Blogs are so rarely just about words nowadays. They’re expected to be the full package – sleek, professional looking design, easy to navigate pages and categories, highly visible links to social profiles and, crucially, good quality photography.
So many successful bloggers have nailed this, with their gorgeously executed outfit posts, and beautifully put together still life portraits of products and accessories. But what if you don’t have an expensive camera, or a (legal or otherwise) copy of Photoshop?
I started taking photographs to accompany my blog posts because I was tired of trawling Google for images that not only suited what I was writing about, but also came with the correct sharing rights. Soon, I realised how much I enjoyed setting up shoots, and adding a personal touch to another aspect of my blog. Any concerns I may have had about not being a photography expert, or not having the right equipment, dissolved as I came to understand just how possible it is to create simple and beautiful stock photos for posts on just about any subject.
If you’re new to blog photography, like I was a few short months ago, then here are a few quick tips on getting started:
1 | Don’t sweat about not being an expert
You may not have the latest Canon, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking perfectly lovely photos on your smartphone or handheld device. I take all of my blog photos on my iPhone 5, before emailing them to myself for some editing and to upload.
2 | Wait for good lighting
During these dark winter months, it’s been impossible to take blog photos any time other than at the weekend. And so that’s what I’ve done. Most Saturdays, I catch the late morning light, throw open the curtains and set up a few shoots so I have a nice batch of different images to play with and use on a few different posts.
3 | Make the most of your location
I’m lucky enough to have a kind of ugly, cheap white coffee table from my holy land, Ikea, which provides the perfect backdrop for creating bright, crisp stock photos. As long as you’re in a well lit room, the rest is up to you – not happy with your table as a backdrop? Throw a pretty blanket down, or some quirky wrapping paper. Got a high-pile rug on the floor in a neutral colour? That’ll work. Blessed with original wood flooring? You’re onto a winner.
4 | Don’t shell out for expensive editing software
I totally see the benefit of paying for Photoshop, and I would love to say I was expertly skilled at turning ordinary photos into masterpieces with a twirl of the virtual wand. However, unless you are regularly working with images of different locations, and people, I’m not sure that a pricey editing suite is wholly necessary.
I use PicMonkey for free to crop, straighten and resize my images, as well as adjust the exposure and contrast levels to get that bright, white look to them. PicMonkey is also perfect for adding text and overlays to your images; there are dozens of options to choose from and if you exhaust their freely available choices, you could always treat yo’self and subscribe to their Royale package.
5 | Play with props
We buy such pretty, aesthetically pleasing things these days that it would be verging on unfair not to showcase them in some way. From the vintage tea cup set that you stumbled upon at that flea market, to the £3 tulips you picked up at the Co Op, you probably already have the makings of a beautiful shoot lying around your home.
As I write mostly about creativity, you’ll notice a lot of my photos include notebooks and other writerly paraphernalia. However, I like to make sure the photos I take are versatile, and can be used for blog posts addressing any number of different topics. So I throw in candles, cacti, plants, books, coffee accessories, and other assorted knick knacks, to add scope to my shoots.
Taking photos for my blog has been a lot of fun so far, and has opened my eyes to a new interest, which I look forward to further exploring.
Do you take your own photos for your blog? If so, do you have any tips to share? If not, what’s holding you back? Let me know in the comments!