Photography

11 Photography Hacks for Bloggers

blog-photography-tips

blog-photography-tips

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.

photography-tips-for-bloggersKEEP 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.

how to take good pictures for a beauty blog

Milani baked blushes

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.

how to take nice pictures for a beauty blog
product photography tips

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.

white reflector photography

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.

Mango coconut smoothie recipe

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?

101 Comments

  • Reply
    Klaudia.
    February 19, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Incredibly helpful post, thanks so much for sharing! I love all of the tips you wrote and now I’ve bookmarked that ikea table, I can’t believe how affordable it is yet I’ve never thought of it! xo

    Klaudia // klaudiam96.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    missgetaway
    February 19, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Oh thank you so much for sharing these tipps! Especially in winter I find it extremely hard to take good pictures. Will definitely keep your tips in mind and duh, get myself a reflector!

    Love, Kerstin
    http://www.missgetaway.com/

  • Reply
    Rachael
    February 19, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Fantastic tips! I need to get my hands on a reflector – shadows bug me so much!

    Rachael at broomfie.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Vanesa
    February 19, 2016 at 8:50 am

    The white Ikea table is a staple for my blog photography! So useful for creating a crisp white background. I used to use bristol board, white cardboard, white canvasses and nothing does it quite like the Lack table!

    Vanesa | http://www.thebeautyanecdote.com/

  • Reply
    Label Me Luxxe
    February 19, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I just recently purchased a reflector and you’re right it does wonders for blog photos!

  • Reply
    Jodie
    February 19, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I never leave my set up the way it is before importing, that’s definitely a trick I could’ve used when I had a total nightmare with my images the other day! x

    Jodie // Jodie Loue

  • Reply
    Darina
    February 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Very helpful tips! I will shop at Ikea for the table :)

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine
    February 19, 2016 at 10:12 am

    The computer screen is a neat idea! I never heard of that one!

  • Reply
    Nameless Gap
    February 19, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I also have a box full of props! It really makes it a lot easier to find them every time o want to take a picture!
    Paula | http://www.namelessgap.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Dagmara Klich
    February 19, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I need to get a basket for my blogging props and keep it all together as every time I do my photos I go around the house looking for them and more often then not forget about some I meant to use. I’m like you, take my pictures almost every day, the most I can do is to take photos for 2-3 posts, no more or I loose my motivation and inspiration.

    Yet another very helpful post, Paula! x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  • Reply
    Rachel
    February 19, 2016 at 11:05 am

    That little table is such a good idea. I need something like that in my life!

    Rachel | http://www.currentlyrachel.com

  • Reply
    Missy Quigley
    February 19, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I love mt lack tables and I need to use them more in photos! These are great tips. Natural sunlight is so key, I cannot wait until the time change! Have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    Aisling | AislingsBeautyBytes
    February 19, 2016 at 11:18 am

    This was so help thank you! I definitely need to remember to keep my props together, I’m constantly losing them!
    Aisling | Aislings beauty bytes

  • Reply
    Cassidy
    February 19, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for your constant tips that are all so applicable! Literally all of these are great. Photography can definitely get frustrating, but I find that I just have to stay persistent and determined to get the right shot.

    Cass
    http://www.lifewithcass.com

  • Reply
    Olivia Alesha
    February 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    This was literally so helpful I cannot thank you enough! I am always struggling trying to get that ‘perfect’ photo for a post and these hacks are definitely going to help me in the future!
    – Olivia Xx
    http://www.oliviaxalesha.com

  • Reply
    Hannah McDonnell
    February 19, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    I have been using the tape trick for so long! I used to take photos on the balcony of my apartment complex and I would be so scared that they would blow away! Great tips. Thanks!

    glamlifeliving.com
    Hannah
    Glam Life Living

  • Reply
    Katie Wright
    February 19, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Thank youuuu! I need to step up my photos and this is so helpful!

  • Reply
    Chaste and Beautiful
    February 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I really liked all the ideas especially the one about the computer screen as background. Great post and I really liked your set up. I need to buy that Ikea table.

    Chaste &
    Beautiful

  • Reply
    Danielle Beautyblog
    February 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I need to get more props still but just got a big white board (that needs cut in half) and some sticky back marble paper and omg why didn’t I do it sooner! Need to get to IKEA for that table too!

    Danielle’s Beauty Blog

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      February 22, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      I love the IKEA table, especially since it’s so affordable! I use it pretty much every single time I take my blog photos.

  • Reply
    A Little Dose of Makeup
    February 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    OMG this was post was super helpful! I’m checking out all your recommendations for the lights and reflectors!

    xx, A Little Dose of Makeup

  • Reply
    Zoe Mountford
    February 19, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    This is probably the best post i have read in a long time. So may tips and tricks thanyou for sharing them with us xx

    Zoe Mountford x

  • Reply
    Lauren B
    February 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Great tips, I’ve just bookmarked this page to come back to when I take my photos!

    http://laurenslittleblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Reply
    Another Ranting Reader
    February 19, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    These are seriously great tips! I’m going to save this post so that I can revisit it again. One of the best posts I’ve read in a while.

    Jemima x
    anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk

  • Reply
    Bri DePauw
    February 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Computer screen!! Seriously brilliant!

  • Reply
    Claire Cavanagh
    February 19, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Your photos always look stunning so I’ll definitely be using these tips! Checking out the reflectors right now.

    Claire | Stylingo.co.uk xx

  • Reply
    Emma Louise
    February 19, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    I have the Ikea table its perfect! I am also forever taping or blue tacking products to keep them in place!
    Emmy | Emmys Beauty Cave | Bloglovin

  • Reply
    Paula Loreti
    February 19, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    You always give the best advices! And I think the most important one is understanding your camera. The other day I was playing with mine and I discovered a lot of cool things I didn’t know and now I can take better pictures!

    http://www.blossomikebana.com

  • Reply
    Jess | The Indigo Hours
    February 19, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Fab tips, thank you so much for sharing! I’ve recently bought myself a reflector but will definitely be trying a few more of your ideas :)

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

  • Reply
    Jacqueline Sin
    February 19, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    These are really great tips! :) I have never thought of using a computer screen as a background before but it totally works! Such a great late-night student hack! xx

    Jacqueline | Sail Away to Neverland ♡

  • Reply
    Ariadna Morell
    February 19, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Great tips! I always try to use natural light as it makes my pictures look much brighter! I always make the mistake of putting everything away before importing my pictures and then I find out they are out of focus or that I don’t like them, so annoying! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  • Reply
    Estefania
    February 19, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Great tips, I loved the computer screen as background, definitely gonna use it, thanks for the ideas

    http://estefaniareviews.blogspot.mx

  • Reply
    Linda
    February 19, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    These are so helpful! Can’t wait to use these tips!

    http://llindatt.blogspot.com/

  • Reply
    The Gossip Darling
    February 19, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Super helpful! I’m going to Ikea tomorrow to pick up the table!! Thank you so much for this!!!!

    Mel | http://www.thegossipdarling.com

    • Reply
      The Gossip Darling
      February 20, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      I just bought my IKEA table! $7.99!! So excited to build this baby and put it to use! Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    Abigail Alice
    February 19, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Great tips especially keeping products out, what looks good on my camera’s small screen sometimes doesnt translate and its such a shame!

    Abigail Alice x

  • Reply
    The Sunday Mode
    February 20, 2016 at 2:20 am

    I’ve started using reflectors over the past month or so and it makes such a huge difference. We used to use reflectors all the time back when I was in university but for some reason when I started blogging I just completely forgot about them!

    http://www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

  • Reply
    Ela BellaWorld
    February 20, 2016 at 8:45 am

    I can only take photos at the weekends since I don’t have any lights (which I should get) it gets really frustrating when it is gloomy weather. I don’t have any reflectors either, sometimes I use aluminium foil to reflect the light which kinda does the trick :) Another great and useful post, Paula!

    Ela BellaWorld

  • Reply
    clxelouise
    February 20, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I’ve never thought about using my laptop as a background! Great idea!
    Cloe X http://clxelouise.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Sophie Sierra
    February 20, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Adore these hacks so very much Paula! As always such relevant tips and tricks for easy yet gorgeous photography with stunning results ;) I love the sound of a reflector, really need to invest in one! I agree so much with taking more photographs than you need; sometimes on shoots we come back with about 800 ootd ones but at least that gives plenty of choice haha :D

    Sophie | soinspo xo

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      February 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks so much Soph! Oh OOTD’s are the worst for me when it comes to taking pictures haha we always take over 500 out of which I only like a handful haha :)

  • Reply
    amber
    February 20, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I’ll be definitely using my computer screen as a background x

    amberakaunu.blogspot.co.uk

  • Reply
    Kelly
    February 20, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    I love all these tips, I’m trying to improve my photography and I think that I need a light reflector for my pictures.

    Perfect Shade of Mauve

  • Reply
    Lots of Love, Lottie
    February 20, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    What brilliant hacks! Love the one about using your computer screen, very clever! Do you recommend a patterned one or a blank one?

    Lots of Love, Lottie | Lifestyle blog to make you smile :)

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      February 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      I’ve used both and they work great, it depends on your setting (sometimes if you use soft boxes or a ring light it can reflect in the screen) I’d try both and see which one works better ;)

  • Reply
    Sarah Yekinni
    February 20, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Such great tips and beautiful photos! I often find myself frustrated when my photos don’t turn out as I envision. Your advice will definitely come in handy! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Lita
    February 20, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    These are so helpful! Thanks you :) xx Lita
    http://www.litademiah.com

  • Reply
    Ambar Syed
    February 21, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Those blushes look amazing. A lovely post, thank you for sharing! :)
    – Ambar x
    http://www.herlittleloves.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Nati
    February 21, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Those are really helpful tips, thanks for sharing Paula! ☺
    Nati xx
    http://www.simplyartdicted.com

  • Reply
    Sarah Laird
    February 21, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve had my camera over two years now and I still get angry if the automatic setting won’t pick up what I want it to. Should really get to grips with the manual! Fab tips, I’ll definitely be investing in some tape! x

    Viva Epernay

  • Reply
    Fabulous and Beauty
    February 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I love these tips especially using the computer screen as background. Never thought about that.

    Thanks for sharing,
    http://www.fabulousandbeauty.com

  • Reply
    Carol in a Page
    February 21, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Using the computer screen as background is a genius idea, I have to try that! Thank you for always posting such useful content!
    http://carolinapage.eu

  • Reply
    Kiss & Make-up
    February 22, 2016 at 5:59 am

    I rarely use props and usually I just go for a crisp white background. But I do love the computer screen tip, thanks!

  • Reply
    Kay (shoesandglitter)
    February 22, 2016 at 6:59 am

    These tips are so incredibly useful, darling! I never thought of using the computer screen as a background, but I will definietly have to try it – it seems like such a fab idea! <3 Hope you're well. :)

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.com

  • Reply
    Jecky Lebid
    February 22, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I will definitely memorize the tape trick and using the desktop background! Honestly a cool post, directly had to follow you via facebook and Insta!

    XX from Germany
    Jecky
    Want Get Repeat

  • Reply
    Marie
    February 22, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    I really needed this post. Im just starting out so any tips/hacks are really appreciated! Thank you xo

    Marie
    http://www.mariestateofmind.com

  • Reply
    Nereyda Gonzalez
    February 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    As always thanks for the photography tips Paula! I always love reading these :)

    Nereyda│ This Girl Is Obsessed

  • Reply
    Becky Hines
    February 22, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    These are amazing tips. One of the biggest things that I seem to struggle with is good photography. The quality of my pictures are good, but I always seem to struggle to find decorative items to add into the pictures. Thanks so much for sharing, x!

    Becky, xx // http://undertheseabeauty.blogspot.ca/

  • Reply
    Monica S
    February 23, 2016 at 8:45 am

    This is so incredibly helpful. Thank you for this post! Monica x

    http://theliterarylady.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Reply
    Lena | Lena Talks Beauty
    March 2, 2016 at 3:55 am

    I always had trouble with rolling products until I saw Vivianna Does Makeup do a youtube video where she used blue-tack to hold them in place and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head! Now I have it everywhere and it makes such a difference. I use a lot of different backgrounds for blog photos and wrote a post about it – http://lenatalksbeauty.com/backgrounds-blog-photos/

  • Reply
    Hannah Happening
    March 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Loving all the tips!!! I find myself getting so frustrated with my Nikon I just got that my pictures never look super bright and inviting, so better believe ill be practicing this week!

  • Reply
    Ira
    March 23, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Hello! I am a rookie blogger, and I just discovered your blog and I can’t stop reading through all your tips. Those are such a good read and I have discovered so much for myself. I tried to take photos inside (I used to take photos of people reporting style in airports or concerts) but I don’t have any knowledge or experience of taking photos of things, especially inside of my room. I live in Russia, so during winter it is almost impossible to find a good daylight spot unless weekend mornings and even then it is quite dull. Your lighting and equipment tips are such a revelation for me! I can’t wait till I get foam boards and a bg stickers for them. In autumn I’ll definitely should budget in for soft boxes. I can’t find enough words to thank you! I see so much room for self development now, all thanks to your posts! Thank you for inspiration!

    http://privetmoscow.wordpress.com

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      March 28, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      Thank you so much Ira, that’s great! I’m so happy that you found this helpful!! You are so welcome!! :)

  • Reply
    Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
    March 26, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Great tips! I’m totally buying a reflector!

  • Reply
    Danielle
    March 29, 2016 at 5:34 am

    amazing tips!! especially the laptop screen as backround, genius! gotta try it (:

    Life in Pastel

  • Reply
    Carolina
    April 3, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Great tips! This one with “computer as a background” I’ll probably try.

    Carrie x
    Carolina Ilieva

  • Reply
    Lemonberry Blog
    April 11, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I have been reading all of your posts and rally find them so helpful! As a new blogger these tips are all so useful and I appreciate your posts like this. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Arielle Berze
    June 29, 2016 at 2:34 am

    Love these tips! I also want to add that you can use white paper/cardboard/foam as a cheap “on the go” or budget reflector.

    Arielle from Casual ‘n Couture

  • Reply
    Makeup Wears Off
    August 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Awesome tips! I need to start leaving my set up as is, I hate when I upload and none of my pics worked out!! I went to Home Depot and bought marble floor tiles for about $4 and use that normally or white paper if I am not at home. Also the Facetune app is genius and can brighten/whiten backgrounds :)

    http://www.makeupwearsoff.com

  • Reply
    Mallory
    October 21, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing all of these tips! As a new blogger, these are so helpful!

    <3
    DrWinesBlog

  • Reply
    Bernadette
    January 12, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    I have become addicted to blog props in such a small amount of time! From cute notebooks to fake plants / flower stems and even some platters I can’t get enough of blog props. I definitely plan to get more and more as I am officially on the blog props bandwagon haha. I definitely need to find a way of attaching a white cardboard to the white table I use for blog photos, I definitely want to add taking photos of my beauty products standing up to the styles I use for my blog photos.

    http://www.themakeupaficionado.com

    https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/makeup-aficionado-14629679

    https://au.pinterest.com/bernadette_95/

    https://www.instagram.com/themakeupaficionado17/

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