Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Add Text To Photos For Professional Magazine Look

Adding text to your food photos is a really simple way to add a professional and elegant look to your blog's design.  This format won't appeal or work on everyone's blog, but if you're tired of your current design and don't have the time or money to completely re-design it, than this technique might be the answer to your design-woes!

There are a few design options to consider before diving in to adding text.  The size, font, and placement all combine to give your photo a certain "look" and that look should match your blog's identity.  For instance, if your blog's identity is about elegant food, the design elements should reflect that elegance.  Ultimately, the text combined with the photo will give your blog a polished professional appearance.

Choose A Font That Reflects Your Identity

There are tons and tons of fonts available but I tend to stick to the classic ones like Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Arial. Choose your favorite font but make sure that whatever font you choose reflects your blog's identity. Classic fonts tend to give a more elegant and sophisticated look, while funky creative fonts give a more wild and youthful feel. Below are two examples of the same photo with different fonts. Notice how dramatically different the feeling of the photo changes with each particular font.

Add Kerning To Space The Text

Kerning allows you to change the space between each letter. I often find that text with no kerning looks a bit off, so I always make it a point to kern the text. In photoshop, the Character Palette has a kerning window that allows you to choose the amount. To open the Character Palette go to Window > Character. Below is a photo of the palette with the kerning command highlighted.

The images above both have a kerning value of 100. Play around with different amounts to see what looks best.  In my opinion kerning is what gives typography it's professional look, so don't skip this step!

Choose Font Size Carefully

Choosing the font size is a harder decision than you might think.  The dilemma here is that you don't want to pick a font size that will over-power the image, while you also don't want the font to become lost.  I tend to think that smaller is better, so err to the side of small.  But by all means play around with the size....just remember, the focus should be the food, not the text!

Find A Contrasting Space To Place The Text

I always tend to place text in the bottom space of the photograph, but it really all depends on what color is in the background.  As you can see in the photos above, I placed the text on the dark side of the plate.  This allows the text to really stand out and ensures that it wont get lost.  Play around with different placements....don't just plop the text in the center!  From my experience text placed off-center, behind a dark color, and near the edge of the photo tend to work best.


  1. I agree that text on the pic makes pictures look more professional. Good advice on kerning and text placement. I have to force myself to take pictures that leave enough negative space to put the text in.

    Question: In addition to adding ALT text to the pic, I tend to add an H3 title above the pic. If I start adding text to the pic itself, should I not do the title? Do you think that removing the title but leaving the ALT text will affect search results?

  2. Nate-n-Annie,

    I would continue to add H3 tags above the pic because google bots will not read the text in the pic....that text just becomes part of the pic and will not register as text with google. H3 tags and keywords near photos rank higher with google bots, so although it might seem repetitive, I still think it's good SEO practice.

  3. Nice post - add text to photos ..Keep Posting

    add text to photos