Whether you’re fairly new to blogging and still learning about how you can improve your photograph, or, just looking for inspiration then keep reading.
Did you know our brain processes imagery 60,000 times faster than text?
The visuals on your blog are pivotal, after all, the photography can make or break a users experience and may be put off by poor imagery. My photography style is always changing and evolving and having moved on from light and bright with a pink theme, I currently love moody atmospheric photos with a bit more depth of interest. However, your general style is entirely a personal choice, of course.
As my style evolves, I often look back over some of the first posts and imagery I published and immediately see that they could use a refresh.
Use Your smartphone camera, It’s ok.
I must admit, I mainly use my camera but for a quick Instagram shot, I may switch to my iPhone. Most modern smartphones are more than capable of taking amazing shots, although, bear in mind that the phone photo file is tiny and looks perfect when viewed on the phone itself or for Instagram, but if you’re wanting to blow the image up for web use it may become pixellated as the file isn’t really designed to be made larger so may lose some quality.
Editing Apps you’ll love.
Also, a definite must for my blog photography is editing apps “InstaEditor” this is my go-to and has a nifty little whitening tool which I always use, great for general whitening of backgrounds plus you can even whiten your teeth with it – if you like? I also use “Font Candy” to resize my photos according to which Social Media platform I’m posting the photo. This is really handy to make sure you get the best bit of the photo in your post.
A recent find is the Photoshop FX app which is brilliant for all kinds of editing. You can adjust the curves of the photo (adjusting the image colour and tone). Also, the Photoshop FX app has a clone stamp – this is perfect for making unwanted areas of the photo disappear, I used it to remove a shower-head in the background of a recent photo. If you haven’t tried this one, it’s definitely worth a download and it’s free! All of the apps I use, (shown above) are free to download.
Get yourself a tripod. Obviously, the more you spend the better but generally, the “ball head” variety give ease of angle changes etc. If you’re taking full-length body shots always ‘shoot from the hip’ this height allows your body to remain correctly proportioned. More recently, I purchased a “Neweer” tripod which comes with a quick-release plate which is absolutely invaluable for quicky switching between tripod and hand-held shots.
Another handy item for your kit is a remote shutter release cable. Plug it straight into your camera (assuming its compatible). This enables you to take the shot without actually touching the camera, thus removing the element of camera shake. Another useful item is light-diffusing reflector disk, but be warned, it may come in a deceptively small package, when you open the bag it explodes into a HUGE circular reflector.
It comes twisted and flattened into two so that it can fit into its smallish bag. This is iso useful and I use it with every shot. It has four sides – which can be unzipped. White (for filling shadow or to bounce light back from the source i.e a window) silver (for contrast) black (for blocking stray light) or gold for warm tones. The gold gives a beautiful glow to the photos. It’s good for selfies if you want a softer glow. I purchased mine from eBay for around £7.99 inc postage so it definitely won’t break the bank.
I haven’t as yet purchased a stand for it as I just lean it up against anything that will support it, or if I’m doing a flay lay I just lean it against myself and take the photo over the top to bounce the light back onto my subject from the window. It’s very light-weight so this is fine for the time being. If you aren’t using one of these, consider how it can improve your photography and if you can afford one it’s well worth it. It stores away nicely in its bag.
I have a huge love of blog props, I find it impossible to go to the high street without eyeing up faux succulents, small bottles /vases and notebooks with inspirational wording. I do this both subconsciously and consciously as blog props are everywhere, even in the supermarkets. It has to be Homesense and TkMaxx for the best of the best though.
If you’d rather not spend too much on props you can make use of what you already have around your home. When planning a shoot session; have a look around your house, going from room to room carrying a box or basket and collect suitable items that you can use for the photo.
For products which won’t stop rolling, I use blu,’ white or Pink tack to secure items in position; nothing more annoying than an item rolling and the branding ends up facing away from the camera. Use a tiny dot of blu’ tack to secure in place.
Use Those Magazines.
My other love is magazines, a lifelong addiction which up until recently I’d kept a lid on Flick through them initially, armed with self adhesive-page markers, seek out the pretty pages, relevant features or colour schemes which you can use, then mark the page, no folding of corners here please, this saves time later. Then of course, onto reading the mag to keep up to date with all the latest. I then file it in my magazine holder which sits elegantly on my desk so they’re always at hand. Personally, I love to see magazines in blog photography, ‘Vogue’ always works well but any glossy will do, old or new alike.
Blog photography backgrounds…
“The Range” store is fab for large coloured boards, really cheap at around £2.99 each I have a few which are in constant use for backgrounds. Also, If you happen to be in a hardware store, find a roll of wallpaper you like and tear off a good-sized piece, Always feels a little uncomfortable doing this, but I pull a metre or so from the roll and fold it so that I can tear it without causing a scene.
It’s virtually impossible to tear it without making a fold, (or a scene) You could take scissors but this could seem even more brazen. Roll your piece back up and head over to the till, tell the assistant you’ve torn off a sample piece and they’ll let you have it free of charge. There are always brick or whitewashed flooring style wallpapers to be had so go wild and start tearing your way through those loose (unsealed) rolls. Recently I was told off by the checkout assistant for taking too much, some stores are more lenient than others. For the marble look, a roll of self-adhesive contact paper does the trick. Readily available and fairly cheap. Just stick it to a board, or large piece of card, trim the edges and you’ve got that marble desk you’ve been dreaming of. If you really want to uplevel your imagery, choose a purpose-made backdrop board or background paper, my go-to’s are photoboards.org and blackvelvetstyling.com .Once you’ve got the background right, you’re half-way there!
If you’re still shooting in auto, darker weather conditions can be frustrating, but take time out to learn your camera settings properly which will allow you to work with varying conditions and get the shot right. White cloud days are good as these give even light and act as a natural diffuser to the sunlight giving the perfect light condition, particularly for outside shoots.
If your preference is light, bright photos then you’ll need good light to get a nice clear shot. I have some studio lighting but I’m not a fan of that tungsten appearance they give. I was very fortunate to win a Ring light in a twitter competition which has its uses and great for video content – You can find out more about that in My Neewer Ring Light post.
Studies into human behaviour show lighter brighter photos earn many more likes and interaction than their darker counterparts. (We’re talking Instagram here), It’s simple enough to do post-production, alter the exposure and brightness, (within reason), take down the shadows a little and play about with the light settings. Using the Vignette feature on your iPhone or in post-production is a lovely way of softening the outer edges of your image in a lighter, or darker fashion and something I use frequently. However, darker imagery can look edgy, especially for fashion shots, so don’t be too regimental about your style and just go with the flow.
What’s your blog photography style? Light bright, or moody?