One of the key elements to blogging if you are doing any sort of creative blog (cooking, home, lifestyle, craft, etc.), is going to be your photography. We are a very visual people and like to look at pretty things, right? On Pinterest you are drawn to the bright, eye catching photos. On Instagram people love to browse through and look at gorgeous homes or amazing looking desserts or whatever it is that catches their eye. This is a very powerful tool that will really help your blog, even if you can just make small and simple improvements.
Now, that being said-I am SO not a photography expert. This is my number one struggle in blogging actually. It’s something I have really worked at over the years and have really improved but I still have a long ways to go! But in my learning I have picked up a few tips that I would like to share with you.
How to Improve Your Blog Photography in Simple Ways:
Let me start out by giving you a sample of some original shots from my blog and some new and improved ones, so that you can see the simple differences we are talking about.
This was my second post ever on my blog:
And that was my picture. I had no idea what I was doing at that time, so I plopped it on a white piece of pasteboard and snapped a quick picture.
A few years into blogging, knowing that this post was a popular one but that good pictures could make it a lot better, I recreated it and snapped some new pics.
Big difference? Yes-the new picture looks a lot better. But it was simple, easy changes that did this. So here’s a few quick tips.
Tip #1: Worry about lighting.
For me, I ALWAYS shoot in natural light. I know a handful of bloggers who have a lot of fancy equipment and lights so that they can work on off hours, but for most of us, it’s going to be a matter of making it work while the sun is up! (And believe me, I have had days where I am racing the sun-trying to get pics in before the sun goes down.)
Try to use natural lighting, but generally you aren’t going to want direct sun. I pull a table over close to my big, south facing window so that it is as close to the sun as I can get it without direct light hitting it, then I shoot my pictures. UNLESS it is cloudy outside, and then I just take them outside. Indirect but bright light is idea.
Tip #2: Bounce the light.
It was only about a year ago that I really started doing this, but it’s a very easy tip that makes SUCH a difference! Once I have that table pulled over near the window, I then place a piece of white pasteboard that has been folded in half on the far side of the table so that it is bouncing the light back on the project I am photographing.
Here’s an example-although I was shooting on the floor near a window for this post. The window in this picture was to the left, just out of the picture:
This simple step brightens my pictures and makes them look so much nicer! And it’s so easy and costs about $1 for the posterboard.
Tip 3: Consider your staging.
A couple of things with this tip. First, look back at my comparison picture of the two little bags. In the first I just threw the bag on a boring backdrop and snapped a picture. In the second I grabbed a few things that might normally go in the bag and used them to help stage the picture. Took about 2 minutes, but gives a nice quality to the picture.
Second, take a peek at that picture of light bouncing I just showed you. I am shooting on the floor, but I am using a fake wood backdrop. These things are genius! They are just a nice heavy vinyl and I have about 6 of them that I use as backdrops for my photos. I bought mine on Etsy. Invest in a few things that you can use in your blog photos to spice them up a little. Grab some cute napkins or plates if you do food photography, throw in some confetti or cute straws if you are doing a party of fun picture, throw in utensils or ingredients, just add a little something-it can go a long ways!
Tip #4: Take a lot of pictures.
When I do a photo shoot of any given project, I often take 100+ pictures. I try different settings, different angles, different lighting. It can be a little bit hard to tell what is working and what you are going to love until you get them uploaded to your computer, so it can be good to have a lot of options.
Sometimes I will be trying to get a great pic and it’s just. not. working. And then I try a new angle and boom! I get a great shot!
Also, it’s fun to have more than one image in your post, so trying a lot of shots can be great!
Here’s an example from a post on my blog. Two pictures of the same thing. In this case the angles aren’t terribly different, but they give a slightly different view of the cupcakes. I used both in the post.
Tip #5: Learn post editing.
I’m telling you now that a LOT of the pictures you see in the internet world did not look that good when they were shot. A lot happens in post editing (tweaking your photos in a photo program once they are uploaded to your computer). If you don’t have a handle on how to do this, take some time to learn!
Here’s an example of some simple edits that can be done in two minutes. Literally, two minutes. And they can make a big difference:
I typically use PicMonkey online for my editing just because it is SO easy! Of course there are much fancier programs you can use like Photoshop (which I also use sometimes), but if you are looking for a simple way to do it, I recommend PicMonkey. (They have a free version or you can pay for the $5 a month upgrade like I do.)
And here’s a tutorial that can walk you through some basics of editing your images.
Tip #6: Practice, practice, practice.
The more you do it, the better you’ll get. Everybody starts out as a beginner and has to make small improvements to get to that professional level. I always feel good when I look at some of my favorite blogs and see that their early images were not great, but now they take amazing photos! Tells me that I am not alone in needing to work on my skills. Just start shooting and you will improve.
Also, watch what others are doing that is working. See a great picture on the internet? Have a look at it and see what it is that is working well and try to incorporate those small things into your own photography.
Tip #7: Read this ebook.
This might seem like a strange tip, but I read this book and it changed my photography life. It’s geared towards food photography but I think the concepts will apply to anything you are working on (they did for me). It’s worth the money-SO worth the money! Get it here.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that if you are using a DSLR camera and don’t know what you are doing, this is a great, simple way to learn to shoot in manual:
Good luck in your photography!
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