how can i shoot better photos for my blog?
this is the one constant question i get and i completely understand where you are coming from. photography takes up about 70% of a blog and without great images to back up your written content (hopefully a good one coz it takes up the remaining 30% of your blog and nobody really likes to read those boring press releases that you cut and paste – after all you say you are a blogger so it only makes sense that you voice out your own thoughts for each post, no matter how simple, bizarre or random it may be), your blog will lack the kind of quality and flair all readers and followers look for. so you ask what do you really need to get as close as you can get to those amazing photographs that those successful international bloggers have?
i would have to be honest with you when i say most of them, if not all, technically work or collaborate with professional photographers – it is one of the reasons why their photos turn out so well. it would help to scout for some local photographers and see how you can work together. now sometimes (this is in most cases actually), bloggers work with their personal friends/boyfriends/husbands – who in turn have become professionals in their own right after years of learning the ropes in producing quality images for a blogger friend/girlfriend/wife. this is where great partnerships in blogging come in. but not all of us are as lucky. especially when we are just starting out.
i am a photographer by trade and i do have a dedicated photographer exclusively working with me for my blog and since i have been asked these questions so many times, i thought it would be a good idea to give you guys a few of my notes and hopefully, i get to help out a little on your blog photography frustrations.
photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with how you see them…
- any camera would do but if you really want to step up your game, i suggest you invest in a good DSLR (do a bit of research online for the latest lineup and you can either go for an entry-level model (for those who are just starting out) or go for a nice mid-range model that packs a punch with all the latest features.
- your kit lens is alright and can certainly do the job but do invest in a good lens. the best that you can get as a blogger (most especially if you are a style blogger) is the 50mm lens. there are a variety of these in the market from F1.8 (the cheapest), F1.4 and F1.2 (the most expensive) – all with a different price tag, each producing a different quality of image and bokeh. this is a prime lens and note that this does not zoom so it may be a bit difficult at first when you shoot because you will need to either move in closer or go farther back for each individual shot. but dont worry, you will get the hang of it and once you do, it will all be worth it.
now just because i say gear is important, it does not mean everything will rely on it. a lot of people get caught up with the getting the “big beast” but mind you, they are just tools. so no matter how new and expensive your gear is, if you do not know the basics of photography and composition, your photos will never make a mark. photography is all about balance and good mix of the right tools along with a few technical knowledge and creative flair is the key in producing the best photographs for your blog.
- learning how to set your camera right will surely help you in producing better results. the first step is learning the basics of photography. go to your ever reliable friend “google” and “youtube” for some free tutorials and if you are up for it, then it is best to attend some actual classes that are being held within your community.
- this is the one advice i know everyone hates but you honestly wont regret it. read your camera manual. the information and instructions will help you better understand the functions and capability of your gear. believe me. those buttons you never touch? you will now know what to do with them. plus the reason why i tell you this is because every camera is different, their settings and functions are not necessarily the same all the time so getting to know your own camera makes more sense.
- learn how to work the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. you cant produce the kind of photos you are aiming for if you do not know how to work these for each photograph you capture. program and auto mode will never cut it so learn to shoot on manual mode which can give you the best results.
- your typical 50mm is great for products shots and outfit photos because it can gives you the ability to control depth of field. set your aperture setting wide open and it will give you that blurred background effect you see in all those gorgeous streetstyle photos.
- do not forget to learn how to focus on your subject. again, this has everything to do with your camera settings. read your manual and check how to adjust the focus for the scenario you are shooting – remember that with every movement, every subject, and depending on your surrounding conditions, the settings will have to change. for best results in shooting outfits, make sure you focus on the center of your subject to ensure everything is in focus. for portraits, you must focus on the eyes. having full control over this can ensure your image is on-point and clarity is secured.
- make sure you have a good sturdy tripod and remote control if you are shooting on your own. it is also a good idea to place an object where you plan to stand when shooting so you can make your initial focus.
- test. test. test. do a round of test shots before doing your actual shoot so you can check your settings and composition. this will make it a lot easier for you to produce better results rather than shooting on a whim and then redoing everything because your settings were wrong and not focused.
- good lighting is key in capturing great photographs and the best time to shoot is sunrise (early morning between 7am-10am) and sunset (mid-afternoon between 3pm-530pm). not only does this give you enough beautiful light that is not too harsh, but it also gives you enough room to play around with shadows.
- the best source of natural light when shooting products indoors is a large window. you can use a light white fabric to diffuse any harsh light coming in and a white cardboard to bounce and reflect light to reduce shadows.
- those grid lines you see when you take photos? they are there as a guideline for you. the rule of thirds simply mean positioning the elements of an image along these lines. your eyes are easily drawn towards where these lines intersect therefore your main subject (or you as the subject) should be positioned there.
- spend some time scouting for the perfect location. apart from your outfit, where you shoot is what basically completes the story of your image. it gives your image depth, a sense of colour and texture. put in that extra effort to go out and explore new backgrounds and sites for your shoot because it will make your photos look more interesting and appealing.
- create symmetry within your images by the use leading lines and curves, while architectural backgrounds can add dimension. colour and texture add an interesting touch within your images and can help your subject pop out.
- ever heard of pinterest? or browsed those fashion magazines for editorials? well, take note of them for inspirations. sometimes, we like to experiment and do certain shoots and i am all for it. but remember that when you do, keep it simple and make sure you execute it well.
- i sometimes take about 50 shots for one particular look which already gives me a good variety of images to choose from. but the key here is learning how to select the right images to feature. from clarity, to composition and details, each image should go under a strict selection because you honestly cannot post all of them and one wrong image can seriously ruin the entire post.
CAPTURED WITH CANON 5D MARK III + 50MM F1.2 LENS
photography by princess lovella
the most important note of all? practice. it takes years to master the art of photography. and even more so to master your own personal style. combine both and you can really go places with your style blog. so putting in a little more effort to learn, to practice and explore, and investing in the right gear, putting in more time and passion in every shoot that you do can definitely be worth your while. after all, this is your baby right? you love it right?! good luck and hope this helped a tiny bit in inspiring you to push yourself just a little bit more. oh and dont worry, im sure you will have amazing fun with this journey.
if you have questions, just shoot away in the comments below and i will try my best to reply as soon as possible!! ❤️