So you’ve created and uploaded your new YouTube video, filled in all of the title, description and tag boxes…all you need now is an awesome video thumbnail! I’ve been asked a few times just how I create my YouTube thumbnail images, so I wanted to put together this quick guide today. It’s actually super straightforward!
1. Snap Your Images
Whether you want one big image for your thumbnail or several made into a collage (more on that later!) you need to have a think about how you want your thumbnail to look. Personally, when I’ve finished filming my videos I spend a couple of minutes taking photos of myself with my camera remote – for a haul video, I might be holding up the shopping bags or items; for a make up tutorial, I’ll try and snap different angles of the look. Close ups of particular products or props in your video can also make great thumbnail additions. Just make sure you’ve got some extra images, or you’ll end up doing what I have to in a pinch and trying to grab a suitable screenshot from the live video – with the number of awkward facial expressions I make when vlogging, it’s no easy task!
2. Create Your Collage & Get The Right Dimensions
YouTube thumbnails work on a 16:9 aspect ratio, which can be tricky to achieve on your own. Luckily, I found an awesome free app for my Mac called Composure (if you’re on Windows, try a site called PicMonkey and choose the ‘Custom’ option from the Design menu at the top. The dimensions you’ll need are 1280 x 720)
In Composure, you can create a collage (like the one above) and set your images into the 16:9 ratio. You can adjust the borders, add effects (although I prefer to do this in the Mac Preview colour correction settings) and pop extra graphics onto your image – however, I think there’s a better way to do this, so I stop at just creating my collage with Composure. Once that’s all done, it’s time to add some text!
3. Add Text & Extra Effects
Just above I mentioned the website PicMonkey – it’s an awesome tool, much of which can be free (although I upgraded to the Royale package, which costs around £5 per month. I love it though!). PicMonkey is the place I go to add text and those little extras to my YouTube thumbnails, and I’ll show you how I do it!
Just above is option one. For this thumbnail, I selected the text option from the sidebar and added in the words, chose my font (or fonts, as I did above) and capitalised it. Try to position the text so you’re not covering up any major aspects of the image, like your face or anything you’re holding up – this is also something I think of when snapping the images I’m going to use for the thumbnail. Next, I clicked the magic wand icon in the sidebar and scrolled down to the ‘Draw’ tool. From there, you can adjust the hardness right down and pick your brush size and colour before going over the text with your cursor. It creates this awesome glow effect!
Above is option two! For this one, follow the exact same steps for the text. Once you’ve done that, click the butterfly icon in the sidebar and choose the top option, Geometric. Pick your oblong shape, right click it and select ‘send to back’ before picking your colour, adjusting the side and positioning behind your text. Et voila!
As an extra PicMonkey tip, the Save function sometimes messes up and you have to force quit your browser. When you get to the save screen, instead of clicking their save option down in the bottom left hand corner just right click the image and ‘Save Image As’ yourself. It saves a lot of hassle!
So, there are my top tips for creating your own YouTube thumbnail! I hope it’s been helpful, and if you have any extra questions just leave me a comment below.