After getting such positive feedback on this post, I wanted to follow up with some more photography tips! These are geared towards blogging (though Instagram is a big part of that world now too), which I'll be covering more often through a new series called "Becoming Your Own (Blog) Boss" (BYOB for short...haha!).
Though bloggers wear many hats, photographer is surely one of the most frequented. In a world where Instagram has over 500 million monthly users, there's simply no way of getting around taking photos if you're serious about the getting into the blogging scene.
And guess what? No longer is a simple #unfiltered cellphone snapshot enough. You need actual photography skills. And they don't just earn you brownie points...they're an absolute necessity.
The fact of the matter is that the blogging world has evolved. The space has become super saturated and, as with any market in which this happens, consequently more competitive. Though many feel threatened by this and even bitter towards the shift, I love the push to create higher-quality work. I've come a long way since posts like this, and so there's no more dimly lit, harshly edited pics for this girl.
In fact, my photos are one of the aspects of this blog that I am most proud of. I also feel like they play a huge role in landing sponsorships. After all, anyone can take a picture, but not everyone can make it look good.
Here are a few of my best tips for improving your photography and using it to get your blog noticed:
1. get inspired
One of the best things that you can do as an amateur photographer is to gather inspiration for your photos. Whether it's by saving pictures you enjoy to a secret board on Pinterest or just to a folder on your desktop, it's important to do your research and determine a photography style that you'll aspire to. This can give you a better idea of what truly high-quality photos look like in the first place and also provide you with some motivation to better learn how to use your camera. I also like to save photos that give me good idea of how I might want to style/layout a set in the future.
2. invest in a dslr
Maybe you're sick of hearing that you need a DSLR to take good blog photos. To be honest, that's not always the case. With good enough editing and photo placement (i.e. creating a collage of smaller iPhone photos instead of blowing them up individually to avoid grainy quality), you might be able to get away without a DSLR...for now. That being said, as soon as you can come up with the money, I'd absolutely recommend investing in a DSLR. This is especially true if you want to make money with your blog and acquire sponsors. You always want to be improving the quality of your work, and taking photos with a quality camera is pretty much an industry standard at this point.
3. learn how to use manual
Okay, so you've got a DSLR. Now what? It's time to learn how to use the manual settings. Because, remember why you bought the camera in the first place? To take higher quality photos. Though you don't necessarily always need to shoot on manual, this setting is going to give you the most flexibility in terms of photo style and can also produce the best results. Shooting on automatic is almost NEVER recommended! The photos rarely come out well lit, which is one of the most important things you're looking for in a good blog photo. Here are the two big functions that I try to pay attention to when I'm using this setting (which is always):
ISO: ISO adjusts the brightness of the photo. The higher the number, the brighter the photo will be. You have to be careful though that you don't make this setting too high, which can lower the overall quality of the photo and make it look grainy once you get it on your computer.
Shutter Speed: This setting affects how much light your photo gets. The higher the number, the higher the shutter speed. This can work well for photos that need to be taken very quickly to reduce blur (i.e. action shots), but keep in mind that this will also reduce the brightness of the photo. You can also lower the shutter speed to use more light and increase the brightness of your photo, but this does slow down the photo and can make it blurry if you lower this setting too much. I usually shoot at around 60.
4. use natural light
Sometimes I hear people ask, how can I take a good photo at night? The answer is simple. You can't. The best pictures are taken in natural light. You're going to have to time your photoshoots according to both the time of day and the weather. You don't want to shoot in direct sunlight (photos will be too harsh), but you also don't want to shoot when there isn't any natural light (i.e. it's super cloudy and dark out). Yes, it can be a hassle, but if you plan ahead of time it's not too bad! Plus, any inconvenience is absolutely worth it in the long run when you have beautiful blog photos to accompany your posts.
5. edit, edit, edit
Though the first steps to taking high-quality blog photos are investing in a camera and learning how to use it, you definitely want to familiarize yourself with editing software next. It'll be a rare occasion when you won't need to touch up a photo at all, even though you probably won't be making any major edits to any of your blog photography (if you are, unfortunately the photo probably wasn't the strongest in the first place or you might be over-editing). Photoshop is my favorite tool to use for my blog photos (I use VSCO for Instagram), and it's what most professionals use too! That being said, you can definitely look around on the web for alternatives. Just make sure that whatever editing software you're using is legitimate. You definitely DON'T want to be adding wonky filters to any of your photos. You might think they look good now, but trust me...you'll change your mind later on! All you should really need to adjust should be the brightness and contrast. You can also sharpen the image if necessary, which I sometimes like to do.
6. Practice makes perfect
Like most things in life, practice makes perfect! You definitely won't get any better at blog photography if you're not actively working on it, so try to take photos every day, even if it's just for ten minutes.
What would you like to improve about your blog photography? Also, I'd love to check out some of your photos too, so leave your blog or Instagram link below!