Want the Secret to Pinterest Success?

The perfect Pinterest photo
Image: www.pauladeen.com

Perfect photos. That’s the secret. What’s the epitome of a perfect pic? The Curalate team picked one, and I’ll tell you why.

At the request of Wired.com, the team at Curalate identified the photo of Aunt Peggy’s cucumber, tomato and onion salad from Paula Deen.com as a perfect Pinterest photo. That’s probably why it has been shared on Pinterest more than 307,000 times according to Curalate.

That kind of social media mojo could be yours, if your photos match the key characteristics identified by Curalate, which came via analyzing ~500,000 images with their team of scientists.

What makes a photo perfect? Curalate notes the following, from among the more than 30 visual characteristics, as key to creating a killer pic.

Attention-grabbing color catches the eye and compels us to spend more time with the photo. Don’t be afraid to see red: Images where red, orange or brown predominate are twice as likely to be repined as those with blue as the dominant hue.

Balance Background
Keep the background to less than 40% of the photo, and avoid picturing a solitary article against a white background. Deen’s salad provides just enough background that pinners could envision the salad being a part of their summer picnic menu.

Lose the Faces
Crop out human faces in your brand images, and you’ll see an uptick in repins, about 23% more often according to Apu Gupta, Curalate CEO. He notes, “Pinterest is a network of things…. and it seems like on a network of things, faces are actually a distraction.”

Ditch the Sepia
We’re more likely to repin images that have multiple colors than those in black and white or pictures with a monochromatic color scheme.

Like Instagram’s Rise Filter?
We do too, but it doesn’t work on Pinterest. Avoid uber light and dark images, and focus on those with 50% saturation. Overexposed, moody, dim shots perform poorly on Pinterest, where those with medium lightness are repined 20 times more often than dark images.

Ratios Matter
Keep a vertical or portrait orientation with a 2:3 or 4:5 ratio. Pinterest rescales images that fall outside of these ratios, and the resulting pics aren’t as pretty. Those that follow the Golden Mean get 60% more repins.

Be Rob Thomas
(Smooth, that is.) Images with a smooth texture are favored over those with a rough texture 17 times more often. What’s smooth? Think satin, velvet and touchable, as opposed to burlap, granite and abrasive. Planning to post cute burlap wreathes which are hot right now? Then be sure you add something that offsets the coarse texture and adds a softer note for contrast.

The Internet and social media are increasingly emphasizing the visual. How we communicate is as much about what we say as what we visually show. A 2011 report, “Future Work Skills 2020” published by the Institute for the Future for University of Phoenix Research Institute notes that new media literacy will be one of the top 10 skills required in the coming decades.

Graphically rich, interactive media is playing an ever greater role in both business and social communications, and businesses need to keep abreast of visual literacy. Before you pin your next image, consider how well it measures up to Deen’s salad pic and Curalate’s attribute list. Is yours a perfect photo?

Kathleen Gossman – Project Manager
Sara Fraser – VP Content Strategy

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