It's been a while since I've shared any blogging advice around here, and since I've been getting a lot of really nice emails from you guys lately about my photography (aww, shucks!), I thought I would give you some quick 'n dirty tips for getting a decent shot. Now I'm by no means an expert when it comes to photography, but hopefully I've picked up a thing or two during my five years of blogging that will be helpful to you, too... here goes!
1. KNOW YOUR LIGHTING — I can't tell you how many times I've come across a beautifully styled shot that has Pinterest gold written all over it, save for the fact that it was taken indoors in horrible lighting. The photo inevitably looks flat or worse, grainy, and just like that, I'm no longer interested. Unless you have a professional setup which, let's face it, most of us don't, then natural, even lighting is your best friend. Know the best times to shoot outdoors (hello, golden hour!), and stay away from harsh sunlight to avoid shadows and unflattering light. But if going outside is not an option, shooting by an window can yield some pretty amazing results as well. If all this good light hunting business sounds like a lot of work, that's because it is, but believe me when I tell you that the results are so very worth it.
2. NAIL DOWN YOUR STYLE — This is probably one of the hardest things to master as a blogger, but the sooner you figure out what your photography style is, the better off you'll be. Your photos are probably the biggest defining characteristic of your brand, and when someone can identify a photo as yours before they even see the photo credit, that's huge. Think about it — I bet you could spot a Design Love Fest or A Beautiful Mess photo from a mile away; they just have an essence that embodies their respective blogs, and in doing so, their photos help solidify their brand with each and every view. If you're not capturing that, or at least striving to, that's a lost opportunity. Think about what your vibe is and how you want your blog to be perceived by your readers, then tackle everything you do from that angle — from what you're pinning and sharing on Instagram, to the photos you upload on your blog itself, always think big picture (pun intended) where your photos are concerned.
3. GET FRIENDLY WITH PROPS — Now that you know what your style is, enlist the help of one or two props to help take your photos to the next level. Styling a beauty post? Flowers can be a really nice touch. Shooting a Christmas-themed recipe? Enlist the help of a few holiday decorations to amplify your after-photos. Whatever it is that you're shooting, think about what outside elements might compliment your subject, and experiment with different things. Always consider colour and scale when you're selecting your props, and don't be discouraged if it takes a few tries to put together something you're really proud of — hey, blogging ain't easy.
4. DON'T SETTLE — You know when you've taken a bunch of photos that you know aren't quite right, but you call it a day anyway because you figure one of them will work? Well in my experience, those photos rarely do. Sure you have what feels like a million photos to choose from, but if you've already put in all that time and energy to set up a photo, you may as well stick with it and explore different angles or camera settings until you get "the shot" — you'll always know once you get it, and sticking it out until you do can mean the difference between getting your work noticed and shared, and simply putting something out there just for the sake of it. On the other hand, if you're not getting a strong shot and you're up against fleeting light or weak props, it's OK to call it a day and pick things back up when the light is better or you've tracked down that perfect accent — you can't rush perfection!
5. HARNESS THE POWER OF RAW — Aside from picking up a decent lens, this last one has probably been the best thing I've done for my photos; not only is the quality substantially better when you shoot in raw, but the control you have in editing your photos is huge. Overexposed photos ain't no thang when you're shooting in this mode, which used to be my biggest reason for wasted shots prior to making the switch (well that, and making ridiculous faces). If you don't shoot in this setting yet, just try it out for a bit — raw photos take up a lot more space on your computer, but the editing process and end result will be infinitely better, I promise!
Want more blogging tips? Check out these past articles about balancing work and blogging, and taking your blog to the next level. xx
Photo by Adventures in Fashion