Photography is one of my favorite hobbies, but the only reason I ever found out that I loved it is because I started blogging, and wanted to share my own photos with my readers! As bloggers, most of us want to create our own beautiful images to provide our readers with a sense of who we are and give our blog a genuine and personal feeling, and also to avoid any chance of copyright infringement. Stock images may be professional looking, but learning to take your own photos will benefit you greatly in your blogging journey, and can even lead to amazing opportunities. I’m 100% self taught in photography, and have learned so much since I first picked up my dad’s old Canon in 2011. Today I’m here to share some of my best tips with you guys! These tips will help you make the most of a basic DSLR camera, and several can apply to any camera or iPhone.
1. Switch to manual mode. For you DSLR users out there, you need to be shooting in manual! It’s easy to think that the auto setting is the best it can get, but making the switch over to manual will help you immensely in learning how your camera works, what your photography style is, and how to get the most out of any light situation. Shooting in manual basically involves balancing three elements: ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. A YouTube channel called Easy Exposure was incredibly helpful to me as I learned about these concepts, and I highly recommend it!. Shooting in manual is a scary step, but it’s the first step into the photography world.
Auto mode: Manual mode:
2. Take photos every. single. day. One thing that has helped me a lot as I’ve developed a personal photography style is to take a photo every day. Many of you might remember the photo-a-day series I used to run here on the blog, and while it made for fun blog posts, it was also incredibly challenging and helpful to me as a photographer. Taking a photo every day means that you have to be aware of your surroundings, and find something that you see beauty or art in each and every day. It’s difficult on some days, but is such an amazing practice not only for developing your photography, but also for cultivating an attitude of wonder, exploration, and gratitude.
3. Style, style, style. What sets a poor blog photo apart from a great one? One of the main things is the styling! Before I got into blogging, I had no idea photo styling was an actual job people do. Now styling is one of my favorite aspects of blogging, and has led to a fairly ridiculous collection of thrift store china. 😉 Styling is all about taking what you want to photograph, and creating something special and artistic with it. This can mean employing props, people, and so many other things. Instead of just taking a photo of your favorite CD (am I the only one who still has these?!,) arrange some antique sheet music behind it, add a fresh flower or flower petals, and maybe even a cup of coffee. I always remind myself to add depth to my photos because it adds interest. Creating layers allows you to focus on the subject, but gives the image a beautiful curated feel. Be creative, and make something amazing!
4. Tell a story. This plays off of my last point, and I truly believe story telling is what makes a photo great. In blogging, it helps you feel as if you know the blogger better or got a glimpse into their life. So how do we tell stories through blog photos? It can happen in a variety of ways, and I’ll give you a couple of examples. Let’s say you were planning to post a review of your coffee maker. Instead of posting a stock image, you decide to create your own image! To tell a story with this photo, I would style the area around my coffee maker. Maybe I would set out some of my favorite mugs, a pretty jar of coffee beans, and a cute vintage clock. To me this tells the simple story of someone waking up early and making their morning coffee, rather than just being a picture of a coffee maker. Another example would be for a fashion shoot. My sister helps me out on fashion posts. I do the camera settings and give her my concept, and she takes the photos and does an amazing job! When I’m coming up with a concept, I don’t want the photos to just say “here’s what I wore today.” I want them to tell a story about where I was, what I was doing, and throw in what I wore as an afterthought. Storytelling will set your photography apart and show even more of your personal creativity and style.
5. Be yourself. This last point sounds simple and even downright cheesy, but it’s important in any art, including photography. It’s so tempting to copy other more successful bloggers (believe me, I’m not immune to this!) and neglect the development of personal style, but to be a successful blogger it’s imperative that you celebrate the one resource you have that no other blog has: you. The blogging world would be boring if we all had the same photos, so don’t be caught up in the pressure to copy. Instead stand out, and show who you are and what you love through your photography.
I hope you guys find something in this post helpful and can implement some of the information next time you are taking blog photos!
If you have any photography questions or posts on photography you’d like to see me do, let me know and I’ll be sure to work on them! Happy picture taking!