For Bloggers

To Pin or Not To Pin | The Absolute Basics of Pinterest Images

Sometimes, whether you’ll be re-pinned or not boils down to one, single, fact:

Is your image light or dark?


It’s #BeautiesOnFire time and that means another theme and another day of me making a weird interpretation of it! This week that theme is Light vs Dark. So no, I’m not doing Star Wars, and I’m not even doing makeup, because I’m going to be difficult AF and we’re going to talk about how the must-have elements of a Pinterest image and why the hell Light vs Dark matters.


The hard fact of Pinterest is that people are pinning something to come back to later MOST of the time.

Personally my stats as a user look about like this:

  • 70% things I want to read later.
  • 20% things I’ll open to read AS I’m pinning it.
  • 10% things I’ve already read and want to share.

There’s 2 main elements to why I will pin an image.

#1.  I WILL pin an image that is high impact.

  • Eye-catching.
  • Looks well put together.
  • Looks like that person knows enough to teach me something.

#2. I WILL pin an image that has obvious value to me.

  • Solves a problem I’m searching for.
  • Introduces me to a new product/technique/idea.
  • Shows me value I’ll want to save for the future.

In reality, both of these overall aspects have to be true.

Pretty much the only chance a pin has of me choosing to pin it, if it’s not high-impact, is that I cannot find the solution it offers anywhere else. Now… this is the internet. Let’s be real, there’s VERY few topics you can’t find answers on in multiple places, especially things that would be on Pinterest. There’s probably a dozen other images offering the same type of solution you are in any given search, and that’s the low end.

Think of it like product packaging. There might be 20 products that do the exact same thing, but the way it’s presented and put together can make you feel better about reading it, like it’s content is higher quality. It doesn’t actually mean it is, but in a society of very visual people, you’re doing yourself a disservice not to put your best presentation out there.

Actually… let’s talk about that for a second. About good presentation. As a photographer and designer it makes me a little nauseous every time I have to swallow this down to promote a great blogger.

For the love of all things good and chocolate and happy…

Use good photos.

Please, please, PLEASE stop using shitty photos.

  • No blurry photos.
  • No late-night-shitty-lighting photos.
  • No photos with so much grain from said bad lighting that you give splinters.
  • No photos with obvious color casts that are totally inaccurate.
  • No photos where you look like even you aren’t interested in the picture.
  • No editing the image to blur your skin.

It honestly ruins an entire post for me if the photos are shitty. And I certainly don’t want to voluntarily share that post and put my name as recommending it and claiming it’s quality content if the images look lazy.

  • You took the time to write a post.
  • You took the time to take pictures.
  • Why wouldn’t you take the time to make sure they’re good?

Put the blur tool down, and breathe a sigh of relief knowing your credibility just went up 300%.


Let’s give a shout out to my favorite pin of all time.

This absolutely is not my image, and I am linking it to take you to her post if you click on it.



Why is this pin so great?

  • The title/solution is in the image itself.
  • It feels light and airy, which is statistically more popular on Pinterest.
  • It’s easy to read.
  • It gives you a hint at the result of the solution she provides.
  • It looks professional and credible.

This is where the LIGHT side of this post comes in. Pinterest images are statistically more popular when they feel light, bright, and airy.

How To Use Blog Categories Effectively - a comprehensive checklist of tips and steps to organizing and reorganizing your blog into useful categories

This is a pretty good pin (yup, self-promo) that does pull off the dark coloring. Because it’s punchy and follows all the other rules. It also includes a checklist, which people LOVE repinning because it’s another source of obvious value and information, and pins are easy bookmarks.

Unfortunately, because of my color choices, it will not get as much attention as it COULD, purely because of the color choices. Light & Bright images fit best on Pinterest because the entire interface is white, with a bright pop of red. It’s a clean interface and by using white based, or very bright and popping images, you look like you belong on the pure white background.

Your eye is also drawn first to bright images and things that stand out, so if you have a quality image that stands out right away, someone will click and look and may not need to go further. If a similar option is available that catches their eye first, you might not even be noticed. Despite this, I’m sticking with my choice this time. It’s still a good pin.

This, however, is not.

And it’s also mine. And I don’t have any excuse except I just was not feeling it that day.

blog planning kit header

This is a BAD pin. There’s a lot of reasons.

  • The font looks blocky and disconnected from the rest of the image.
  • The image is too warm, and also faded, so it looks a little bit wrong because it’s still too warm.
  • The white bar across the image feels disconnected and out of place.
  • It looks forced.
  • It looks sell-ey, even while it says free.

Let’s look at a few more bad pins.

Try to figure out what’s wrong with each of these.


This is NOT meant to say any of these lead to bad content, but the graphics, especially for Pinterest, are bad at advertising the content they contain, because most people will never get past this.

Do you see how tiny the horizontal images are?

That essential oil pin? The only real thing wrong with it, is it’s horizontal.

  • Vertical images get more screen space.

Can you nail down what’s wrong with the eyelash pin? It became distracting by making everything the same tones of grey, so it really took away from the content. Square images COULD work, and have, but vertical is still better.

  • Light & Bright is the key.
  • Don’t let everything blur together into one shade of grey.

That reeeally tall image on the right? The top half of the pin is perfect, except… those aren’t images they have the legal right to use. Getting sued automatically makes it a bad image. It’s also an example of blending photos with completely different qualities and exposures – they don’t look like they belong together, because they don’t.

  • Use your own images.
  • Make the images look like they are part of the same series/photoshoot/concept.

Memes aren’t pins. You can see how hard that massive double block of text is to read.

  • Pin things that look like they belong on Pinterest.
  • If you aren’t sure, see if it looks out of place by adding it to a desktop folder of other Pins.

The makeup photo is fine but… it doesn’t even have a caption. Unless this is just a makeup idea board for a single person (which it might be) this isn’t built to go viral or give proper credit and info. It’s just “oh pretty picture!”

  • Caption your images.
  • Use searchable keywords: “Highlighter” “Makeup Inspiration” “Holiday Makeup” & “Glowy Skin” would fit.
  • If you’re pinning something that isn’t yours, and it doesn’t have a caption (or a good caption) add one!
  • Unless you’re pinning to a personal board, make the caption useful to more people than just you – easy re-pins.

The food photo… you have to be careful with food photos. More appealing photos = more likely to want to save it.

  • Use simplistic images when possible.
  • Use good quality images (we’ve gone over this, and will more in the next few weeks).
  • Try different angles to see if there is an ideal presentation of the item/dish/etc you need to show.
  • For images with a “final project” that isn’t photo-ready, try using ingredient or pre-construction images.
  • Add a concise headline or title over the image to embellish less attractive images.

You know what NOT to do… now… 

What’s the best program for making Pinterest images?

Now, I’m a Photoshop girl, I always have been. But if you’re not into the high priced software, or into using one of the pseudo-Photoshop alternatives (I won’t recommend any because I’m not familiar with them), you can use this one SUPER easy design website that’s got tons of free options for branding yourself, and it’s even got templates.

5 Tips for Balancing Blogging and the Rest of Your Life: How to keep blogging when work, school, and other issues pop up.

made free with

It’s called Canva. I believe they have an iPhone app but they are NOT on Android yet (I checked). They are an absolutely fantastic design site (and they didn’t pay me to say that) and a great way to see what similar graphics should/could look like to give you inspiration to create yours.

The Absolute Basics of Pinterest - Free Pinterest Tips & The Best Free Program To Create Pinterest Graphics & Images

Feeling a bit lost on designing for Pinterest? Let me know what you need in the comments!

I’m working on an upcoming post designing the graphics to promote a standard blog post, the more I know about what you need, the better I can address it, and you can always ask privately @

Let’s connect on Pinterest!
Follow my Amazing Pins board for more examples of fantastic Pinnery.

Make sure to check out all the amazing #BeautiesOnFire AND join in the blogging fun in our Facebook Group!


4 thoughts on “To Pin or Not To Pin | The Absolute Basics of Pinterest Images

  1. AMAZING post as always love!! Love when you do these type of posts!! I will totally reference back to this when I do my Pinterest Tips for December in Beauties on Fire FB Group!! Totally linking back to you of course! I 100% agree with what you said!! Vertical over Horizontal ALL DAY!!! Also, it really is important to use quality photos that you can see. And titles are extremely important if you want people to click through!!

    Loved your examples of good quality pins…I actually have pinned a few of those haha!!

    And your bad pin examples are great examples…I have seen even worse haha!

    I have not even a clue about Photoshop!! Someone asked me to give a Photoshop tutorial and I have never used it haha!! Images are my biggest struggle! I think one month we will have a photo month in the FB group and I will totally let you lead that haha!! I just purchased Photoshop and haven’t even looked at it. You should totally write some tutorials on it someday!

    I LOVE Canva and use it all the time! Love it for IG too. Also, my boyfriend uses a program called Logoist for creating my Pinterest graphics. It is an amazing tool for Apple lovers haha!

    Again, great post!! LOVE IT!


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