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Feature Image Guide

Feature Images 

Remember feature images hugely affect the reader’s decision to click. Choose a strong, clear image that conveys the star’s face in an instantly recognizable way. You may choose from the CMS or social media. 

In the CMS, you will be required to crop all feature images. 

The ideal size for a Feature Image is to aim for a head and shoulders shot that takes up most of the image frame.

Learn to rule out selecting awkward close-ups where the face consumes the entire image. These typically won’t crop well because the face is already largely filling the frame. 

Remember images are literally thumb-sized on mobile. Your feature image will show up as a tiny square via Google Discover/Smart news, as shown below:

How To Crop A Feature Image

After selecting your Feature Image, click the blue Save button:

This will bring you to the Crop for Google screen:

Simply drag the box to frame the portion of the image you’d like to use. Then click the blue Crop button in the bottom right-hand corner. 

On the next screen you’ll be shown a final preview. If all looks good, click the blue Save button!

Examples below are a mixture of Instagram-sourced and CMS Gallery-sourced. Many of the comparisons, however, are from the CMS galleries. This is to help you the most when social media offers little and you’re in red carpet territory.

When you find images like this:

You’ll need to crop them like this:

Eye contact always helps. 

Likewise, selecting an image reflecting headline tone. 

E.g. Miley Cyrus looking caught-off-guard is better for a “guilty”-themed headline:

Kylie Jenner looking uncomfortable is better for her being sued:

Tekashi6ix9ine with color and tongue body language is better for a shock headline:

Halle Berry smiling is better if she’s just wowed Instagram:

Avoid filters, shadows, shades, hats, profile shots, anything that reduces recognizability:

Shades are allowed, but they lower engagement. What you want, is a very clear and communicative shot where the face isn’t compromised. A close-up can work fine. 

Compare the following images. When doing so, picture Kim’s head cropped and tiny on mobile.

Poor recognizability:

 Good recognizability:

Miley Cyrus with shade less recognizable:

Miley Cyrus more recognizable:

  • Now pause and read the above again. Far shot-out images will do you no favors.

Remember, your image will go through cropping, making it even smaller. Kim and Kanye here would be virtually unrecognizable on the thumb-sized Discover preview:

Kim and Kanye here would be very recognizable, particularly, since the CMS cropper will get their heads nicely in:

Never repeat a feature image twice in 24 hours (check date of last article).

Twice in one week is fine.

Attractive photos can go a long way: 

You’re in an industry that’s moving forward, but the reality is that looks still count. Engagement is going to be higher when people like what they see. 

E.g. A less-flattering photo of Kelly Ripa:

more-flattering photo of Kelly Ripa:

E.g. A less-flattering photo of Ayesha Curry:

A more-flattering photo of Ayesha Curry:

Continuing this theme, a helpful tip for slightly older stars. If painting them in a flattering light, you may, within reason, browse CMS galleries (Getty for most images) back a few years, which can be done by typing a year after their name. Doing this for Kelly Ripa:

Kelly Ripa 2020:

Kelly Ripa 2016:

Kelly Ripa 2016 is a much more flattering image!  

Do not choose old images when the celebrity’s appearance has dramatically changed


E.g. Khloe Kardashian back in the day:


Demi Lovato back in the day:

They might not be unrecognizable, but it’s off-putting to the reader to see super-old images.

Avoid giveaway images that reflect your headline:

If Kylie Jenner is showing off a new car, do not select her with the car as the feature image. The reader will have no incentive to click.