If you’re a blogger, chances are you know just how time-consuming and frustrating taking photos can be sometimes- especially when the weather or your camera refuse to cooperate.
While, sadly, I won’t be able to teach you how to summon the sun to come out or order the rain to stop pouring, I will share a few hacks with you that will help you create beautiful images for your blog, every single time.
KEEP YOUR PROPS STORED TOGETHER
If you’ve been blogging for a while, chances are you have a whole collection of props. I’m talking candles, little trinket dishes, magazines, fabrics, etc. I am not the type of person who takes pictures in bulk and writes a week’s worth of content in a day- I just can’t work like this and I don’t like it when blogging feels like a chore, something I have to do. This is why I take pictures for my blog pretty much every day and I’ve come to realize that it makes no sense putting all my props away every time I’m done using them. I now keep all of them stored in a box right by our big glass door to the backyard, which is where I take my pictures. This way I always have them handy and don’t waste time looking for them. It also helps me with styling my photos- sometimes I don’t even know what I will write about, but just by looking at my “props box” I already have an idea how to style my images.
THE WHITE IKEA TABLE
Ahh the white IKEA LACK Side Table. I wrote about this little table few years ago and since then it seems to have become every blogger’s favorite. Cool thing about this little table? It comes in a few different colors and it’s super affordable ($9.99). If you like the white marble look you can also buy white marble contact paper and make your own little marble side table.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CAMERA
If you’re using a DSLR and are still not familiar with the Manual mode, it’s time to get to know your camera. It can be intimidating at first, but trust me, once you understand the settings, you’ll be able to to take your images to the next level. To learn more about camera settings, the exposure triangle, check out this post.
COMPUTER SCREEN AS BACKGROUND
Nowadays I’m all about using a natural light source, but few years a go when I was still in college and didn’t get home until 10.00 pm every day, using daylight was out of the question. That’s when I started getting creative, bought soft boxes and a ring light. I also made use of my desktop and used the screen as a background. You can do the same with smaller screens, even on your laptop- depending on the size of your products/subject.
STYLE YOUR IMAGES
This, of course, will depend on your niche, but if you’re a lifestyle blogger, styling your photos can make them stand out. Add your own touch to styling them and make your images recognizable so that when someone sees it/them, they immediately think of your blog.
THE TAPE TRICK
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, your products just won’t stay in place- this is where a double-sided tape comes in handy. It’ll help to stop your products from rolling away and keep them in place. Sometimes the double sided tape also comes in handy in food photography, too.
USE A REFLECTOR
This is probably one of my most repeated tips (in addition to using natural lighting) and I’ll say it again: if you’re not already using a reflector, get your hands on one, asap. It will seriously change your blog photography game- especially if you often work with limited light. I use this multi-disk reflector that comes with few different colors: gold to warm up the image; silver to brighten the picture; white to bounce the light into shadows, black to block any unwanted light and translucent to soften light. My most-used color is, without a doubt, the silver since it does a great job at brightening up my images and getting rid of shadows.
TAKE MORE PICTURES THAN YOU NEED
Sometimes there are days when I take 5 shots and know that I already have what I need (that’s when I usually shout “aannnnd that’s a wrap guys, thanks everyone!” that’s when my husband and my dog give me that “umm.. ok… weirdo” look, but hey, I’m used to it by now.) Other days, I can take 200 and still not like how my images come out. This is when I change up my setup a bit, and then try again. No matter how good you think your pictures are coming out, make sure to take more shots than you need. Oftentimes you don’t see those little details until you import your images to your computer- something might be out of focus, etc. This also brings me to my next tip..
DONE TAKING PICTURES? LEAVE YOUR SET-UP AS IS
Until you import your images to your computer to see what they look like, don’t start putting your products away (or whatever else it is that you’re photographing) and cleaning up your set up. If you can, wait until you see what your images look like once imported. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I had a great bunch of pictures until I imported them and noticed that the white-balance is off, or that something is out of focus. This is why I never clean up my “set” until I know that my pictures came out great.
USE NATURAL LIGHT
If you read my Photography posts often, then you’re probably sick of me saying this over and over again, but hey, I’ll say it again: make use of natural light! Find the brightest spot in your home, avoid direct sunlight and if it works, try taking your pictures in the same spot. It’ll save you frustration when looking for good lighting, every time you need to set up. Need some tips on how to take bright images during gloomy weather? See this post.
Using black cardboard as backdrop.
CARDBOARDS/FOAM-BOARDS AS BACKGROUND (AND MORE)
One of the easiest ways of changing up your images is utilizing a different background and white and colored cardboards are great for that. They’re affordable, store easily which means that you can use as many as you want. I also can’t life without my huge white foam-board. I use it in addition to my reflector- it bounces off light and helps get rid of shadows.
Taking pictures for your blog can definitely be time consuming, but if you come up with a good setup and shoot in the same spot every day, it will save you a lot of time and frustration.
Do you have any photography hacks of your own?