Photo Tip Friday: How to use Your Photos to Create Memes

by Mary Denman       Twitter: @MaryDenman     Instagram: @MaryFDenman

Have you ever seen great looking memes online and wished you could create them for your blog? 

Well, today, I'm going to teach you a few things about how to create memes using your own photos. 

We'll cover a couple of different aspects about creating memes. 

One part will be about thinking ahead and learning to frame shots for use as memes. Another part will be about cropping shots you already have to create great memes. 

Let's get started.

What is a meme? Originally, it was considered a cultural idea that spread rapidly. While that still holds true, today, it often refers to pictures that have writing on them, like you see throughout this post. 

What are the components of a good meme? It needs to start with a background image. In our case, we're going to use our photographs.

But some photos will work better than others. Why? Because of their proportions and backgrounds.

There are two main sizes you'll see: a square or a rectangle. While you can make them circles or different shapes, we're going to focus on squares and rectangles. 

Why? Because the shape may depend on how you're using it. 

I use a square meme for the first photo of each blog post. I do this because I join blog hops or linky parties. When I upload a photo, it's going to end up as a square. So instead of cropping the picture from my post on each blog party I link to, I just create a square photo in PicMonkey.

But you don't have to use a square meme.

I want you to see a couple of great examples from my friend Edie Melson. I study her memes to get ideas about how to make mine look better. 

I love how she uses fonts to suit the photos and the words. 

For her blog, Edie uses a picture at the beginning of a post with the title on the meme. Notice it's a rectangle. 

She also utilizes quotes on photos.  

Quotes tend to fit better on rectangular photos. 

When using quotes, always double check to make sure of the source. I've been surprised to find sayings being attributed to the wrong people. 

(I start on Goodreads to find quotes but then check a couple of other sources as well for verification.) 

So what makes for a good picture to create a meme with? 

  • It needs to have a clear point to the photo. A beautiful flower, a building, a person. 
  • It needs to have room on the image to put text. 
  • It needs to have a good background so you can read the text easily. 

PHOTO 1: Dandelion with cluttered background
Let's look at a bad example.

Photo1: Centered dandelion shot. I put the pod right in the middle to show you how the text is harder to place. 

Also, notice the background. It's not very blurred so the lines of the grass clutters the background and makes it harder to keep the text readable.

The black text blends into the background is difficult to read while the white does stand out better in this situation.

On to the better example. 

PHOTO 2: Dandelion with more blurred background
Photo 2: Non-centered dandelion. I purposefully blurred the background more. 

Notice that the writing is easier to read.
I moved the dandelion to the right side so I had more room to put text on the left side. 

Taking a shot and specifically leaving room for text is one of the biggest changes you can make to your photography that will help create your own memes to be proud of. 

So how can cropping be used to create better memes? 

Again, let's start with a bad example.

PHOTO 1: Too much unnecessary background
Photo 1: Un-cropped photo. 

The flower in the center is the most striking part of the picture. But there is so much unessential background clutter. Although the shadow on the leaf is interesting. 

Trying to write on this photo doesn't create a strong meme. 

On to the better example. 

PHOTO 2: A much more powerful shot
Photo 2: Cropped shot.

Once the shot is cropped, the meme is much more powerful. 

Gone is the clutter and there's now a great place to put text. 

The dark background makes the text stand out. 

ASSIGNMENT: Head to PicMonkey and try out a photo. For some of you who aren't familiar with PicMonkey, here's a link to the tutorial on how to add text.  You can watch that, and then try it for yourself. Besides the intelligent humor on the site, PicMonkey is FREE!! It's my go-to meme making machine! I'm still learning to use it myself, but it's fun to do. 

BLOGGERS: Try out PicMonkey and use your own photos in your blog post! 



  1. Thanks for the tips, Mary. I love the pic of the last flower--beautiful.

  2. I love picmonkey. Edie Melson introduced us to that site at a workshop and I have also been playing around with it learning more. Memes have been fun to learn. Thanks for your tips also!

  3. Great tips! I'm a huge fan of picmonkey.

  4. Thank you for these tips, I tend to only take photos of my crafting, and never used one with a qoute. Will have to get more creative