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How to Choose the Best Pictures for Your Articles

Choose Colorful, Eye-Catching Pictures

The lead photograph for an article should be clear, colorful and eyecatching!

The lead photograph for an article should be clear, colorful and eyecatching!

Pictures Are Important To Your Hub

Photographs, clip art and illustrations are extremely important components in any hub or website design. Pictures and colors make your article eye-catching and attractive. They will appeal to the senses as well as to the mind, and they will draw readers in for a closer look and keep them moving through your writing.

Choosing an eye-catching photo for the lead picture in your article is an important part of creating an attractive and readable on-line article. Whether you use your own original pictures or choose from the plethora of free pictures and free clip art available on the internet, you'll have some decisions to make before you publish your writing masterpiece.


How To Choose Photographs From Your Photo Library

Be sure to choose photographs for your article that meet these criteria:

  • Relate to the topic. First and most obvious is that the photo must relate to the topic. Sometimes a photo will not relate to the topic until you add the capsule subtitle and the caption underneath. Make sure that you give the picture an appropriate title and an explanatory caption that relates the photograph to the article.
  • Good focus and lighting. The photograph must be well composed, clear and bright. Strong colors will be more eye-catching in a lead photo than muted colors.
  • Good composition and focal point. There should be a strong focal point in the photograph. Before uploading the photo into your article, crop out distractions and focus in on your subject.
  • You have permission from any people in photographs to publish their picture. Always ask permission before using someone's picture.
  • Choose judiciously. While it's tempting to use all sixteen of the great pictures of your hand knit sweater or wildflowers of Olympic National Park, choose only photos that show significantly different views and are not repetitive.
  • Illustrate your points. Although there are some times when you only need one or two pictures for an article, sometimes it is necessary and appropriate to use many photographs to illustrate a how-to, travel or cooking hub. Learn to know the difference.


Clip Art Choices - I Like Simple, but Unusual Designs


Sometimes I Just Take a Quick Picture With My Cell Phone Rather Than Using Clip Art

A photo of jack o'lanterns on a store shelf taken with my cell phone is a perfect picture for my Halloween hub.

A photo of jack o'lanterns on a store shelf taken with my cell phone is a perfect picture for my Halloween hub.

Choosing Clip Art

Choosing clip art for your hub can be confusing as there is so much out there. When you do decide to use clip art, take these things into consideration:

  • Relate to topic. Pictures should relate to your topic.
  • Pictures should not be overwhelming. When loading clip art into your photo capsule, choose a quarter or half size rather than full size art unless there is some statement you are trying to make with the picture. Clip art is often used as a splash of color next to a text block, and look best when pushed into the right hand column rather than across the full page.
  • Don't overdo it. Be careful to choose only pictures that will add to your hub. Because there are so many cute clip art illustrations out there, it might be tempting to put in six or seven of your favorites. Be careful that your hub isn't littered with so many distracting pictures that people ignore your text.
  • Go for the unique. Select pictures that are a little different from those you see everywhere. You don't have to use the same stylized turkey or Santa that you see everywhere when there are hundreds of choices available.
  • Always attribute the source.


Mistakes and How to Fix Them

We all make mistakes, and I know that I've made my share of them. Here are a few common mistakes and how to correct them without reworking the whole hub layout.

Mistake: Too Many Full Size Photos

Adding too many pictures to an article can slow down load time and cause viewers to become impatient and move on to something else. I LOVE my pictures of Arizona Wildflowers but I know there are too many for full size viewing.

  1. Place all pictures you want viewed together into one photo capsule. If you've already uploaded them to different capsules, you don't have to do it again. Just go to "My Pictures" and select the ones you want. Organize the show by dragging the pictures into the correct order within the capsule.
  2. Near the top of the photo edit capsule select "Thumbnail."
  3. Choose either the "Full Size" or "Half Size" mode for best results. (The lighthouse pictures at the right are in full size mode.) If you choose "quarter size", the picture won't be much bigger than the thumbnail when it's in the right column.
Scroll to Continue

Save the capsule and click on the arrow to move the whole thing to the right as I've done with the lighthouse collection shown here. You will have a mini slide show next to your text that won't make readers impatient when trying to open the hub. I've actually done this on several articles where I didn't want to give up the pictures that I knew were overpowering the hub. It's a great way to have your cake and eat it too!


Mistake: Poor Choice of Lead Picture

Generally, the first picture in your hub is the one that will appear when you send your hub to a bookmarking link, share it on Facebook, or other sites or when you share your article with your followers across the Web. Make a good first impression by choosing something relevant, appealing, well designed and colorful.

Correction: Delete or move weak lead picture to a different location within your article.


Mistake: Article is Too Cluttered!

Just as a house feels cluttered and uncomfortable when there's too much stuff around, an article will feel the same way if there are unrelated graphics or haphazard layouts. Use the hub preview to look at your final layout before publishing to make sure it's pleasing to the eye. As I'm answering comments on my hub, I usually look it over again to see if I can improve it.

Correction: Remove any pictures or clip art that doesn't add to the overall article design.

Think of it as Hub Feng Shui! (sorry, Feng Shui people...)


Adding Pictures to Your Hubs Is Fun

Whether you use your own photographs or pictures from another source, I hope you enjoy the process. The photo capsule on HubPages makes it easy to add pictures and easy to set the viewing options. After some experimenting, you'll find the best way to display your pictures so that they enhance your work.

Copyright ©2011 Stephanie Henkel

Useful Links on article design and using pictures


Paola Bassanese from Ireland on September 28, 2015:

Thank you for these guidelines, they are very useful. I'm off to feng-shui my hubs :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on May 22, 2014:

Jodah - Thanks for your kinds words and for the up vote! :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on May 22, 2014:

CrisSp - I'm so glad you founds some useful tips in this article. I love using pictures, and I love seeing pictures in other writers' articles. Thanks for your vote and for the share.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on May 22, 2014:

Vellur - You're welcome, and thank you for your comments. I hope you found it useful.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on May 22, 2014:

Good tips here Stephanie. I think good and relevant photos help to make a hub more interesting and appealing. Voted up.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on May 22, 2014:

Great, useful tips in here. Pictures indeed can make a big difference and knowing how to pick and place is all worth the trick.

Voted up and passing the goodness along.

Thank you.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 21, 2014:

Great hub, a picture makes the hub more interesting and attractive and knowing how to use them is very important. Thank you for sharing this.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on May 21, 2014:

Suzettenaples - Thanks for stopping in to read and comment. Photos and graphics add so much to our on-line articles, and using our own photographs is an added plus. We do,however, need to select them with care to be sure they are the best fit for our writing.

suzettenaples on May 21, 2014:

Great tips on using photos and clip art in hubs. I think they are so important to use and add to the aesthetic atmosphere and beauty of the article. You are right, we don't wa t them to be overwhelming or two much. I enjoyed reading this and thanks!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:

DeborahNeyens - Thanks for visiting again!

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on May 20, 2014:

Great tips. Thanks for sharing this again.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 24, 2012:

Mary615 - While clip art is a great resource when you need a specific type of graphic, using your own high quality photos definitely enhances your articles. Sometimes a combination of different kinds of graphics is just what is needed. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on October 23, 2012:

Thanks for all this good info. I try to use my own photos whenever I can. I do like clip art every now and then, though.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 23, 2012:

rcrumple - I'm so glad you found some useful new information in this article. Thanks so much for stopping in to read and comment!

Rich from Kentucky on October 23, 2012:

Stephanie - Great Hub! I'm glad you brought this one to my attention. I wasn't aware of the picture capsule process. That can definitely come in handy. Loved this! Great Job!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 23, 2012:

Mike Robbers - Thanks so much for your comments on both of my hubs. I'm so glad that they were useful to you. Thanks also for the share - appreciate it!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 23, 2012:

Daisy Mariposa - It's so sweet of you to pay me such a nice complement on my photography! Thank you! And thank you for stopping by to read - it's always nice to see you! :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 23, 2012:

Tillsontitan - I'm glad that you found this article clear and easy to understand. Thanks for saying nice things about my photographs - I do love to use my own pictures! Thanks also for your up votes and comments!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 23, 2012:

Jools99 - I mostly use my own photographs as I have many of them and continuously add to my photo library. The trick there is to label the photos so that I can find them quickly if needed! I'm glad that you found some useful advice in this article. Thanks so much for your comments!

Mike Robbers from London on October 23, 2012:

well,, what first impressed me in your article was the first picture ;) Your Tips are really useful and true,, they helped me a lot..

Loved also your article "How to Use Free Photos and Free Clip Art on Your Hub or Website" - wonderful resources and clear concise information for future reference.

thanks a lot for sharing these hubs, both shared!

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on October 23, 2012:


This is great advice from one of the very best photographers I've seen on HubPages. Thanks for taking the time to research and write this very comprehensive article.

Mary Craig from New York on October 23, 2012:

Lots of good information here Stephanie. You've explained your points well and I have to say your photos are great both in this hub and others you who better to give advice than someone in the know? Thank you. voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on October 23, 2012:

Excellent hub Stephanie! Lots of useful advice and I liked all of your bullet pointing here - quick to grasp and well done on using your own photos here - I suspect this is the trick,using original content, though it suits some hub topics better than others :o(

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on February 23, 2012:

I'm glad you found this useful! Welcome!

Jim Higgins from Eugene, Oregon on February 23, 2012:

Great help for a new hubber! Thanks!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 10, 2011:

Baningbeauty - Welcome to Hubpages! I hope that my tips will be of some help as you write on hubpages. There are many tutorials available, too, so I'm sure you'll find any help that you need! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

bangingbeauty on November 10, 2011:

Thanks very much for these great tips Stephanie, I'm just getting started on HubPages and I'm sure this will come in handy. Cheers, BB

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 03, 2011:

Millionaire Tips - Thank you for posting the question - it was a great inspiration for writing a hub about how to choose pictures for your hub! I'm so glad that this was helpful and that it answered some of your questions. Thanks for your comment and your vote!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 03, 2011:

Oceansunsets - Thanks for visiting my hub. I think that many people who usually choose their own original photographs forget about clip art. I sometimes choose clip art for my hub to add a bit of color or something unusual to catch the eye. There's a lot to choose from! Thanks for visiting my hubs. I appreciate your comments!

Shasta Matova from USA on November 03, 2011:

Voted up - thanks for answering my question. I am glad I asked, because I didn't know about the thumbnail feature.

Paula from The Midwest, USA on November 03, 2011:

Great hub Stephanie, thank you for sharing these tips with us. It will be helpful to me in the future, and I hope it encourages more people to use photos in their hubs in new ways. I forget about clip art! Thanks for the reminder there too. It was great to hear another persons thoughts and ideas on photos. I value your opinion and you have done some amazing hubs. Keep up the great work.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 29, 2011:

Dolores - I can sympathize with you...sometimes I move photo capsules around quite a bit before I get what I want. Sometimes I just have to give up a picture I've got my mind set on and move on to something else. Thanks for stopping in to comment! I'm sure you'll come up with something great!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 29, 2011:

As you mentioned, a good first picture really makes a difference. I am having trouble with my latest hub because the 1st pic just isn't the one I would like to be on display. But moving them around just won't work. I guess I'll just have to do some thinking on that one. Phooey. (Voted up)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 27, 2011:

TheLyricwriter - Choosing a good lead picture is so important as is its placement within the hub. Thanks for stopping by to read and for your comments!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 27, 2011:

Howard S - Whoops! my additions to the above comment were entered too late and didn't show up. I wanted to thank you for the link to my hub in your hub Photo Capsule Advanced Techniques ( ). Your hub contains excellent advice for anyone learning about photo capsules!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 27, 2011:

Howard S - I'm glad you asked about the reason behind keeping the thumbnails in full size mode. I'm going to edit to give an explanation. It's actually a matter of preference. I usually have my thumbnail group in the right hand column which already shrinks the picture. If I don't have the picture selected as full size to begin with, the enlarged version isn't much bigger than the thumbnail.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting on my hub. I really appreciate the feedback!

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on October 27, 2011:

Stephanie, voted up and useful my dear. You point out some strong points in this useful article. I agree. A colorful picture does work best and you want it to be related to your topic of choice. Well said:)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 27, 2011:

Injured Lamb - I'm so glad that this was helpful to you! Thanks so much for stopping by to read my hub and for your feedback!

Howard S. from Dallas, Texas, and Asia on October 26, 2011:

This will make a good link from the hub I published a few days ago about advanced techniques for using the hub capsule. One thing I will copy is your tip that the thumbnail feature reduces page-loading time.

I am curious about the reason for ensuring thumbnail candidates are entered full-size. Why?

Injured lamb on October 26, 2011:

Once again here Stephanie, thanks for this helpful hub of's so kind of you to share with us your experience, really learned from you...thanks...

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 25, 2011:

Randomcreative - There is a fine line between too few and too many photos, too large and too small photos. There really are no hard and fast rules - so much is just a matter of judgment and personal opinion. Thank you for stopping by to comment!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 25, 2011:

HappyBoomerNurse - Like most of us, I learned a lot by experimenting with the photo capsules as well as from reading other hubbers' work. I'm pleased if these tips are useful. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 25, 2011:

Movie Master - It's true that too many photos will cause a hub to load slowly, but photos that are too large will also load slowly. There's lots to consider when adding photographs to our hubs! Thanks for visiting and for your comments!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 25, 2011:

Great topic for a hub! All of your advice is good. It can be distracting or even a turn off to read a hub with poor quality photos or too many large photos. However, it can be just as much of a turnoff to read a hub with no photos. The process isn't as easy to balance as it might seem! This will be a great resource for hub writers.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 25, 2011:

Once again you've given us great tips and nicely illustrated your main points. Thanks so much for sharing this useful information. Voted up.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on October 25, 2011:

Hello Stephanie, thank you for some great advice and useful tips.

I very often find hubs aren't loading properly because there are too many photos, which can be so disappointing.

Good pictures can make such a big difference to a hub.

Thank you for sharing and voting up.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 25, 2011:

Nadelma - I'm glad that you find this hub helpful, Nancy! Yes, I've been busy the last week or so-- my writing inspiration comes in spurts! Thanks for checking out my hubs and for your support and comments!

nadelma from NEW ADDRESS: Melbourne, Florida on October 25, 2011:

Thanks for all the information. As a newbie on here, I need all the help I can get and I always look for you for advice. You have been a very busy lady on here lately and I love everything you do. Your pictures are Great! Keep them coming...

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 25, 2011:

Steph - Photographs do make how-to articles so much more interesting and useful. I think that the beautiful original photos you put into your hubs are the perfect example of photos complementing text. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this and for your vote!

Paul Cronin from Winnipeg on October 25, 2011:

Great tips Stephanie, you're so right - good pics can really make the hub. I see so many hubs that have no pics or maybe just one, but its important to add as many original good quality pics you can. Thanks for the advise!

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on October 25, 2011:

Great advice, Stephanie! I prefer reading hubs that have some photographs to break up the text and vibrant, relevant photos - of course - are the best. Like you, I enjoy showcasing some of my own photographs in my hubs and, when writing "how to" or recipe hubs, using my own photos lends a bit of credence because, obviously, I have gone through the steps myself. Rated up, useful and awesome!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 25, 2011:

Ktrapp - They do work well on your recipe hubs - I really like the way you used thumbnails on your recent Halloween Deserts hub.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on October 25, 2011:

I particularly like using the thumbnail feature for my recipe hubs. That way the reader can visually follow along the recipe with the directions if they so choose.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 25, 2011:

Carmen H - I agree with you about the lead picture, and sometimes even a related picture before the text can be distracting. When I first started writing hubs, I wanted every hub to start out with a full size photograph, now I often put the picture in the right column, and sometimes even in the second text module so that ads will appear at the top of the article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 25, 2011:

Ktrapp - I think that including your own photographs where possible is an excellent idea! I've been using the thumbnail feature more often, too, as I realized that some of my lengthy picture hubs take too long to load. Thanks for visiting, commenting and voting on my hub!

Carmen Beth on October 25, 2011:

I find it obtrusive when a lead picture that is not of excellent quality or unrelated to the hub splashes across in full size before the text. The points presented in this hub are really useful and would certainly help others make better choices when selecting pictures for their hubs. It's a 'thumbs up' here.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on October 24, 2011:

You make some excellent points regarding photographs and images and the best way to use them. I often try to include my own photographs so that my hubs are completely original, from text to images. I particularly like the thumbnail feature as a way to include photos but lessen loading time and visual clutter. Rated up and awesome.

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