The Perfect Pin

by Marla on November 25, 2012 · 80 comments

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How to: Create The Perfect Pinterest Picture on #cupcake

Guys we need to sit down and have a talk.

A little heart to heart about Pinterest.

Pinterest wants to work for you. It craves your beautiful photos, great graphics and perfect meta tagging…it won’t work it’s best though if your images are not The Perfect Pin.

Flower Popsicles & How to: Create The Perfect Pinterest Picture on

I have quite a bit of experience with Pinterest. I spend a good part of the day gawking pinning and messing with it. {Spring Bouquet Popsicles above}

When I dash around I crave images that are clean and pin friendly.

My great pal Amanda (i am baker) recently wrote a post that resonated with me: How to Label Pictures for Pinterest. It is a Perfect Pin post and I wanted to share my take (Very similar, great minds think alike eh?!)

How to: Create The Perfect Pinterest Picture on  #projectlunchbox

There are of course exceptions to the rule, images that have none of these perfect elements and still get pinned kazillions of times.

Let’s try to establish some great habits & do things right.

The Project LunchBox post above has been pinned 402K+ timesI guess it resonates with a few folks.

How to: Create The Perfect Pinterest Picture on

Enjoy the freedom to mix up the way you post photos. Generally my first image will have a graphic overlay.

The images that follow in a post will have a subtle watermark. I do not like all of the photos with graphics, the images start to lose something to me if that happens.

Look at the image above with no graphic ~ very different indeed!

Maybe this one is a bit more dreamy…

Cayman Islands on

The Perfect Pin SHOULD have at least 2 of the Following:

  • ESSENTIAL! Tempting Photography: Doesn’t matter whether it’s food, travel, fashion, animals or lifestyle. Your picture needs to be in focus, well composed and fun to look at.
  • Portrait Layouts are King. No doubt about it. Longer/taller images look much better on Pinterest than landscape images do. Think about this when you shoot. I happen to prefer portraits, so that is what you find here 99% of the time. Horizontal/landscape images do not stand out on busy pin boards. They show up way too small to appreciate. It might be a stunning image ~ but it won’t shine on Pinterest if horizontal.
  • Meta Tags: Making sure you do behind the scenes housecleaning will help us help you when we pin your photo. Label each photo with a title (Describe your image) you can also add a link to your blog or website and maybe a © sign. Your choice. The bottom line is ~ please don’t have us do the work for you. Tags that look like this: chocolatecakefamilyfreshcookingphoto1 are very annoying to work with. I end up putting a + sign to replace that text when I pin that image. I am sure you would rather have great information vs. a + sign.
Here is what the meta tag description window looks like in WordPress:
How to Label your photos for Pinterest on
  • Cool Graphics: I add text, overlays and graphics with Photoshop & Illustrator. There is more software listed below in related links.
  • Logos and Watermarks: Want to make sure your perfect images don’t get lost in cyberspace? Then add a watermark. This is a faint image with your blog name or copyright info. This way if your image ends up in a Google graveyard people can still find you! We all want to be found when we work so dang hard at what we do.
How to: Create The Perfect Pinterest Picture on

A few things I have noticed. {Spaghetti Squash Peanut Noodles Recipe above}

People love the Ocean

Great food





Can’t wait to see your perfect pins!

Stay in touch with me here & on Pinterest @MarlaMeridith

What do you consider The Perfect Pin?

Related Links

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly Lester (EasyLunchboxes) November 25, 2012 at 7:31 am

Great post Marla! Thanks for sharing your incredible knowledge and all those stunning, delicious pics. ♥


2 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Glad you found it helpful Kelly!


3 Rosa November 25, 2012 at 7:33 am

Great tips, thanks!




4 Liz @ The Lemon Bowl November 25, 2012 at 7:33 am

Such great tips and those popsicles are stunning, Marla!


5 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Thanks Liz! We had a great time coming up with that concept + with the photo shoot!


6 Erin November 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

Hi Marla!
I love your site and your Pinterest boards. You have inspired me and many others to make non-boring lunches, healthy dinners and delicious treats!
(whispering: But I noticed your ‘Perfect Pin’ is not so perfect! There’s a typo in the word perfect…it reads ‘pefect’.)
It’s still yet another awesome pin/blog post, but just thought you ought to know, in case you wanted to fix it! :) But it’s also kinda funny/ironic that it’s misspelled….


7 Marla November 25, 2012 at 7:57 am

OMG!!!!! Erin, you are a lifesaver :) Nothing like writing a post about PERFECT and spelling the word WRONG!! Just made all the changes. There are a few Pins floating around out there with the word spelled wrong. Arghhhh. Thanks so much for playing editor :) Have a great day!


8 Erin November 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

Any time… hee hee! Don’tcha hate that? 😛


9 Kate@Diethood November 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

Thank you, Marla, for sharing these great tips!! You are Pinterest Queen… what are your other secrets! 😉


10 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:18 am

Hmmmmm, let me think about that Kate!


11 the 3volution of j3nn November 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

You have some of the greatest quality photos I have ever seen on the Internet, so I will gladly follow your Pinning advice. Thank you! :)


12 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:16 am

Thanks so much Jenn!! It is always fun to learn from each other!


13 Wendy T November 25, 2012 at 7:42 am

I don’t think those are really Popsicles.

I think they are “Artsicles”.

Really cool.


14 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:15 am

Awwww, thanks so much Wendy!!


15 the Fromagette November 25, 2012 at 7:48 am

Thanks for your great insights! I may be the exception, but I generally will not pin any image with text or a watermark – looks too busy for my taste…


16 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:14 am

I love hearing about peoples unique aesthetic tastes. I generally add a graphic to my leader image and the subsequent images have a discreet Family Fresh Cooking or © watermark. This way people have a choice ~ it is all about pretty choices and pinning what you LOVE :)


17 Rachel @ Following In My Shoes November 25, 2012 at 7:59 am

Ha! I have noticed you putting + in your pins and it’s been driving me crazy because I could NOT figure out why you were doing it!!! So glad you addressed that here because the bad file name formats drive me bonkers on Pinterest. It’s such a simple thing to fix for bloggers — you just can’t be lazy if you want good pins/pin traffic.

Great post, Marla!


18 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Rachel, knowledge is certainly power. Lazy bugs me too!


19 Jess July 11, 2013 at 6:52 am

I’m new to blogging.. How do I make it so a good description shows up when a photo is pinned? I use blogger :)


20 Marla July 12, 2013 at 6:34 am

Hi Jess, great question. I am not sure as I do not use Blogger. Perhaps someone here does??


21 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance November 25, 2012 at 9:44 am

Great guidelines! I’m working on this. Personally, I love Pinterest, but I don’t give it much thought as far as my own blog goes. And I didn’t realize about portrait versus landscape pictures. Thanks!


22 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Glad I could help you with that Michelle!


23 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers November 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

Wonderful post! That is such a great idea! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!


24 Alisa November 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

Marla, you are such a wealth of talent AND knowledge. I swear, if you held a workshop on just about anything, I’d be vying to attend!


25 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Awwww, thanks Alisa ~ you are so sweet :)


26 Toni | Boulder Locavore November 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

Great advice (and photos!) as always Marla! I started putting a link to my blog on every photo some time ago (meta). Glad to hear you recommend it too!


27 Lori @ RecipeGirl November 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

Great post- which do you prefer… photoshop (which one?) or Illustrator? I know it’s somewhat helpful, but I don’t always include the extra fluff that people write into their photo descriptions. I know that’s horrible, but I just feel like it’s blatantly advertising (bc right below the pin it shares the source website). I like a good, descriptive title and then sometimes my own little blurb about what I like about that pin. I also very rarely re-pin since I want to make sure that I’m pinning directly from the source and not a photo stealer. I’m a little wishy washy about pinning photos with words on them too. Sometimes that takes away from the charm of the photo (unless done right).


28 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Lori, I am the same way. I prefer to link back directly to the source too. Nothing is more annoying than dead links.
For my work, I generally add the title text to the first image and then the rest will have a discreet watermark.
After working in licensing for so many years it is innate for me to brand everything.
I use both Illustrator & Photoshop all the time. Usually both at the same time. Just depends upon what I am up to.


29 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

great post! I love your boards always


30 Averie @ Averie Cooks November 25, 2012 at 11:39 am

This post is fabulous, Marla!

“Here is what the meta tag description window looks like in WordPress” — that is EXTREMELY helpful! I have always wondered what/how people who have those very helpful descirptions do to get it to show up (and just recently a friend helped me figure it out). I confess that with all my blog posts, it’s just like chocolatecake-21 and *usually* someone is kind enough to replace the title if they pin it to Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache but sometimes I see my stuff pinned with the wrong title and I cringe….so yes, I need to start making it easy for folks.

And what you said about portrait vs. landscape – so true. Horizontal shots just get lost on busy pin boards.

Love this one!


31 Marla November 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I have noticed Averie, glad to hear you are gonna do some meta labeling 😉


32 Antonia @ Health Inspirations November 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

This is a VERY useful post. I’ve noticed that your pictures are all pin-perfect! It must be very time-consuming to label them like that though. I use Windows Live Writer and have had problems adding titles to the pictures so maybe I’ll just go back to writing directly in Wordpress.


33 Marla November 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Antonia, everything does take some extra time & effort. I sure do find it worth it though!


34 Tauni November 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Great post! Thanks for the share. I really needed the reminder about using portrait instead of landscape…I tend to use landscape on the blog.


35 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Tauni, really makes a dramatic visual impact ~ the portraits :)


36 Laura (Tutti Dolci) November 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I love your Pinterest boards! Thanks for all these great tips!


37 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

You are so welcome Laura!


38 Diane | An Extraordinary Day November 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Hi Marla!
I’ve been following your blog and your pins! 😀 I think I’m pretty savvy at pinning, but your thoughts about vertical images….that’s completely new to me. Often I don’t like vertical images because the whole image can’t be seen at one time on a screen. So I thought horizontal images were better for my blog. Hmmm. I had no idea they weren’t good for pinning. Though I was often disappointed when mine showed up shrunken… meh! Thanks!!!


39 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Diane, we all have different preferences when it comes to the images we like. I tend to only shoot portrait ~ way before Pinterest ever came around. Glad I could pass some info your way :)


40 Jeanette November 25, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Great post Marla – always looking to improve pinning. A little extra work upfront pays off! I’ll have to do a better job of including more vertical photos – takes a bit of adjustment, but am working at it.


41 Marla November 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Glad I could be helpful with some pin advice Jeanette!


42 Kiran @ November 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Great tips, Marla! Thanks for sharing :)

I’m going to work on those meta tags for sure!


43 JulieD November 26, 2012 at 10:05 am

Very helpful tips, I love it when people fill in the title and I have gotten in the habit of selecting the text of the recipe name before hitting my pin it button. Thanks, Marla and I pinned this post! :)


44 TidyMom November 26, 2012 at 11:04 am

great post Marla, although I’m confused about the + ? if I pin and there is an auto description I don’t care for, I change it to what I want like “gorgeous Barn” or what ever —– not sure I understand why +

as far as what I consider a perfect pin, I’m not as concerned with the quality of the photo (although that does help of course) but I’m more focused on pins that take me some where to learn about what’s in the photo – so when pins go to a tumblr blog for example and I have to search to find that gorgeous cake recipe THAT bothers me. I guess I don’t pin so much for the “ooh it’s pretty effect” I pin more as a bookmark of ideas.


45 Marla November 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Just my signature Cheryl. I like + :) Also when I am zipping around I can’t always take the time to write a description.
Totally agree about those Tumblr links. Really bugs me that the true links are stripped from those. Very hard to find the source ~ which is why discreet watermarks are very smart. That way the image can always be traceable.


46 Marly November 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Marla – I loved this post! It definitely affirms some hunches I had while adding some new ideas as well! Always love your photos on Pinterest…or wherever I see them!


47 Kristen November 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

You are the pinterest queen. Thanks for sharing this info :)


48 Valentina November 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm

so appreciate these tips! thank you, Marla! :-)


49 Kate @ Savour Fare November 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Don’t forget color! I think vibrant color and lots of contrast makes a pin much more eye catching — more muted tones can get easily lost on pinterest. That said, I treat pinterest the way I treat SEO — I try to keep it in mind, but I rarely write (or photograph) FOR it. Because ultimately, it’s about expression. (though I do admit to going back and rephotographing some recipes)


50 Marla November 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Absolutely Kate!!! Color is king. I love the muted tones, but they can get lost…


51 Lesley November 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Love your tips, thanks! Sometimes it’s the simplest of things we overlook!!


52 Amanda November 28, 2012 at 6:19 am

How interesting! I also did a How to Label Your Pictures for Pinterest post. Maybe you saw it?


53 Marla November 28, 2012 at 6:21 am

Oh my!! I did. Gonna link back to yours now Amanda. Your How To posts are ALWAYS so helpful!


54 Ashley - Baker by Nature November 30, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Just bookmarked this! I am seriously so clueless about pintrest (and 1,000 other things – ha!), so this is a good read for me!


55 Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen December 9, 2012 at 7:29 am

Great information Marla! I do think you are so inspiring with your Pinterest Boards and of course your photography!


56 Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine December 12, 2012 at 4:21 am

Thanks for this! I love following all your boards! You pin such cool stuff!!!!


57 Kelley December 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Thanks for sharing your ideas, they are very helpful as I try to improve my skills.


58 Marla January 1, 2013 at 2:23 am

Hi Kelley! So glad I could share a few helpful pointers :)


59 Cat McMahon March 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Your post is just what I need to take my pins to the next level, Marla. My pathetic watermark needs to be reworked. Labeling photos is a new concept to me, a great marketing tool, and one I plan to implement immediately. I can’t thank you enough for your help.


60 Marla March 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Great Cat!! Happy I could inspire you to make some pin friendly changes :)


61 gina @ skinnytaste March 14, 2013 at 5:05 am

Loved this post Marla!


62 Steven jones May 15, 2013 at 2:55 am

Great pics. Loved all of them. Makes me salivate, truly. Great post Marla!!


63 Locate Special Diet May 28, 2013 at 10:51 am

Great post, Marla! It’s very helpful as we are new to Pinterest. We love following all your boards and find your photos to be truly inspirational and beautiful! :)


64 Marla May 29, 2013 at 5:03 am

Thanks so much! I have a blast over on Pinterest!


65 tomastry June 6, 2013 at 6:28 am

the images are making me hungryyyyyyyy

thanks writer or chef


66 Allison June 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Thanks for the post… very helpful, indeed!


67 Food Pick July 29, 2013 at 1:34 am

The popsicles are really stunniing. Great post and very helpful tips, thanks for sharing your idea.


68 Katie Workman August 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Thanks for this post, Marla! I saw oyu speak at BlogHer food and thought that it was a very valuable panel. I am now working Pinterest like a crazy person (and never in my life have I lost so many hours to a social media site….). I was wondering if you might be able to invite me to some of your group boards? I am the author of The Mom 100 Cookbook, creator of blog, and I promise to only pin beautiful vertical images with enticing, clear captions onto your boards!

Thanks so much,


69 Marla August 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Oh yay! I’ll send you an invite right now :)


70 Katie Workman August 9, 2013 at 5:17 am

Thank you so much!


71 Beth Jacobs August 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Thank you so much for these wonderful tips… I am going back to my pictures and editing them… I really think this will make a difference. Thanks again,


72 ChrisSinc October 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Thank you, thank you amazing information. Now to go edit all my pins (I’m a Pinterest Junkie so it’s ok) :-)


73 Marla October 11, 2013 at 3:42 am

So glad I could help :)


74 Matskafferiet November 19, 2013 at 12:33 am

Great tips, will be useful!


75 Soumya @ Oishi Recipes December 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know importance of pintrest. Now it is clear. Thanks for sharing.


76 Shirley @ Intelligent Domestications February 1, 2014 at 4:08 am

Thanks a bunch! I read it, will use this knowledge going forward. Pinning to by Blogging Board.


77 Dee @ The Kitchen Snob February 7, 2014 at 8:10 am

Thanks for the tips! I need to start adding more text over my photos. However, I learned from another website that it is the “alternate text” that shows up in the description when it is pinned. And the title should be the same as your keyword for SEO purposes. But you’re saying that the title, alt text, and description all need to be the same? I think I’m confused and could use some clarification. Thanks.


78 Antonio February 9, 2014 at 6:26 am

this is great pictures


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