How to Add Text to Photos – 4 Surprisingly Simple Tips

Recently, I’ve received a few questions about the process I use to add text to photos (like I did here and here), so I thought I’d share a little tutorial with you today.

Add Text to Photos
I have, on occasion, added text to photos — sometimes for a holiday card, sometimes for a blog post, and sometimes to print and stick on the refrigerator. Placing text on top of a photo is actually quite simple, and with today’s online tools, you don’t even need fancy photo editing software like Photoshop. Follow the steps below, and you’ll be adding cool text to your photos in no time!

Step #1: Choose a suitable photo.

Not every photo is suited for text. In some cases, text would ruin the emotional effect of the image. But sometimes text can be quite effective!

When browsing through your photos, look for white space — sometimes called negative space. This white space is the area that surrounds the subject of a photo. The space doesn’t actually have to be white, though . . . just empty space.

Here is an example of white space in a photo that Jon took at an air show.

White Space - Jets
And here are a few more examples of photos with white space:

Examples of Photo White Space
Each of those photos has space to add text. Again, I’m not suggesting that text should be added to every photo. In fact, I think text should be used sparingly on photos. Sometimes it’s nice to give the eye a chance to rest — instead of filling the entire image with “stuff.”

Step #2: Decide what text to add.

As a blogger, I sometimes like to put text on the very first photo of a post about an event, activity, or location (like I did for this post about the Mt. Olive Pickle Festival). I usually include the name of the event, like “Wayne County Fair,” for example, and adding the date is always nice too. I think it’s effective to use one font for the event/occasion and a different font for the date. I love to use creative fonts, but I try to remember that the wording on the photo should be readable.

If you aren’t a blogger but would like to try adding text to a photo or two, you might want to simply add the date and perhaps a caption (like Into the Wild Blue Yonder for the jet photo above).

If you’re creating a holiday card to send to family and friends, you could type the name of the holiday, the year, and perhaps even a saying related to the holiday. I sometimes get saying ideas from a photo card website such as Tiny Prints.

Step #3: Add the text.

Now don’t get nervous — adding text to photos is really quite simple, especially with a site like PicMonkey.

1. Go to www.PicMonkey.com

2. Click “edit a photo” and upload the photo that you’d like to put text on.

3. Try out the editing tools if you wish (or leave the photo as is).

Pic Monkey Editing Tools
4. Crop and/or resize the photo to the dimensions of the desired final product. There are several size options under the Crop feature – for example, 4×6 or 5×7 inches for print or preset sizes for desktop wallpaper or even iPhone wallpaper! Fun!

5. Click the Tt option on the left to access the Text area. Browse through the fonts and click one you’d like to try (remember, you can change the font later). Click the Add Text button, and a gray rectangle will appear on your photo. Click inside the rectangle and type the text. You can tweak the size, color, and blend modes, if you’d like.

When you’re finished, click outside the text box, and the gray outline box will disappear. Hover your mouse over it to move the text box to the desired spot (in the white space). Be sure not to put the text too close to the edge of the photo.

6. Once you’re satisfied with the way the photo looks, simply click the “Save” button above the photo. Name your file and save it at the appropriate quality level and file size – Mel (low), Ewan (medium), or Russell (high).

Step #4: Display your newly-decorated photo.

  • in a blog post
  • on a holiday card
  • as a birth or engagement announcement
  • as a missionary prayer card
  • for attaching to an email
  • for printing and sharing with those you love
  • for displaying in a frame on your desk at work
  • for posting on Facebook
  • as a desktop wallpaper to decorate your computer
  • as the wallpaper display on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device
  • in an Animoto slide show

The possibilities for text-on-photo are endless! Have you ever tried this technique? In what ways (not mentioned in this post) would you use text on your photos? Please share your ideas in the comments.

Julie Signature

P.S. If this tutorial helped you, I’d be honored if you shared it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Just click one (or more) of the “Share to” links below.

Want more photo tips? Read my other articles here.

Andrea Cook HollomanOctober 17, 2012 - 3:01 am

Great tutorial!

Julie Achterberg CorbettOctober 17, 2012 - 12:09 pm

Thanks, my friend!

Juanita Cagasan SchulzJanuary 26, 2013 - 5:01 am

Hi Julie,
A million thanks to your very easy tutorial… it took me just minutes to do it perfectly and I’m over the moon!

Julie Achterberg CorbettJanuary 28, 2013 - 4:54 pm

SO glad to hear that the tutorial was helpful for you, Juanita! Thanks for stopping by our family blog!

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