For most of us bloggers, having images in our posts is pretty important. In fact most of my favorite blogs have inspiring photo content. Most people, including myself, are drawn to pretty images. However, it doesn’t have to be a lot of work to produce excellent images for your blog. Today I’m here to share a few tips on how to create better images for your blog. You can apply this to any camera, whether you use a DSLR or your phone.
1. Find good light!
I’m a firm believer that natural light creates the best photos. Diffused light in particular is excellent for just about anything. It creates soft edges between shadows and highlights. It softens textures, lines, and contours. I love diffused natural light in photography. Oh, it gives me goosebumps sometimes. The key is finding the dreamy, goodness. The better the light, the better the photos. First of all, you can shoot at sunrise or sunset. The light is often much softer and will look much less harsh. You can also do some neat things with backlighting (even on your phone). In the middle of the day the light comes down directly from overhead. The result brings very unflattering shadows. If you can’t shoot at sunrise or sunset find a shady spot somewhere, or a place where the light bounces off something (like a white wall) before it gets to your subject. A cloudy day is also perfect for shooting because the clouds act as a natural diffuser.
2. Be aware of the background
A bad background can ruin an image. It doesn’t matter if your subject is amazing if your background is distracting. Sometimes a photo needs a simple background like a blank wall and other times calls for something more dramatic. If I am taking a photo of a small object, I usually find a plain background that won’t take away from the subject. If people are involved I’ll usually look for something more interesting. If the landscape is gorgeous it is much easier to create a beautiful picture. Take the photo below for example. The image wouldn’t be nearly as compelling without the cityscape in the background. I took this same shot with my iPhone and it turned out great too. (The natural diffused light played a big part here as well.)
3. Follow the rule of thirds
This helps tremendously with composition. What you do is imagine 3 lines dividing your image both vertically and horizontally. You want your points of focus to fall a third of the way up, or a third of the way to the left and so on and so forth. This rule based on where the eye is naturally drawn. Here is an example:
My subject’s eye is right on line in the top right third of the photo. Naturally, your eye is going to be drawn to the spot. Her hand falls on the other line, which is also a good spot. Now, you get get really technical with this and create brilliant balance in you photos. This is definitely something that’s fun to experiment with, but like any other rule of photography and art…it’s made for breaking!
4. Less is more, especially with editing
I’ve always loved editing. Even when I just had a point and shoot, I would edit my photos in whatever software came with my computer before printing or uploading. I knew even then that adding a little contrast and color can do wonders. These days you can do tons of editing to photos on your phone as well. However, it is really easy to go a bit overboard with editing. I remember when I started playing around in Lightroom and Photoshop for the first time…I may have over edited some photos…just a touch. I learned very quickly that less is more with editing. Here’s an example of a before and after from a recent shoot:
All I did was add a little contrast, some warmth and a little brightness with my presets. I try to get my photos to look good in camera so that I don’t have to do as much in post processing. Personally, I think it’s best to keep a photo clean. Editing trends will come and go so try to keep it pretty minimalistic. There’s definitely a delicate balance between improving a photo and ruining it. Even if I do a lot of work to a photo, I try to keep it looking natural. You can do the same thing with just about any software you have, even on your phone. A few of my favorites are VSCO cam, Camera + and Snapspeed.
5. Think lifestyle and editorial
There are two big styles of photography that prevail across the blogging world – Lifestyle and editorial. Lifestyle is pretty easy to emulate. It’s all about the everyday life. I suggest taking your camera everywhere and focus on the little details of the day to day, from your morning coffee to a day out with friends. This style of shooting invites the viewer into your life and gives them a glimpse of your personal perspective. Editorial on the other hand, takes the personal aspect out of the photos. This has a lot to do with the angles you shoot from, mostly straight on from the front or directly above. For instance, instead of taking a photo of my necklace where it was on my dresser (lifestyle), I’d move it to a plain white background, thus, de-personalizing the photo. To see more of this style, check out almost any home, food or wedding magazine. Two of my favorites are Southern Weddings and Martha Stewart Living.
Have you picked up any good blogger photo tips? Was it online or from someone you know?