A dentist asked me recently, regarding Facebook Timeline photos, “What camera takes pictures that wide? It’s crazy!” I took out my iPhone 5 and said, “This camera. And Apple just sold another 15 million of them this week.” I then showed him the “panoramic” option on my phone’s camera.
Of course, Facebook allows you to reframe an uploaded photo, but the picture needs look right when it is cropped deeply at the top and bottom, and you can only adjust up and down.
But then, wouldn’t you also like to add your logo, or some other message on the photo? How the heck do you do that!?!?
Amazingly easy, even for us old folk. First, you sign up at the website www.canva.com. The tools on this site are FREE. Their goal is to sell you the rights to uses images, which they provide very inexpensively. But you can upload your own pictures and combine them, add text to them, frame them, all sorts of things, in a nearly idiot-proof environment, and not pay a dime.
The home page looks like this:
You can create any shape you want, and they have the templates for practically everything, from Facebook ads to Timeline photos, your Twitter heading, website images, your thumbnail photo, your business cards, whatever. You just upload the pictures you want to work with (and it stores them for you forever as part of your media library), and then you can drag it into the template you want, stretch it, move it add another photo next to it if you want, or super-impose one onto another.
Then you’ll want to add text, and they have all different fonts and colors to choose from. If you’re color blind, like me, get some help with your choices. Or you can drop your logo onto it. Now just save it, download it, and then upload it to whichever site you made it for.
You can also use Canva to design Facebook contests and promotions, and they have templates for those and many other things. They also have millions of photos that you can access, and you only pay $1 for each premium element you use for your design. That’s cheap. Especially since the rest is free.
You can get way trickier if you take some of the tutorials–framing photos, changing background colors, drawing on the image–but for now you have a simple solution that makes great-looking images.
I did this for my Facebook book page in about three minutes,and the template made sure I knew exactly where the thumbnail photo was going to appear over it, so I could get it looking right the first time:
I still recommend you get team photos professionally done, do nice photos of your office, and take good thumbnail photos of yourself. But now you can dress them up and personalize them easily.
You can also use it to design printed materials, if you’re still into that sort of thing.
I haven’t found any photo tool that’s easier with such versatility. Give it a try!