Whether you're a new blogger, IG star or general online-content creator, you'll know just how important photography is. Now I'm by no means an expert when it comes to the subject, but there are a couple things I've picked up over the years that will hopefully help you hone your skills and create the best possible images you can for your own blogs. So with that in mind, here are some quick 'n dirty tips for getting a decent shot... and as always, sharing your own tips below is encouraged (after all, sharing is caring).
1. KNOW YOUR LIGHTING — I can't tell you how many times I've come across a beautifully-styled shot that has Pinterest written all over it, save for the fact that it was taken in horrible lighting. The photo inevitably looks a flat (and not in that cool, deliberate way you see on Instagram— example above), and just like that, I'm no longer interested. Unless you have a professional setup which— let's face it— most of us don't, then natural, even lighting is your best friend. Know the best times of day to shoot outdoors (aka, golden hour), and stay away from harsh sunlight to avoid shadows and unflattering light. If going outside is not an option, shooting near a window can yield some pretty amazing results as well, especially where product shots are concerned. If all this good-light hunting sounds like a lot of work, that's because it is, but the results are infinitely worth the extra effort.
2. NAIL DOWN YOUR STYLE — This is probably one of the hardest things to master as a blogger, but the sooner you figure out what your photography style is, the better off you'll be. Your photos are probably the biggest defining characteristic of your brand, and when someone can identify a photo as being yours before they ever see the photo credit, that's huge. Think about it: I bet you could spot a Kate la Vie or A Beautiful Mess image from a mile away, because their photos consistently capture the essence of their blogs/social, and in doing so, help solidify their brands with every view. If you're not capturing that, or at the very least striving to, that's a lost opportunity. Think about what your vibe is and how you want your blog to be perceived by your readers, then tackle everything you do from that vantage point— from what you're pinning and sharing on Instagram, to the photos you upload on your blog itself, always think big picture where your photos are concerned.
3. UTILIZE PROPS — Now that you know what your style is, enlist the help of a couple props to help take your photos to the next level. Styling a beauty post? Add flowers and some textural elements, like a scarf and a marble slab, to add dimension and interest. Shooting a holiday-themed recipe? Try adding a few tasteful decorations to amplify your shots. Whatever it is that you're shooting, think about what elements might compliment your subject matter, then experiment with different sizes and textures. Always consider colour and scale when you're selecting your props, and don't be discouraged if it takes a few tries to put together something you're really proud of... trial and error is a key aspect to developing your style.
4. DON'T SETTLE — You know when you've taken a bunch of photos that you know aren't quite right, but you call it a day anyway because you figure one of them will likely work? Well in my experience, those photos rarely do. Sure, you may have what feels like a million photos to choose from, but if you've already put in all that time and energy to set up your shoot, you may as well stick with it and play around with different angles until you get "the shot" — you always know once you have it, and sticking it out until you do can mean the difference between producing work that gets noticed and simply putting something out there just for the sake of doing so. On the other hand, if you're not getting a strong shot and you're up against dying light— or you're not happy with your styling or props— it's OK to call it a day and pick things up again when the light is better or you've tracked down that perfect accessory. You can't rush a good thing.
5. HARNESS THE POWER OF RAW — Aside from picking up a decent lens for my DSLR, this last tip has probably been the best thing I've done for my photography. Not only is the quality substantially better when you shoot in raw, but the control you have in editing your photos is huge. Overexposed photos ain't no thang when you're shooting in this mode, which used to be my biggest reason for wasted shots prior to making the switch (well that, and looking a fool). If you don't shoot in this setting yet, try it— raw photos may take up more space on your computer, but the editing process and end result will be infinitely better, promise.
Want more blogging tips? Check out these past articles about maximizing your workday and balancing full-time work with blogging.