Independent Rockstar

Insight for Independent Musicians

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Images Online

Recently I took notice of some ‘less than optimal’ image choices around the web and started to take a look at ways to improve some of my own going forward.

Here are some of the more useful insights I’ve found over the years and in my recent search with some tips thrown in from my friend, photographer Michael Rababy.

Take note of sight lines

It’s natural and difficult to resist following the eye line of another person. When we use images of people looking in a particular direction it’s important to make sure they’re looking in a direction that we want our audience to look.

Always consider the context

In what ways is the image going to be displayed? Is it going to be rendered in different sizes like the profile pic for your Facebook fan page? If so then it’s improtant to consider how it will look at the sizes that it’s going to show up as.

It’s best to have something that grabs you from afar and stands out on a cluttered web page. Close-up and quickly identifiable images work well. Intricate, subtle details can get lost.Michael Rababy

Do these images have much impact at this size?

Bad FB thumbs

This is a little more like it:

good FB thumbs

Notice images that generate gut-level feelings even at small sizes. Full band shots don’t usually translate well as thumbnails. Faces or other images that produce an emotion tend to have much more impact.

Be aware of primal instincts

Photo by Michael Rababy

Photo by Michael Rababy

Susan M. Weinshenk points out in the book Neuro Web Design that as a product of our evolution, there’s a part of our brain that unconsciously is always scanning for 3 things: threats to our safety, food, and opportunities for sex.

Whether you choose to take advantage of that or not is up to you. Just be aware that certain images will produce a primal unconscious reaction and will therefore stand out.

Take control of the images you use

A lot of people don’t realize that you can create custom YouTube thumbnail images instead of using the 3 that they give you by default. To do this you need to become a YouTube partner, which is now an option open to all users. Here’s the link for more info:

It takes some time before the custom thumbnail option to appear, which seems to vary for different users, but somewhere between a matter of days or weeks the option should appear automatically.

Choose images that express who you are

This goes along with the concept of alignment that I wrote about in “5 Keys to More Fans and Less Stress.” True self expression is always more powerful than anything that feels contrived.

“Don’t let a photographer, art director, or even music producer try and make you what you are not. Your overall image should be grounded from a deep place within you.”Michael Rababy

Photo by Michael Rababy

Jeffree Star – Photo by Michael Rababy

Check out Websites for Rockstars for more Facebook Thumbnail Tips.

Got any tips of your own? Leave a comment and let us know!

About Scott James

Musician / Blogger / Web Designer / MBTI Nerd living in Hollywood, CA
Scott James