Improve Your Blog Photography
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The photo styles you’re drawn to on Pinterest are important. Learn how to duplicate that style with these five simple tips to improve your blog photography!
When I first started blogging two and a half years ago there were a lot of things I didn’t know and so much that I could have done better. I wasn’t blogging to gain visitors (which is why I thought crappy iPhone photos were good enough) and I certainly wasn’t utilizing Pinterest to drive traffic to my website. Now I know that people like to click on posts if the main photo appeals to them and catches their eye. That’s why Pinterest draws in so much of our blogging traffic. So how do we make sure that our photos are eye-catching and bring people to our site? Where do we start on our quest to improve our blog photography? It’s actually quite simple, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you!
Before we get started, there is one thing you should ask yourself, “what makes you click on a photo on Pinterest?”. The color, the style, the layout? Something else? Once you figure that out you need to ask yourself if you’re styling your photos the same way, because there is obviously a reason you are drawn to those specific types of photos!
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Personally, I love clean, bright, and simple blog photographs and have been trying to move my own photos towards that specific style. I haven’t been doing it for that long but so far I’m pretty pleased with my results! And because of this I want to share five of my favorite tips that will get you on your way to better blog photography!
One of the most important factors in any type of photography is natural light. While certain lights you can buy off Amazon promote the fact that they are natural and won’t give you that awful yellow glow that regular lights give, they still pale in comparison to natural light and all it offers. If you’re like me and don’t have great light in your home, going outside to take blog pictures is a must. However, that can pose a problem during those long winter months. So, what do you do?
- See how each room of your home lights up throughout the day. One thing I’ve started to do is take notice of how the light shines in my house throughout the day. I’ve always thought that our home lacked natural light, but being more aware has made me realize there are certain rooms at certain times of the day that get enough light for me to take indoor photos.
- Shoot early in the morning or later in the evening. One thing I hate about shooting mid-day is the shadows that are cast on my photos. Shooting earlier or later means the sun isn’t as harsh and you’ll be able to get beautiful light on your images.
- Use the sun as a backlight. Backlight is actually my favorite type of light. Backlight is when the sun is behind whatever you’re shooting and it usually means that there will be no harsh shadows thrown across your image. It also means everything should be lit up evenly. I always think it makes for a much more visually pleasing photo.
- Don’t be afraid to use your flash. This is a bit contradictory to what I said about natural light but hear me out! Using your flash in situations where you’re getting weird shadows on your images can help balance everything out and evenly light up your photo. Try bouncing the flash off the ceiling or some other neutral point of your surroundings in order to get your photo lit up properly. This takes some practice so don’t be disappointed if it’s not happening right away. You can also use reflectors (like these) to get the same effect without having to use your flash!
When taking photos of projects or products it’s always best to lay them on a neutral background to make your project stand out. I like to use wooden backgrounds but other good options are fabric or a white poster board. Knowing when to use a darker vs. lighter background is key, because darker doesn’t always convey the message you’re trying to send through a photo. Make sure whatever background you use elicits the types of feelings you want to come across when someone looks at your image.
Keeping the background simple means you can dress up your photos in other ways, which leads me to point number three…
In food photography this could mean using napkins, ingredients from your recipe, plates, tableclothes, etc. I used props to get my point across in my main virtual baby shower image, and this was my first attempt at this type of photo (I’m so pleased with it!). When using props there are a few things you can do to make sure the image is visually pleasing:
- Use either contrasting or complimentary colors from the color wheel in your photos.
- Pick one color and use different shades of that color throughout your photo.
One of the toughest parts of blog photography for me is learning how to lay out my projects so they are visually pleasing. I’m starting to learn that simple is better, but it’s taken me a really long time to learn that! When using props and taking photos work with odd numbers, those seem to be more visually pleasing than even ones (that kills my OCD but it’s true!).
If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to improving your photos, look to your favorite blogs for inspiration. There is a reason you love the blogs you do, and if one of those reasons is the photography you should study their photos and try to recreate the same look on your own blog. Create a Pinterest board and pin your favorite images to it so you can come back and look at them any time you want. Look for patterns in those pictures, what you love about them and what you would do differently. Soon enough you’ll find a theme throughout your favorite images and that’ll help you when you go to recreate those pictures for your own blog!
Love this! For the post that is publishing today on our website I actually used some of the advice you gave in your previous posts and some that we had spoken about (using a white background + natural light only). I think this weekend I’ll go out and buy a big poster board so I can really improve the blog photography. I’ll be pinning this!
I am working on styling this weekend! It is a process, for sure! — and I LOVE the baby shower photo. 🙂
Thank you so much!
We love Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, Love It or List It and House Hunters International!
So cute!! I’m obsessed with Fixer Upper. I might have to go pick up some shiplap haha
I welcome all the tips I can get. I think my photography has definitely improved over the years, but it has a long way to go.
I think photography is something that you are constantly learning, there’s always some new technique to try! But once you get the basics down learning new things can come to you so much easier.
my photos are always horrendous. Thanks for the tips, I will definitely be trying these.
I’m glad you’ve found them helpful! I’m more than happy to chat if you want to talk about blog photos. It’s one of my favorite parts of blogging!
I am trying to use more natural light but my house is very dark. Maybe I’ll try using the flash a little too to help lighten things up. I usually try and take things outside if I can but sometimes it is just impractical.
I completely understand because I have the same problem! A good photo editing program will help brighten up photos as well if you shoot in RAW as well!
You really have some amazing tips! I feel like i have such hard time with the light because of the lack of windows in my home. I am often rushing to get things done. I want more props too!
Thank you so much! And I am the same way with the lighting in the apartment. We have windows only on the back of our unit so I have to take photos in the late afternoon for the best light, and I usually have a very short window to do it in. It’s very frustrating!
I use pinterest all the time for inspiration of layouts because I struggle too… Its taken a while, but I now have a couple of set ups that just work for me…. finally!
Yes! It definitely takes a while to get layouts that you love and that work well for your blog. I’m still struggling and learning, but it gets easier each time.
I work on my photography skills all the time. I usually shoot in the afternoons, as most of the windows in my house face the west. I love your layouts, I could use more effort in this department!
Thank you so much! Working on photography is a lot of fun and is so rewarding when you get something right the first time! I honestly believe that layouts are one of the hardest parts about blog photography. I’m still learning how to make my props and projects work together for great photos.
I’m constantly trying to improve my photography! I am trying to shoot more in manual mode, which is starting to be a bit easier. But, yes, natural light is probably the most important thing!
I love manual mode. haha When I first got my DSLR I made myself learn it and I am so glad I did. It’s so nice to have complete control over your photos.
I am trying to learn to take better pictures. I slowly getting there.
It definitely takes time but it is so worth it when it comes to blog traffic. Good luck on your photography journey!
any suggestions on cameras i have an old Samsung digital 35mm
It really depends on how much you want to spend. Going with an entry-level DSLR is a good idea if you want a newer camera but don’t want to spend a ton of money. I use a Nikon d3200 and love it, but a Canon Rebel is also a great camera! I would suggest not getting the bundle and just buying the camera body with a 35mm or 50mm lens. I actually talk more about all of that in this post if you’d like to take a look: http://simplymadefun.com/buying-your-first-dslr
thank you will go read.
These are great tips. I am sorta new and my photo game is lacking. I think I will start looking during my thrift store trips for items I can use as props, colorful plate, and napkins – I don’t need a full set so the thrift store would be perfect for all this!
I’ve bought a lot of my props from thrift stores, that’s such a great idea! Another great place is the Target dollar section. I mean, I love any excuse to go to Target but I’ve been known to go just to see if I can find anything for the blog in the dollar section. haha
These are fantastic tips. I was just like you, starting out with horrid low quality cell phone photos. I’m trying to step up my blog photo game so I don’t have to rely on stock photos as much. I think I have the most trouble with layout and lighting. Pinning!
Thank you! Layout is SO hard, I still struggle with it sometimes! The best thing I’ve done is to make a private Pinterest board with pins of my favorite bloggers for reference. That helps a lot when I’m out of ideas!
This post was just what I was searching for on pinterest!!! My pictures suck right now literally because I am just using my iPhone since I still cannot get the inspiration for photos. After our move I plan on diving head first into the photography side!
I highly suggest checking out Sunny Sweet Days (dot) com, she has a post about the best iPhone apps to use for photography. Her instagram photos are lovely!
Neutral backgrounds have really worked for me. It helps keeps the focus on the things in the images instead of everything in the background!
Yes! I love using neutral backgrounds, they definitely shift the focus of the photo to the actual project.
This post is amazing. Photography is one of those areas that I definitely struggle with though I’m also limited since I don’t have a DSLR camera (yet).
Thank you so much, Kori! There are actually apps you can use on your phone that really help your photos as well. There are some bloggers out there who take amazing phone photos, I think the blog Sunny Sweet Days (dot) com has a post about the best apps to use!
Wow, what a post. A very helpful resource for bloggers. I definitely agree with natural lighting. Whenever people ask about my photos, I always say the key is natural lighting. There is nothing better!
So true! I never realized just how much it truly helps your photos until I started getting more into photography. Natural light makes a world of difference!
Pinned! I need to get better at my photography and this post gave me the inspiration! I love your white background. Did you use studio lights or just open windows?
Thank you! I use a mixture of both actually. Now that it’s summertime I can use natural light much more often, but I do have professional studio lights that I use if the weather is bad. But I try to use natural as much as possible!
Natural light is seriously key. The key!!! It always makes me want to cry to see photos taken in poor artificial light. lol.
Me too! I actually cringe looking back on my old photos because they were terrible! I’m working on updating them because they’re just so painful….natural light is the way to go!
I have always loved natural light. I think that is why all of my outside photos end up looking so professional but the inside one’s tend to be lacking. Great tips to use, love learning new things.
I don’t have any extra tips! But, I love reading about them. I try to capture just the right light in my house by opening the curtains and getting really close to the sun light!
Well I think your blog photography is fantastic! I am a firm believer that good photography is essential to make your content stand out and I don’t usually use neutral backgrounds because it is not part of my aesthetic but your prop and fllatlay skills are on point.
What great tips!!!!! I’m all about using natural light with my blogs photography. Seriously makes all the difference