Tutorial: Make Your Images Stand Out

Despite the boring title this is quite important and you'll be amazed at how easy and how proffesional it looks. This isn't some fake HDR tip, it's much simpler. I have browsed some photo's on Flickr and have come to the conclusion that what you need for your image to stand out is a border.

Stop laughing! I did the same mistake of underestimating the use of a border. If so, please tell me which you prefer of the two photos:

Caged Bird


Colourful bird

Both images are exactly the same, except for the border. Convinced? Lets start!

  • Open your image in Paint.NET or GIMP.
  • To add the first border (I used a white one, please use simple colours/gradients):
  • In Paint.NET go to Effects>Render>Borders N' Shapes (if you don't have this plugin installed go to Image>Canvas Size... and increase the size of approximately 120% and remember to center the image. Then choose the rectangle, adjust the pixel width (in the top left) to about 10px (depends on picture size) and use it to create a border.
  • In GIMP go to Image>Canvas Size... and increase the canvas size. Check the preview and don't forget to center the image by pressing Center. Go to Select>All to select the image and then go to Edit>Stroke Selection... Choose width (around 10px) and press Stroke.
  • Add the second border:
  • In Paint.NET use the fill tool to fill the appropriate colour. Remember to set the Tolerance Level (upper center) very low, about 1-3%.
  • In GIMP go to Layer>Transparency>Add Alpha Channel and go to the layers palette and add a new layer. Fill the new layer with the wanted colour.
  • Add some text:
  • In Paint.NET create a new layer and choose the Text tool. Add the text and position it using the Marquee Tool. An alternative way is to use the Center Object plugin.
  • In GIMP use the Text tool to add text and reposition it.
Now you should have a good looking border. If your border looks wrong for some reason try changing the colours (example) or use a transparent, blurred one (example). Remember to browse Flickr och Picasa for inspiration!

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