Wednesday, 10 January 2018

From Drab To Fab: Blog Photography Tips

Photography can easily be one of the hardest aspects of blogging. There's something about taking a flatlay or maybe even an outfit shot that I just found unbelievably difficult (even throughout the first couple years of blogging). Yet all in all, there are a few simple things that we're able to do to improve the overall aesthetic of our photos.

It's something that we shouldn't do, but certainly something that I can say I'm guilty of and that's comparing my photos to others - especially when you've got so many incredible people taking some immaculate photos, it's difficult to not do that, particularly when you have no photography experience yourself. I just didn't understand how their photos appeared as though they'd been taken by a professional photographer with 25 years experience and mine were pretty much on the complete other end of the spectrum. 

Saying that, recently I've really put some much needed effort into improving my overall photos, and bit by bit I'm finally happy to say that I've gotten to a point where I'm actually proud of the images I'm taking. It didn't all happen at once; if you take a glance at my blog photography over the years you'll be able to notice slight improvements to my photos as time goes on. But like anything, blog photography can be a massive learning curve; if you too are struggling with this aspect blogging, take into account some of these well loved tips - I'm sure like me you'll also see some significant improvements to your photography too!

If there's one thing you should take away from this post, make sure that it's this. You could have the best camera known to man, yet if you've got terrible lighting then you're unlikely to produce a great photo. Take for example the photos above. The first was taken in my university room, probably at 10 at night, whereas the second was taken at around midday in my conservatory, a room surrounded by windows with plenty of natural light flooding in. Whilst studio lighting is great (and I may whip mine out every now and then), they're quite simply unnecessary, especially as natural lighting is free - so head over to a large window beaming with natural light and take your photos there. I'd also recommend taking bulk photos on a day with plenty of sunlight if possible.

Definitely one thing that I've been playing around with more recently, I didn't quite realise how big of an impact the use of props can have in drastically improving a photo. Head back two years and you'll see with your very own eyes the lack of props that I used; it was simply the product(s) I was talking about on a plain white background... there's nothing very interesting about that, is there? Now I love using an array of props; from ribbons to fake flowers to scarves, they add further depth to the photo, making it more eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing.

If you're struggling on the prop side of things, check out my latest post featuring 50 Inexpensive and Easy Prop Ideas!

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thought all bloggers had pristine white, wooden and marble countertops/surfaces they took their photos on? Turns out most don't. White and/or lighter backgrounds tend to work the best with flatlays, so consider picking up some plain white card, contact paper or even free wallpaper samples. See that photo above? That was taken with one of my wallpaper samples from The Range. I adore playing around with different backgrounds; marble and wooden backgrounds are great as they add further dimension and textures into the photo (without having to splash x amount on a new table or countertops), but a piece of A2 white card works perfectly too - plus it aids in keeping your photos nice and bright. Furry/fluffy blankets are becoming more commonly used, giving a great added texture to photos.

Photo Editing
Editing is an absolute must - at least for me. Maybe it's obvious, but when I first began blogging my photos went through next to no editing whatsoever. Granted, the photos taken were that bad and no amount of editing could've probably helped them in any way, shape or form, yet it's become a crucial part in my photography process. For the longest time I stuck with using PicMonkey, however since they've began charging for most of their services I've recently switched over to using

I firstly begin by resizing the photo - I like to keep the width of mine between 1000-1200 pixels, reducing the size of the image in question so that the image file isn't too large, yet it fits the width of my blog easily. After that it's a simple process of playing around with the exposure (brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights and light fill) and colour (saturation, and temperature if the photo is a little on the orange or blue side of things. And voile, done! An incredibly easy process, yet essential for improving your finished photos.

I'll be honest, the type of camera you use isn't the be all and end all (in fact, many phones take incredible photos nowadays - I desperately want the iPhone X just to take advantage of portrait mode), but I'd be lying if I didn't say that a DSLR isn't your best bet to taking great blog photos (I use a Canon EOS 700D). Take that with a pinch of salt though; I would never tell anyone starting a blog to go out and splash hundreds of pounds on a new camera. Blogging is and usually starts out as just a hobby, and the fact of the matter is you don't know whether it'll be something you'll enjoy years or even months down the line. Take advantage of the cameras/phones you currently have at your disposal and if at some point in the future you discover that you really enjoy blogging and want to further improve your photos, then maybe consider investing in a new camera then. I would never recommend splashing huge amounts of cash on a hobby which you may have abandoned 4 months down the line.

Don't forget that other bloggers/Instagrammers photos are a great source of inspiration when it comes to your blog photography; I currently have a folder on my computer filled with a selection of photos that I quite simply love. Just looking at these photos gives me so much inspiration as to what I can do next; what kind of props could I use, what different angles could I take my photos from? It's not copying, and please don't ever directly copy another photo (whether recreating or stealing that photo), but maybe take a little bit of inspiration from a few different photos and see how you can blend smaller aspects together to create something unique to you.

What's the most important thing you've learnt in relation to blog photography?

Lots of Love

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