Is a Picture Really Worth a Thousand Words?

Is a Picture Worth a Thousands Words?
A fellow blogger recently asked me:

Is it absolutely necessary to include a photo or graphic with every post?

Graphics are usually a major component of blogging, but they don’t have to be the central focus. I know of some high-volume blogs that don’t use any pictures. People are drawn to these text-only blogs because they enjoy the content.

At the same time, the blogging world is inherently more visual than other types of writing. So the photo-option is really up to the individual blogger and the kind of audience he or she is trying to attract.

When I started blogging, I didn’t bother with pictures. I considered pictures to be superfluous. I was only interested in the writing. Well, in my earnest effort to focus on the writing, I failed to recognize that some readers are naturally drawn to the visual elements. By neglecting to include a picture or a graphic, I was unintentionally neglecting the readers who brightly respond to sight and color.

Over time I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of a nice photo or two, here and there. Instead of seeing them as “filler,” I now see them as additional agents of communication.

So the use of pictures really depends on two things:

  1. What is the purpose of your blog?
  2. Who is the audience of your blog?

The purpose of my blog has always been to share the light of Christ through the stories He has written in my life. Photographs are not necessary for me to write these stories, but they can enhance the reader’s experience.

An apt picture or graphic can help communicate the message I want to share.

Of course, not every blog is devoted solely to communicating a message. Many blogs simply wish to inspire others. And beauty is inspiring.

What is the purpose of your blog? To communicate? To inspire? Or both?

The great thing about blogging is the fact that there isn’t one correct way to do things. <Tweet this!>

Blogging offers many options. Part of the fun is creating a blog space that’s unique to you.

If you’re drawn to the visual beauty of pictures, then it would be wise to include them. If you’re drawn to the words more than pictures, then create a blog space that works for you.

For some, too many photos could be distracting. For others, not enough photos could be boring.

Most of the time, “like is drawn to like.” In other words, we tend to attract readers who like the same things we like, who enjoy the same kinds of things we enjoy.

If you’re a blogger who would like to experiment more with pictures on your blog, you don’t need one of those crazy expensive cameras with telescope-type lenses either. The camera on your phone works just fine.

Free photo-editing is available online too. Do you want to crop a photo? Add text to it? Or brighten it up a bit? Check out www.picmonkey.com. Upload a photo and try out the different options. It’s an easy way to polish your photos.

Also, last year at Allume the amazing photographer David Molnar taught a session where he shared a lot of the basics of photography. You can check out last year’s session here!

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? It can be. It’s all up to you.

Do you enjoy including pictures with your blog posts?

Do you prefer more text-only kinds of blogs?

Denise J. Hughes

Denise believes in the power of a well-told story. She teaches writing at Azusa Pacific University and even has her students start a blog. She’s the author of On Becoming a Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to Know, and she devotes her blog to helping others develop their craft and deepen their faith. You can connect with Denise on her blog — denisejhughes.com — or on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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  • http://livingingraceland.me DEBBY HUDSON

    I enjoy adding photo’s to my posts for a couple of reasons. One, I like photography and, two, I’m one of those believing it can enhance the story. I’m having to learn to distinguish between it enhancing the words or detracting from them. Balance. Good guidance, Denise. And now I’m more excited to attend Allume later this year!

  • MELANIE @ CARMEL MOMENTS

    I personally think pictures help immensely. I do recipes and faith/family posts. I think photos are essential to both. I’ve noticed as my photography has gotten better my audience has grown.
    I also am more drawn in when I see photos/graphics on other sites versus just words. I’m a visual girl. :)
    Thanks for sharing Denise!

  • http://www.omily.me/en OMILY

    I love pictures in posts! Usually I include 1 to break to monotony, unless I have pictures that are really linked to the story, then I do more.

    I always love it when other blogs have a picture, It is one of the things that draws me in.

  • http://www.dianewbailey.net/ DIANE BAILEY

    It’s funny. I began blogging with photography and I’ve learned to write.