Video takes a lot of time and effort and the last thing you want to do after all that is have NO ONE see it! You just created content that is high-quality, relevant, and interesting, but without a thumbnail all videos look very similar when searching YouTube. Creating a customized YouTube video thumbnail is like your own little advertising space. This is because the thumbnail tends to be one of the biggest factors in whether someone chooses to watch a video or not.
I love the free, online, photo editing website, Picmonkey. I have been using it for years and it is the quickest and simplest way to craft an incredible thumbnail (or any other image). So, if you want to learn how to create a thumbnail for your YouTube videos by using Picmonkey, you’ve come to the right place.
Take a Screenshot For YouTube Thumbnail Image
Literally, just take a screenshot of the video that the thumbnail is going to represent! While that may seem super simple, it is effective and an easy solution. You’re simply capturing a good moment in the video to use in your thumbnail.
Look for a place in the video that has limited background distractions, you are off to one side (or in a position) that allows the addition of text.
Once you get used to creating these on a regular basis, you will start setting up easier shots during the video to make the thumbnail “production” a breeze!
Edit Your Screenshot in PicMonkey
Picmonkey includes an abundance of editing tools to use, so you’re just going to want to go through the list to make your picture look the way you want it to look.
- For the overall coloring and brightness, utilize editing tools such as exposure, auto-adjust, brightness, highlights, and contrast.
- Sharpen the photo, especially since you’re using a screenshot.
- Crop the size. YouTube recommends that a thumbnail be 1280 x 720, so you want to crop it to that size. Once you size it and press the scale button, everything you do will be in that aspect ratio.
- If your photo is colorful, use burst to make your colors pop. If it has a white background, turn burst off.
- Whiten teeth. Just do it. You don’t need white teeth in real life, just use Picmonkey :).
Add Text to Your YT Thumbnail Image
Move on to the butterfly to create a place for your text to go. Use the rectangle because it’s the most flexible and you can make any size. Change to a color that works best with the colors in your picture.
Then add your text. You can use any font that you want, but I recommend Impact. Center the text in the box that you created and make the box as large as you can. Keep in mind that what you’re making is going to be really small on YouTube, so the bigger, brighter, and more clear that you can make it, the better.
Export and upload to YouTube
Once your picture looks just how you want it to, you export it, which just saves it to your computer. From there, you upload it to your YouTube videos by choosing a custom thumbnail, and it’s ready to go.
How to Upload a YouTube Thumbnail
When you upload a YouTube thumbnail, do so in the BASIC tab of your video details in YouTube Studio. If you ever decide to change your thumbnail, you’ll go to the BASIC tab again.
Best Practices for YouTube Thumbnail Images
Along with editing your thumbnail to look inviting and high-quality, you will also want to make sure that it follows certain criteria. As a result, a good YouTube thumbnail should showcase the video content accurately and draw the attention of the intended audience, making them excited to watch the video.
Certain techniques that help thumbnails meet that criteria include:
- Having a face close-up and making eye contact with the audience. In other words, connect with people and eye contact is the root of our in-person connections.
- Editing photos to make bright backgrounds, contrasts, and outlines that make the video stand out.
- Showing emotions that help the viewer connect with the person in the thumbnail.
- Making sure to keep your thumbnails looking consistent so that your audience recognizes and connects with you.
In conclusion, creating your YouTube thumbnail doesn’t need to be difficult. And with all the free resources available online, it doesn’t have to cost anything!