or lifestyle examples, but you get the idea.) 

Pinterest hacks

Which one of those images stand out the most? You probably saw the Constant Contact image first. That’s because unlike the other images, it has some space. 

“Space” doesn’t necessarily mean empty space or white space, however. It just means letting one item dominate the image and not cluttering it up with unnecessary elements. 

Here’s a great example. Notice how the sauce is given space to control the image. The bit of the table you can see around the image creates some space between the main image (the dumplings and sauce) and the adjacent images on Pinterest.

Healthy Nibbles, Soy and Vinegar Dumpling Sauce

Make Your Images Looooong

You’ve probably heard this tip before, so we won’t spend a lot of time on it. But it’s important, so we didn’t want to leave it out. 

Unlike other image-heavy platforms, Pinterest gives you a lot of vertical space. It’s important to take advantage of all that real estate. Naturally, bigger images are more eye-catching than smaller ones.

Pinterest recommends using a 2:3 aspect ratio. This means your length should be 1.5 times your width. If the ratio is any larger, there’s a chance the image will be cut off in people’s feeds.

So what’s a good size? Expanded pins max out at 735 pixels wide by their adjusted height. To keep the 2:3 ratio, that means your height shouldn’t be larger than 1,102 pixels. 

However, users will only see images that large when they expand the pin. In their feed, widths are reduced to 238 pixels and heights are reduced proportionally. It’s important to view your images at this reduced size before posting to make sure people can read the text and distinguish what’s on the image. 

Add Text with Complementary Fonts

In many cases, a food image itself isn’t enough to convince people to click, especially when they’re scrolling through a feed of similar dishes. For instance, a cinnamon sugar pumpkin muffin is unique, but it looks like any other muffin, so you have to tell people what’s inside with a bit of text. 

Now, there’s a right way and a wrong way to add text to images. You can easily ruin the image if your text is too large, hard to read, or uses a poor typeface or unappealing colors.

To avoid a visual mess, keep your text short and simple. Stick to two complementary fonts. Check out how this pin helps you understand what you’re looking at while also being aesthetically pleasing and easy to read.

Cotter Crunch, West African Peanut Stew

How do you choose good font pairings? That’s a big question. There’s a science to it. In most cases, it’s easy to just Google for font pairing options (e.g. “fonts that pair with Open Sans”). If you want to come up with your own, read Canva’s font pairing guide.

Unique and fancy fonts are okay, just be careful that you don’t choose something hard to read. Remember that users could be scrolling through their feeds quickly. 

An easy way to stand out with text is to make it “part” of the image by giving it non-standard shapes. For example, in this roasted Brussels sprouts pin the text around each dish with an illustrated arrow. It stands out when everyone else is using basic horizontal text. 

Love and Lemons, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Include Your Site’s Logo and URL

It’s smart to add your URL and site logo to your image if you can do so in a tasteful way. Not only does this establish ownership of the image and encourage people to check out your website, it makes your images stand out to anyone who’s already familiar with your brand.

That said, make sure your branding doesn’t dominate the image. Your photo should always take center stage.

First & Full, Easy Whole30 Jambalaya

Eventually, recipe searchers start to think, “Oh, I know that blog. The last dish I tried was great. I’ll check out this recipe.”

Other pinners take notice as well, especially if they got a lot of engagement on your previous pins. They’ll repin right away because they know their followers like your stuff. 

Make Your Images Mobile-Friendly

According to Pinterest, “People are spending more time on their mobile phones than ever before, and we’ve seen this shift at Pinterest, too. That’s why we think Pinterest is a great place to reach, inspire, and convert people on mobile.”

They claim 75% of Pinterest use happens on mobile devices! You cannot ignore this crowd.

So how do you make images mobile-friendly? Fortunately, Pinterest has done most of the work for you. Their site and app are fast on mobile devices. Buttons and links are easy to click. You just have to make sure your images are clear on small screens.

How do you do that?

  • Use contrasting colors (especially where there’s text). 
  • Avoid difficult to read script or handwriting fonts.
  • Use large fonts with generous kerning (the space between letters)
  • Use simple, uncluttered backgrounds behind your food. 

Use Lifestyle Photos for Food

A lifestyle photo is an image that shows the product (in this case, the dish from your recipe) in a real-life setting rather than an empty background. You could display the food on a table, in the pan, or in front of people. 

Lifestyle photos help users imagine the dish on their table and in their mouths. Ultimately, this boosts repins and clicks to your site. 

That said, if you include people in your photos, obscure their faces. Images without faces get 23% more repins than those with faces. This allows Pinterest users to imagine themselves making and eating your dishes. 

Less is More in a Photo Collage

Collages are popular on Pinterest, whether you’re showing multiple angles of the same dish or a collection of dishes. But don’t get carried away with lots of photos. We recommend limiting your collages to no more than six to eight images.

Why so few? Because too many images create clutter. If you pack 10 or 15 dishes into a single image, users may decide it’s too busy to deserve their attention. This is especially true when all of the dishes are displayed uniformly, like an image about meal-prep that shows each day’s meal in the same container — it all looks the same. 

Look how great this collage looks with just eight pictures. The article actually lists 16 options, but they’ve chosen the best ones to include in their Pinterest image. 

Pinch of Yum, Back-to-School Recipes

Over to You

We’ve given you some tips to make your Pinterest images to stand out, but ultimately it comes down to what your audience likes. Do they love your branding, or are they all about your food? Do they like cool and warm tones, or sharp and bright colors?

You can find out what your audience likes by analyzing the engagement on your pins. If a pin gets a lot of likes, saves, and comments, obviously it has some value worth exploring. You can also check which of your images get pinned by visiting https://pinterest.com/source/yourdomain.com. (Replace “yourdomain” with your website’s address.)

If you spend the time to design captivating Pinterest images, you’ll reap the rewards of massive exposure and steady traffic for years. 
Don’t forget! There’s a lot more to getting value out of Pinterest than just posting photos. Check out our guide on Pinterest marketing for more info.