Wednesday

5 tips for creating amazing blog photos

Ok, I hardly think I'm a photography expert. However, I do think I've picked up a few things over the last 18 months or so of blogging and I thought it was time I shared these with you.

1. Lighting, lighting, lighting!
This is the most important thing to get right. Even if everything else is a struggle, get lighting right and your photos will be good enough. 


The first thing to bear in mind, and I cannot stress this enough, is always take photos in natural daylight. This doesn't mean going outside- I rarely go outside to take photos- and doesn't mean using sunshine. In fact, I find shade is usually better than direct light. Just so long as you take your photos in a bright room with a source of natural light, they will be clear.

Here I've taken photos in artificial lighting at night, and with a flash. As you can see, the artificial light gives a yellow tone, although this can be sorted out with white balance (more on this later). Flash is terrible for photos because it washes everything out, makes the photo flat and gives really harsh shadows. 
This photo, however, is using natural daylight. See the difference? 

Summary: Use shade in a room well-lit by natural daylight. Always.

2. Understand your camera
If you know your way around your camera, you will be able to increase the quality of your photos massively. This is especially true with DSLRs- There's no point having one if you don't understand it. See those dials with letters on the top? A lot of it is confusing but here's the key two: A is Aperture and S is Shutter speed. Very basically, aperture controls how wide the lens opens, and shutter speed is how fast the shutter goes off. The wider the aperture, or slower the shutter speed, the lighter the photo. I generally only use S mode to shoot. The problem is that a slow shutter speed makes the photo blurry, so you need to stand still!

An easy way to steady the camera is to hold the lens underneath and tuck your elbows in. Or, even better, use a tripod and a remote so you don't even need to touch it. They're really cheap on Amazon. 
White balance is very handy too- It stops the photo looking yellow in artificial light, and blue in daylight. Have a fiddle with the settings and see the difference it makes. In the photo above, I've used the incorrect white balance in daylight. As you can see, it's pretty blue! 

Summary: Use A or S mode, invest in a tripod to keep the camera steady and use the correct white balance settings. 

3. Focus
Focus is essential. Take photos that are out of focus, and they will not be clear. The key thing to remember is keep the camera steady, and focus on the main object. Even camera phones offer the ability to focus on different parts of the photo- Just tap on the area that you want to focus on. Good lighting helps with this too.

However, you can also get interesting effects with focus settings. I love to zoom my lens in, lean close to the subject, and shoot. This is what creates the blurred effect in the background of the photo above. Alternatively, focus on the background, and the foreground will be blurred. Sometimes this looks great. Sometimes, like below, it really doesn't! 

Summary: Make sure you focus on your subject, unless you're going for a more creative style. 

4. Composition
In design, there is something known as The Rule of Thirds. The principle is that any photo is split into three sections- both horizontally and vertically- and the focus should only be in one of these. Try to fill too many, and your photo will look cluttered. Understanding this principle means you can achieve some interesting compositions that are more interesting than a straight photo.


As you can see, the second photo below is a lot more interesting than the first.


It's also important to consider your background. A busy background will make the photo difficult to process and distract from the subject, whereas a plain, neutral background makes your photo a lot more clear. As you can see in the photo below, it's difficult to focus your eyes on the subject.  

Summary: Apply the Rule of Thirds, and keep a neutral background. 

5. Editing
If you take a great photo to begin with, there should be minimal editing. However, all photos need a few tweaks to get them to their full potential. This is what I do in Photoshop:

First, I edit out anything unsightly. Weird bits of dust that have picked up the light, annoying fly away hairs, the odd blemish. I never alter myself massively, but I do sometimes edit out temporary flaws. 

Next, I alter the tone and contrast. If necessary, I alter the brightness. Sometimes the white balance isn't quite right, so I neutralise the colour if necessary. Then I apply my curves layers.

Curves are amazing. They're basically layers that apply all sort of different effects to the top of your image. Think Instagram filters. You can buy some, but there are also lots of free ones out there on the internet. Just Google "free Photoshop curves". They really add depth and interest to photos.

This is the end result: 

Phew! That was a pretty long post, but I hope it helped some of you. Do you have any great tips for photography? 

16 comments :

  1. Fantastic tips! Thank you!
    FashionProject x

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  2. Yay, this is one of the best, straightforward posts on photography for blogging that I have come across. I think I will invest in a tripod for my DSLR.

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    1. I didn't want to use any technical jargon. Mostly because I don't understand it myself haha!

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  3. I love this one too!! I just got the new Sony Nex-5r camera and am trying to learn it! it is quite the task at hand. my old camera didn't do stuff like you talk about here... but this one does!

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    1. It is difficult when you get a new camera. I know I looked at mine like "How do you work???"

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  4. Great tips especially after last night's chat!

    Emma x
    http://beautyandrags.blogspot.com/

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  5. This has been massively helpful thank you :) I really struggle with photography but I'm trying really hard at the minute to improve mine :D
    Love Holly x

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    1. It just takes a lot of practice. I think I had my camera for about 2 years before I really started getting the shots I wanted.

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  6. Very handy post! I'm not such a hero with my camera, but gladly my boyfriend is. Though when he isn't here, it's always a struggle to get my settings right for the right photo, haha.

    x Sam

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    1. Haha I guess that's the downside of having a photography-skilled partner!

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  7. Great tips! And your photography subject is gorgeous! What a pretty little thing :)

    Sophie | onetenzeroseven

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    1. It's such a cute little bottle!

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  8. Such a pretty bottle! Love all the tips for sure, so easy to understand!

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