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Picture Perfect: Choosing Your Featured Image

DZone's Guide to

Picture Perfect: Choosing Your Featured Image

You've written an awesome article, and now you need an equally awesome image. In this article, we share suggestions for selecting the right featured photo for your post.

· Writers' Zone ·
Free Resource

When submitting an article directly to DZone, you'll need to select a Featured Image for your post. If the image you choose doesn't fit the specifications described below, our Editorial Team will delete it and swap it with something else.

Don't want that to happen? Maximize your chances of keeping your fave image in place by following these suggestions. 

Why Your Featured Image Matters

If your article appears on the DZone homepage, the featured image you selected will be the first thing our readers see, along with your headline. An attractive image will make our audience members more likely to click on your content. Plus, a well-chosen image can give your intended audience a preview into what your article is about.

Image Specifications

Featured images should be in PNG, JPG, or GIF format and not exceed 1MB in size. All featured images are displayed at 400px x 250px. Once you've pulled the image into the "Featured Image" box, you can crop it so it will be an appropriate size.

Images MUST be free to use under the Creative Commons license and require no attribution. High-quality, professional-looking photos are far less likely to be swapped out by our Editorial Team before publication. 

A quick note: When dragging and dropping your image, make sure to drop it squarely in the gray box beneath the white area that says "No Image Selected." If you do not drop it here, you risk accidentally exiting the page you're working on.

What Image Should I Choose? 

Generally, we're looking for images that are clear, attractive, word-free, and relevant to the topic if possible. Try to think of a visual metaphor of the topic of the article when choosing a photo. If you're writing about Java, use a high-quality photo of coffee. If your topic is fixing bugs, you might select an image of a grasshopper or beetle. Feel free to be as clever and punny as you like! 

Abstract, pattern-based images like the one used for this article also tend to do well. Other popular featured image themes include architecture, nature, and clouds. 

Where to Find Images

Unsplash.com, Stock Up, and Wikimedia Commons are awesome sites for finding photos. Of those four, Unsplash is probably our favorite. All are free to use. 

Our fantastic Design Director also put together a library of photos for use as featured images.  Our Zone Leaders and Editorial Team access this repository when selecting photos for content selected from our MVBS, but you can use it, too! You can find these pre-approved photos here

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Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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