10 Easy Tips For Improving Your Blog Photographs
I’m definitely not an expert on photography and often need to take my own advice. I am hoping that means that my tips below are easy to understand for people like me who are learning about photography from scratch through blogging and trying to do the best they can, and might be a bit clueless! I blog about beauty and travel so I’m going to stick with tips about taking photographs for travel and beauty blog posts.
Don’t Take the Same Picture as Everyone Else
If you take a standard product photo on a white background or the cliche shot of the Eiffel Tower – you’re probably unlikely to be able to take a better version than the thousands of stock photos already available online by professional photographers. Instead, try and be creative! Try and get a travel photo from a different vantage point to all the other tourists – get up higher, take one from the side and always try and include yourself and/or friends in at least one picture to bring a bit of life to the photo and differentiate it from everyone else’s so it’s personal. Including some movement in the shot always makes a photo more unique and interesting, from a bird flying past to children playing. It also gives the photo a focal point which is important to draw in someone’s attention.
For product photos, try and change up your backgrounds, we all love a marble flat-lay but try and add some other items in from flowers to a fluffy cushion, bring some texture and depth to the photos so they look personal.
Outdoor Photos – Time of Day
For better lighting when shooting outside it’s best to be out and about around sunset or sunrise. There won’t be as much contrast or harsh shadows which will involve less editing later on the computer. This is just a loose guide, I’m not saying if the only time you’re at the Taj Mahal in your life is midday then don’t take a picture!
The late afternoon sun is often referred to as ‘Golden Hour’ because the sun sits lower in the sky and illuminates the world with more of a golden glow. This really improves travel photos and for portraits also gives you good lighting to illuminate your skin.
Indoor Photos – Buying Lighting
If you live in the UK, the pain of taking any photos on a regular rainy, drizzly day inside your home is impossible without buying some specific photography lights. You can either go for soft boxes (link to what a softbox is) or a ring light if you also want to take photos of yourself (link to what a ring light is) or a combo of both.
I have a ring light so I can use it for product photos and photos of me if I absolutely have to (since my personal hell is having my picture taken). My house is white everywhere with a lot of overhead lighting so this works well. Soft boxes are useful if your house is quite dingy so you don’t get harsh shadows behind products. I own this ring light. I purchased this stand to put it on, as it doesn’t come with a stand.
You might also have to get a bit creative and use some mirrors to try and reflect light back where you want it but just have a play around. A lot of beauty products are reflective which is even more tricky to photograph. There’re some tips here photographing reflective products.
Cameras and Lenses
The way I chose my camera was by finding some amazing pictures online and asking the person who took them what camera they used! I went with the Nikon D5300. I haven’t yet upgraded to anything apart from the kit lens but hopefully soon. Wide angled lenses makes photos look much more interesting and you get far more detail into one picture, this is perfect for beach or skyline pictures or for when you want to take pictures of hotel rooms for reviews.
Sometimes you want a picture with a blurred background; I found this guide on how to change the aperture: How to change your camera aperture. which is what will help you achieve that blurry background.
Kit – Tripods
Yes carrying around a tripod is a faff, but there are a lot of lightweight ones you can buy to take with you, your travel photos will look much better as will any time lapse videos. The difference between a regular tripod and a travel one is you can adjust the feet so it is straight even if the ground is wonky. You can go with a sturdier one to keep at home if you don’t take many travel pictures.
After reading many reviews it seems Manfrotto are the most popular with even Casey Neistat using them. If it’s good enough for Casey, it’s good enough for me!
Kit – Remotes
For photos of yourself – if you don’t have anyone to take a decent pic of you or for selfies, a remote is really handy. My camera links via wifi to my phone but trying to look at the camera and press the right button on my phone doesn’t work, I think I am too optically challenged! You can get remotes from Jessops for all different brands of cameras.
Flat Lays and Styled Photos
If you’re an owner of lots of pretty bits and bobs, have a good eye for photography and colours then making pretty styled photos and flat lays is no hassle. I am not one of those people. If you’re like me and have no idea where to start, what props to buy or just what the hell to do. I recommend firstly having a look at other styled photos and flat lays on Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram and see what you like and get some inspiration from them. I also found this brilliant post with some helpful tips.
Get In the Picture
For pictures with objects try adding a bit of life to the photo by getting in it, a bit! If you’re taking a picture of a laptop, maybe take the picture when you are resting your hands on the keys, have a picture holding the lipgloss tube rather than it just flat on a table. It adds realness and brings you into your blog photos, it also just makes a nice change as we often end up having the same background for all our beauty pictures which can get boring for the reader.
Even with good lighting sometimes you will need to edit your pictures afterward to make them brighter so they look more appealing. There are so many different blog posts out there already it seems pointless for me to repeat them so instead here are links of how to brighten your photos with your phone and how to brighten your photos with photoshop.
When Inspiration Fails
Sometimes your camera breaks, you’re ill, or you just can’t balance work, blogging, and life. In these cases, there are still a few options so your blog post doesn’t remain photo-less.
You can purchase stock photography from lots of sites, personally, I like the ones from Canva, who I also use to make some of my blog photos and infographics and there are plenty to be found on Etsy where people create lots of different stock or styled photos that you can buy and use yourself.
I hope you found this helpful!
What are your top tips or things that you struggle with when taking photos?