Photographs are such an important part of blogging these days. Are you happy with how your photos look or are you wanting to improve your blog photography skills?
Today I’ve partnered with Daniel Wellington to bring you five simple tips that anyone can put into practice to improve their blog photography.
I have to start by saying I am by no means a brilliant photographer. I have however, been blogging for almost 5 years, taking my own photos the whole time. When I look back on old content, I CRINGE. Like seriously, the photos are BAD! Orange, badly cropped, dark and out of focus. But, you know what? Cringing at old content means I have learnt and grown with time and that is a good thing.
This is probably one of my longest posts, but it will be worth it, so here goes:
Blog Photography Tip 1: Lighting is Key
I know people say this over and over again, but it really is true. Starting off a photo with good light makes for a crisper photo that is less grainy and has better colour. As soon as the light starts to dim you have to play with camera settings, dropping shutter speed and increasing ISO. Both of these make for grainier photos that are more likely to be blurred, especially if you aren’t using a tripod. I find that morning light is the best. Take your photos near a large window. If you don’t have a good space inside, you can also take photos outdoors, in a shaded but bright area.
Blog Photography Tip 2: Use a Simple Reflector
Using a reflector bounces light back at your photo subject, lighting up the side of the subject that is away from the light source. Now I didn’t really think this would make a difference, until I tried it. Using a commercial reflector is great, BUT you don’t have to. A simple large piece of white cardboard, white foam board or even the windscreen reflector from a car works really well too. Simply balance the foam board to the side of the photo setup, using whatever heavy objects you have around to hold it up.
In the photo below the light is coming from the window on the left, so you can see the foam board on the right.
Don’t believe me that it makes a difference? Below are two unedited photos, taken with the exact same settings at the same time. On the left no reflector is used, whereas the right photo used the white foam board. The light is much more even on the right and the photo is generally brighter.
Blog Photography Tip 3: Use Props + Shoot in Context
For a while I had been aiming for light and bright photos, thinking that meant that all my photos had to just be a plain white background with the item I was photographing. While this may be what you want sometimes, in general it looked downright boring. It is better to style the photo with props that fit the theme you’re aiming for. They also add colour and give a better idea of size and function. Be sure to keep the main photo subject / item as the focus of the photo though, without cluttering up the frame. Styling photographs is the hardest part for me, but I am slowly getting better (or, at least I hope I am!).
You can see some of my props in the photo above. It is a good idea to keep props in an easily accessible place so that you can play around with them until you get the shot that you want. I always keep an eye out for cheap props to add to my collection.
Below is a process photo from my raised copper pot plant stand DIY. While the picture on the left is not bad, having the plant behind the in-process pot plant stand shows a much better view of the purpose of the final product. The green of the plant also helps to contrast with the white pot.
Blog Photography Tip 4: Use Cardboard and contact paper as Backdrops
Some people are fortunate enough to have huge, bright studios where photos are easy. Most of us, however, have to take our photos on a desk or table, surrounded by clutter. Hands up anyone else?
One of my absolute favourite things to use is a roll of marble contact paper. Sometimes I don’t want to put props around the base of my photo, but a plain base looks, well, plain. Marble contact paper (or of course an actual piece of marble) is great for this, as seen in the oat waffles below! It adds texture, without adding clutter. Sometimes a piece of fabric or a creased table cloth can work well too.
Large coloured card is a great way to switch up the background (or base) of your photos. Simply stick them to the wall and shoot. It’s easy to take a few photos and then try a different colour. Experiment and see what works best for each photo. Sometimes it may be useful to have the same photo available with different backgrounds, especially if you need something specific to fit in with an Instagram theme and want to build up some stock images.
Blog Photography Tip 5: Identify what you like + Practice
There are so many amazing photographers / bloggers out there that we can learn from. Have a look around. Don’t just look at the photos, think about them. What is it about them that you like? Even though you like them, do they actually match your blog’s aesthetic or theme? What do you already have that you could use to improve your photos? What can you afford to buy?
There are also some really helpful online courses available, such as #coolphotoschool by Sugar & Cloth, which I loved. It is filled with useful photography and styling tips, which have really helped me up my game.
I take way too many photos for every single shoot, but it is helping me to practice and see what works (and what doesn’t!). The beauty of digital photography is that you can just delete them when you’re done and no-one even needs to know.
I’d love to see your Pure Sweet Joy DIYs. Show me on Instagram using #puresweetjoyblog or email me at deborah [at] puresweetjoy [dot] com. Like what you see here? Follow along on Facebook, Twitter or Bloglovin or subscribe to the newsletter for exclusive access to the latest news and freebies.
Thank you to Daniel Wellington for gifting me with this watch. All views are 100% my own. I will only promote brands that I love. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow Pure Sweet Joy to keep bringing you content.