We live in a seriously visual world. Everything is about the visuals. Whether it’s in marketing, advertising, in print, or online… Great design, bold and bright colors, clear and crisp images are what can really make someone. And that is TOTALLY true for blogs!
When someone comes to your blog for the first time, they are going to gather a first impression within about two seconds. If your design is to busy, to confusing, or just downright unattractive… your reader is going to be turned off. Same goes for your images. If your pictures are blurry, grainy, poorly composed, muted, too big, or too small… a reader is going to be turned off and they’ll likely “X” out of your blog maybe to never return.
So, I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks for making sure you have GREAT images for your blog. A lot of these tips could really be applied to ANYONE who loves to take pictures, BUT many of these tips are geared a little more specifically for fashion or style bloggers – and honestly, the same rules can be applied to food, DIY / crafting, and home decor bloggers, etc.
Since I take 90% of my own blog photos and I even take blog photos (and regular photos, too!! 🙂 for other fabulous folks, I thought I’d share some examples along with the tips. I’m certainly NO expert whatsoever, but these are some things I have learned along the way.
Six Ways to Take Your (Blog) Photography to the Next Level
1. FIND GOOD LIGHT.
Lighting can seriously make or break your images. If you own a DSLR camera OR an iPhone, lighting can make all the difference between an “okay” image and a “great” image! Use natural light and avoid artificial light like the plague. Be sure to take your pictures outside (especially if you’re a style blogger…) or at least by a large window. If you have to shoot inside, turn off all the lights in the room. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but by turning off all the lights in the room and allowing natural light to be your only source, you’ll get rid of that awful orange haze that is case by artificial lamps.
If you’re outside, avoid “DIRECT” sunlight and find an area where the light is diffused. I love this picture of Crystal (above) – primarily because I love how warm and glowy the light is around her. She was under a tree but in front of sidewalk which acted as a natural light reflector.
2. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD COMPOSITION.
Again, even if you are using a DSLR camera or an iPhone, make sure your composition of each image is on point. Don’t try to get “artsy” with your images. Crooked angles aren’t flattering. A picture where the camera is looking “up” at the person isn’t flattering (hello, double chin!). A picture where the camera is looking “down” at the person isn’t flattering (hello, Stewie!). Make sure the camera is looking straight on to the person and play with different subject composition. Use the rule of thirds to keep the subject on the left or right third of the image. Or, place the subject dead center. Play with negative space if you want to by having the subject be very small towards the bottom of the image and leave room above the subject.
I can’t fully pinpoint what it is, but I LOVE this detail picture I took of my awesome friend Brooke. It’s just such fun composition and shows off part of the outfit in an interesting way.
3. GET THE DETAILS.
If you’re doing a style post, you need AT LEAST three main images to really capture the look and feel of your outfit. I would also recommend that most, if not ALL of your style post images should be vertical images. 1) A full-body shot that clearly shows the outfit. 2) A “half-body” image. This image catches a close up of either your body waist up or waist down… depending on which part of the look you’re really trying to highlight. 3) A detail. Zoom in on the jewelry, a bag, shoes, or any intricate detailing on the clothes. Obviously you can take more than three photos for a style post, but those three are the most important in order to really get across what you’re trying to share about that particular look.
This is an outfit that I photographed for Amy last winter and it’s still one of my all-time favorites. I love the lighting, the details, the coloring, and the overall feel.
4. DON’T GO OVERBOARD WITH IMAGES.
For a style post, I’d say 8-10 images is a GRACIOUS plenty. Unless each image REALLY depicts a different feeling or aspect of the look, I would share no more than that for a post. If it’s a DIY / crafting or even a lifestyle post, you have more wiggle room with how many images you share… because frankly it may take 15-20 or even 30 images to accurately convey what you’re trying to convey.
I would also say that involves NOT over-editing your images. Don’t just slap on a bunch of filters because you think it looks cool… try and edit your images to have a look and feel that is natural.
5. INVEST IN QUALITY EQUIPMENT.
Yes, you CAN get by with just using and iPhone to take pictures for your blog, BUT, that will only get you so far. The sooner you can start saving your pennies and the sooner you can invest in a DSLR camera with at least one good lens, the better. If you’re not a photography buff, that’s okay! Get a basic entry level camera like a Canon Rebel or even a used NikonD40. Then, invest in a good lens like a 35mm or 50mm fixed lens. The lens is REALLY what is going to make the images what you want them to be.
For reference, I shoot with a Nikon D7000 and a 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.4 lenses.
6. LEARN TO SHOOT IN MANUAL.
Once you have invested in that DSLR, do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT stick that camera on “auto” mode and expect it to work its magic. You are basically wasting your money if you take a nice DSLR camera and only shoot in auto. When you shoot in manual mode, you have the control of your exposure to give you that soft, light, almost blown out look, OR you have the ability to create darker images like a silhouette in front of a sunset. By controlling the light in your images through the adjustments of your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, you won’t have to rely on harsh on-camera flash. The days of that awful red-eye are history!
Now, what tips / tricks do YOU have? Happy picture taking!
This post is also part of the #WeDo Photography series hosted by Amy from The Charming and Annie from The Ranting Latina. You can check out all the #WeDo Photography posts on their blogs and as a thank you, we’re giving away $25 in PayPal cash. Money money money! 🙂
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