Photography is a crucial element of blogging and social media these days that we can’t afford to be lazy on. It’s also one of the elements that takes time, patience and perseverance to truly master. Truth is, the prettier and more Instagrammable our images are – the more people will be enticed to come back for seconds and follow along your journey. So I’m doing a post on my photography tips for bloggers out there – established or just starting out – you may find something useful here to share.
I would’ve prefaced in many of my previous posts on photography and will do it again now; that I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on the subject and still continue to learn new things every single day of this crazy blogger life. Check out some of my other posts below which might help you if you’re just starting out:
- How I edit my Instagram Photos
- Tips on photo composition
- Best photo editing applications for your phone
Photography Tips for Bloggers
Know Your Camera
You don’t have to have a DSLR camera to take good photos because you could have the most expensive, top of the range camera in your hands but this all becomes futile if you don’t know how to work the bloody contraption. Auto is not the solution either. In fact there are many people out there who have created amazing content just from using the cameras on their smartphones!
Lesson 1: Having a DSLR camera does not guarantee good photos if you don’t have any basic photography knowledge.
My Story – I made the mistake of believing that I needed an expensive camera to start a legitimate blog so I invested in a Canon 5DMKII back at the end of 2014. I had taken the recommendation from many friends who were professional photographers on the camera and decided to get it for myself. I previously had a DSLR but it was an entry-level camera so I didn’t think it would make the cut.
When I got home with my new toy it took me no time to realize that I actually had no freaking clue how to use it because I couldn’t fit my lenses from my half-frame onto the full-framed 5D. Truth be told, I had no idea what the difference was and that there was one because I assumed they would all fit nicely onto one another.
It took me months before I got the hang of how to use the camera and work with the settings. Believe me, it’ll take a lot of patience on your behalf but the best way to learn is to just experiment.
Choose a mode that you’re most comfortable shooting in and master that before you move onto the next. Eventually you will move onto manual when you start intuitively wanting to change certain elements of the photo including the aperture, exposure and ISO. This is what I mean by knowing your camera and just like getting to know your partner takes time, this is the same for cameras.
Understand the Exposure Triangle
There are three elements to consider when shooting in manual mode – aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Together, these three form the exposure triangle.
- ISO – this adjusts your camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is and the brighter your image will be. Whilst this sounds great because we all want light and bright images BUT – the higher your ISO number the grainier your images will look. You would tend to adjust your ISO in low light situations.
- Shutter Speed – pretty self-explanatory in itself as this controls how quickly the shutter opens to allow light in. The faster the shutter speed, the less light it lets in and the darker your images will be and vice versa. As a rule of thumb, you never want to use a shutter speed that is slower than the focal length of your lens. On a sunny day, you’d use a fast shutter speed to keep your pictures from ‘blowing out’.
- Aperture – this one is trickier to get your head around but it essentially controls the amount of light being let in and the depth of field. To put it in layman terms; depth of field determines how much of the photo you’re taking is in focus. A larger aperture (smaller f-stop number) means more light (brighter image) and a shallower depth of field (less focused image).
Lesson 2: The shutter speed should exceed the focal length of the lens you’re using for crisp photos. Anything slower will require a tripod.
Lesson 3: Adjusting the aperture will create the classic blogger images where the subject is in focus and the background is blurred (also known as Bokeh).
Lesson 4: Take multiple shots of the same thing but using different adjustments of each component of the triangle to see how they all come together for yourself. Reading about it is always different to when you’re seeing it in action for yourself.
Always Use Natural Light
Without trying to sound like a broken record when you’ve probably heard this tip a zillion times over but shooting during the day is always key. Unless you’re actually trying to create a night shoot (which is a whole other kettle of fish when it comes to lighting) you should always be shooting at the start or end of the day.
Of course I understand that some of us have day jobs which means the only time to shoot content is in the evenings with artificial lighting. If this is the case then it’s easy to find cheap lighting, diffusers and soft boxes online to help you.
Pick & Invest in Your Lens
Whilst having a good camera house is a nice to have, having a good lens is a must have. Here are some of my chosen lenses and most of the time, I will always choose prime lenses (fixed focal length) as they deliver crisper shots over zoom.
- 50mm f/1.4 – quite possibly the most popular and also known as the nifty fifty because of its versatility. If you had to invest in one at the beginning it would be this one as it gets the job done for the most part. It’s generally inexpensive at an f-stop of 1.8 and most camera brands will have one available depending on what camera body you go with.
- 35mm f/1.4 – this was my second weapon of choice because I loved using lenses that offered a wider shot, which was great for travel content. I invested in a Sigma lens (after careful research) for my 5D and I think it stayed on the camera body for almost a year after I purchased it.
- 85mm f/1.8 – this one is a nice to have or a must have if you’re wanting close up beauty shots. The two above will be quite limited if you need to get a close up shot of the details in your flawless face of makeup.
Take More Pictures Than You Need
This one is pretty easy but I’ve always found it better to take more images than to take too few thinking you’ve got your perfect shot – only to find that isn’t the case. We’re no longer bound by restrictions from traditional film cameras and photos can be erased afterwards so click away! Better to be safe than sorry I say.
I usually have my camera in burst modes when outdoors and trying to take walking shots. It’s always more natural to be walking at your normal pace (slightly slower) rather than taking a step and pausing for a shot because those tend to look staged and strange.
Pay Attention to Your Angles
It takes time to work out what angles work best for you and I can guarantee that after a few shoots with a friend, boyfriend or tripod and remote – you’ll work out what’s best for you. It also depends on what you’re trying to frame into the shot but if you know what angles work best for you then it’ll save you a lot of time whilst you play around with other compositional elements.
Work out your most comfortable poses that are both natural and realistic to you. If someone is taking your photos then I find it best to just have a casual conversation and asking the photographer to get the candid shots in between poses too because they’re often the most natural. It also means that you can avoid the resting b*tch face syndrome which I’m often reminded of by my partner haha.
Refine & Select Images Carefully
Do you ever find yourself having a great photography day where you can literally do no wrong? Every image is a winner and you almost want to post all 50 of those images? Don’t. People don’t want to see twenty different angles of your bag and ass so when you’ve done your first cut, do a second and then a third before you publish.
It’s so easy for us to get carried away and I was definitely guilty of this back in the day where I was overzealous with sharing my images. It got to the point where it would take five minutes before all the images would load for a single blog post and you don’t want that! Thankfully the theme and layout of my blog currently doesn’t look aesthetically proper with too many images.
These are just the basics that I’ve put together for anyone just starting a blog to consider. Feel free to email me or leave a comment below if you have any other questions or if you’d like me to do a specific post on how I created a certain piece of content!
As always, thank you for your continued support guys! xx
This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.