I love an art challenge

Let’s talk about CONTRAST, in particular when it comes to adding text to a digital photograph or image.

A blogger friend of mine (and no doubt soulie sister too) tried something new, for which I applaud her! She was drawn to take some photos and add a note to each of what they meant to her, how her soul resonated with what she was photographing. And that’s huge! To be the observer, and to do something different with your art! What expression! What JOY! 

And her actions sparked an observation within ME! I realized I had not written specifically about the contrast of text on photos, and how this correlates to the CONTRAST of, or within Life! 

So, here we go. I’ll show what I mean by the best way to contrast text on your photos (and yes, I have a degree in Visual Communications and specialize in 508 compliance during my day job). 

Adding text on photos and images can be tricky

Here’s one of her photos that I couldn’t see the text of very well, in fact, I missed it the first time I read her post: https://herladypinkrose.wordpress.com/2022/12/01/the-journey-2/

And here’s how I color corrected the text so I could see it. You could also just add a white glow or outline to the text as well (but I took the easy way out):

Now, just so you know I’m not picking on AmyRose, I noticed this white text on a website I viewed and how it sort of “gets lost” within the lighter areas of the Yew tree branches, making it difficult to read: 

Example 1Example 2

And this is how I fixed it: On AmyRose’s blog image, I attempted to match the font and size in a lighter color and place it over her text. If I had Photoshop on my laptop, I’d have cloned out her text and then added mine, but alas when you pay Adobe for the Creative Suite (as we do for our iMac) they don’t allow you to use it on another device. (Not so good of you, Adobe Products.) 

Anyway, similarly, on the Yew page, I matched their Times font and white color, but because of the kerning involved I couldn’t match it exactly. I wanted to simply type their “The yew tree baffles…” paragraph in a black font and lay it under the white so I could overlay their verbiage and be able to see a couple of the words better. In particular, the “is” which happens to lay on a lighter part of the yew tree image making it very difficult to see. I ended up adding a black font “is” over the white font paragraph I’d placed there, to call a bit more attention to it, though in a perfect world, and again, if I had Photoshop on my laptop, I could do an A+ pro job on this. We have to work with the tools we’re given though! LOL

Tip: Rule of contrast 

Remember this rule, light on dark or dark on light works best for text on pictures. And stay away from the red or pink tone colors as these are difficult to read for anyone who may be visually challenged (color blind).

As for my day job, I don’t have any graphic tools on the PC laptop. So, I do all my changes in Paint. I yearn for a day when I don’t have to work so hard in order to make changes to application screens. I also used to use Snag-It which was very helpful, but currently only have access to the Microsoft Snipping Tool that comes standard. 

One former place of employment used a fuchsia color for all of their image callouts. I challenged that decision based on contrast ratios but I didn’t win the argument. Sometimes, you have to follow what the company’s design guide dictates. If you have a choice however, always opt for the highest contrast you can work into your design.

If all else fails, you can reach out to me. I’m available a few hours a week for freelance side gigs and do proofreading, editing, color corrections, etc. 

Giving and receiving artsy advice

I’m so glad AmyRose understood what I was talking about when I commented on her post that I was having difficulty seeing the text on some of her photo images. Yes, initially, I’d viewed her post here: X on my phone, but even when I opened it from my laptop, full screen, I still had an issue seeing the text. And the point of her post was that she was trying something new, both by adding her comments ON her photographs, as well as sharing this part of her on her blog (the thoughts she’d had while observing nature and taking the pictures). 
I knew with some of our first exchanges we were “birds of a feather” mentally and emotionally, so I was sure hoping she’d take my “help” or advice with the love and intention I’d had in mind and she did. She didn’t let her ego get in the way, and that’s sooo important when one’s goal is to help and to build a bridge of communication. Many artists, unfortunately, allow their ego get in the way. 
You don’t always have to add a contrasting fog behind the text, outline the text, or go with an outrageous color, sometimes a highlight, double layer of the same word in a contrasting color, shadow, or such is all you need to make the text a bit easier on the eye.
Remember, black or darker color text font color on white / light backgrounds, and white or light text font color on darker backgrounds. It can be that easy.

Tip: Here’s a helpful color contrast ratio chart: https://contrast-grid.eightshapes.com/

A bit about us:

My husband is an award-winning illustrator, plus he is a seasoned guitarist, bass player, and songwriter (of over 400 original songs). You can view some of his artwork and listen to all of his songs at: http://listen4music.com

A bit about me:

An Amazon bestselling author of two co-authored books: “Transform Your Life Book 2 Inspirational Stories and Expert Advice” and “Energy of Receiving”, available on Amazon.

Plus, the brand new book that’s been in the making for 13 years, Take It Upon Yourself to Live a Wholly Vibrant Life, is now available for online sale and distribution (PDF format). Buy it here.

Be the best version of who you want to be.

Information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe.

8 thoughts on “Let’s talk about text color CONTRAST on images

  1. VERY nice, Sheila!!! Thank you so much for these tips. I will for sure remember how to better make text on a picture better. How we are both learning as we go …. it’s so cool. I’m bookmarking this post so that I can refer to it again. I should have known about fascia or pinks …. but I was focused on matching the colors from the flower itself. Live and learn. It’ll go much better next time and I have YOU to thank. YOU get the credit for my learning curve. So much love to you!! xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

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