How to Build a Better Blog Photo Contest

Guess what? I was one of the winners of the Linky Tools Blog photo improvement contest this week! Woot! Brent asked me to guest post so, I said yes...of course. So here is my guest post:

Brent’s challenge this week was to improve a photograph. We all know that photos can make or break a blog, and really great photos can take your blog to the next level. Can’t afford a really great camera to take those really great photos? Never fear - I have a simple Nikon point and shoot camera. This is why digital editing was invented, people!

Let’s do this thing Juniper style! (translation: easy AND inexpensive). Here is the photo we were given to work with.

I am not able to afford Photoshop software, so I depend on the best thing at my disposal Picnik. You've heard me talk about Picnik before, this editing website is user friendly and inexpensive (they don't pay me to say this). In fact, many of the tools are free. Yep, free. That’s right in my price range.

I uploaded the photo into Picnik and went right to the editing tools. This is the order of my edit:

1. Exposure: Many photos can be saved with brightening or toning down the exposure. Too dark photos is a pet peeve of mine on blogs.(I have been known to lift photos and brighten them and email them back to the blog author (if it’s a friend) because it bugs me so much.) I brightened the photo and then I hit the contrast. I love the look of amped up contrast, and I admit I sometimes go overboard, but it’s my favorite editing tool. It helps your subject avoid fading into the background.
2. Colors: Next, I had to warm up the pale faces that were staring back at me after the brightening treatment. I wanted them to have a warm glow, so I warmed up their faces using the Saturation and Temperature slide button. Easy peasy!
3. Crop: Please, please, please take 10 seconds to crop your pictures! It puts the focus where it belongs, it directs our attention, it makes me so happy! I really don’t care what pants Brent is wearing…let’s get a good look at Garth’s 10 gallon hat. For real! Bring it in using the cropping tool and you will be so glad you did.
4. Sharpen: Sometimes, after a drastic crop, I need to clean up the edges and use the Sharpen slide button to avoid blurriness.

So, this is what I did with Brent’s photo of his family just hangin’ out with all their famous friends. Thanks for taking the time to read all about it.

To learn more about me, you can find me at my blog, Hope Studios hanging out, providing tutorials, hosting linky parties, giving away prizes, decorating my home, and blabbing about my boys. If this sounds like your cup of tea, then this is your personal invitation to come on over and check me out! I’d love to have you.


  1. Seriously?!? You use a point and shoot?!? I never would have guessed it!
    Congrats on winning!

  2. Way to go Miss Editor ☺!

  3. woohoo - it is soooo good to hear that one doesn't need to have expensive software to edit and that you won without
    it - but by being practical.
    i want to edit some pics and don't own any editing tools. i'm off to visit picnik - thanks heaps.

  4. Congrats on the win!

    I only have a point and shoot Cybercam and I just use the software that came with it. It has a lot of neat editing features, but I sometimes don't know how to use them or to change the photo.

  5. Holy Cow! That's friggin' awesome! Congratulations, J!


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