One of the most important elements to any blog post, other than the words themselves, is blog photography. Beautiful, high quality photography that breaks up your text and makes your blog posts more shareable.
You could use stock photos but if you really want to stand out (especially as Pinterest favours original photos) you are much better off taking your own.
No worries if you’re not a photography pro, here’s some blog photography tips for beginners to get you started…
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Firstly, if you want your blog photography to look bright and colourful, you need good lighting.
Opt for natural daylight, either outdoors or next to a big window and use a good light reflector opposite your light source to lift the shadows.
If you’re taking photos outside, time your photo shoot for the perfect light by choosing early morning or later evening. The sun will be too bright midday and you’ll have to work a lot harder to combat harsh shadows, unless you work in the shade. natural light
Learning your gear
Whether you’re using a DSLR (I fully recommend this one for blogging) or your smartphone, you should get to grips with your gear and learn the settings available and its limitations.
The first setting you should get to understand, is aperture.
Aperture controls the amount of light that comes through the lens and also determines how much of your image will be in focus. Ever see those portraits with soft blurry backgrounds? That’s controlled by aperture! Ever see those tack sharp landscapes with everything in focus? That’s controlled by aperture. The amount of focus in an image is called Depth Of Field.
A large aperture of around f/1.4 (being a shallow depth of field), lets more light through the lens but will have less things in focus and a small aperture of around f/10 lets less light through the lens but will have more things in focus.
The aperture you get to choose depends on your equipment, some smartphones allow to choose your aperture but if you want a really shallow depth of field, then you should pair a prime lens such as this one with a camera.
Shutter speed is important if you want to capture fast moving subjects, such as animals, sports, or kids but also equally important if you want to capture light streaks, flowing waterfalls, star trails, blurry movement.
Shutter speed is simple. A fast shutter speed of 1/2000 seconds will capture fast moving objects and freeze them, whereas a slow shutter speed of 1/15 seconds or longer will capture fast moving things and blur them.
If your subject is completely still and you have a tripod, you can also use a slow shutter speed to let extra light into the photograph. So if you have chosen the largest aperture and your images are still coming out too dark, you can use a slower shutter speed to make them lighter.
Then there is ISO. This controls how sensitive your sensor is to light. So the lower numbers such as ISO 200 are less sensitive to light and the higher numbers such as ISO 1600 are more sensitive to light.
Sounds like a no-brainer if you need extra light right? Well, not really, as the higher the ISO, the more digital noise/grain you get on your images. Grain can look great in some images but if you want a nice clean bright image, then you want to keep as low ISO as possible.
I tend to start with ISO 100/200 and work my way up from there. Some cameras are better at handling higher ISO’s than others, so photographs from different cameras will produce a different amount of digital noise for the same ISO.
So in conclusion, you want to pick as low ISO as possible, then pick your aperture depending on how much of your image you want in focus and then your shutter speed depending on whether you have any moving subjects. Adjust your settings accordingly!
If you have a camera that supports priority modes, such as Av/A (aperture priority) or Tv/S (shutter priority) you can try each setting manually at a time and your camera will pick the other settings for you depending on your lighting situation.
If you’re photographing products, food or flat lays you will need some props to make your blog photography more interesting.
You can easily find budget props in DIY stores, online or lying around your home.
Here are some ideas for blog photography props you can use:
- Contact paper for backgrounds
- White or coloured card
- Tile samples
- Cups and saucers
- Paper clips
Making the most of the scene
As you’ll probably be using your blog photography for lots of different purposes (like Pinterest graphics, social media posts, cover photos, in paid products or opt-in freebies, as well as in your actual blog posts) you need to make the most of every scene you set up!
You can easily take 20 photographs of one scene if you take the photos at different angles and perspectives, if you rearrange the props, if you crop in and get a closer look and if you take photos of the same scene but with different lenses.take them at different angles
Be sure to take some photos with the subject as the main focus and some where you have plenty of negative space, as you’ll need lots of photos that you can add text to.
Editing your photos
I shoot in RAW format and prefer to edit my blog photography in Lightroom and Photoshop.
I make minor adjustments in Lightroom, such as adjusting exposure and colour correcting and I use Photoshop for any further edits, such as putting in text or using overlays.
If you’re using a smartphone for your blog photography, you can download the Lightroom App.
To get a jump start on editing your photos and keeping them consistent, especially if you want to theme your Instagram feed, I’d recommend using presets.
These presets are perfect for blog photography and work with Lightroom.
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The following presets are for the Lightroom Phone App only:
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Get to grips with your gear, aim for lots of light and have a box of budget props you can whip out for photos!
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