5 Basic Photography Tips Every Blogger Should Know

6/07/2013 05:00:00 PM

One of the reasons why the Top Bloggers around the world get a lot of traffic in their site is because they know how to take great quality photos for their blog’s content. Now I’m not a master at photography just yet, but from what I’ve learned, taking great photos for your blog makes 50% of your content already! The other 50% of course, is for the actual text content.

Be honest, how many of you guys have had moments when the annoyingly evil “Darn, I wish my photos were better for this post!” kind of thought crawls in your head when you’re writing a blog posts?  I’ve certainly encountered many instances like that myself, and I have to say it sucks whenever it happens. I feel like I wasted an opportunity, especially when I know it COULD look better. Great Idea + Half Baked Execution = Not Worth Reading. Remember: If you aren’t satisfied with things, then others won’t be as well. Everyone wants their readers to come back because they like your blog and not just cause they expect you to visit theirs in return, right (a pet peeve of mine)? After all, visuals are the first thing your readers will notice in your post, so they have to be good. Here are some simple tips and tricks on basic blogging photography I picked up over time and experience that everyone should know...

Tip # 1: Invest in Equipment.

I personally didn’t have a DSLR of my own till recently, but whenever I could borrow my friend, Patrick’s DSLR before, I make the most out of it. If your blog is photo-heavy like mine, then using the best equipment for your visuals is definitely a must. Patrick’s camera (the one I used a lot) is a Canon 60D with a 18-55mm f/3.5 lens. The one I have now is the same model with a 18-135mm f/3.5 IS lens (part of the kit). Using a DSLR has more perks than using a digicam since you can manually adjust the exposure to your satisfaction, and you can focus on your subject better, which can give you that dream-like effect to your background (a.k.a. Bokeh background) especially if you have better zoom lens.

(Photo by Kenny, read full post here)

Manually toggling with your DSLR’s focus can surely make your subject be the main focus in your photos. When I wasn't using Patrick’s camera, I used my old Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS digicam. Although it isn’t capable of giving off the Bokeh background effect in full-body shots, whenever I take detail shots of my outfit, I switch my digicam’s settings into Macro mode (it’s the tulip-looking icon on the dial where you can find the ISO and flash settings) so the camera focus is on the subject without having to zoom in on it, plus it usually blurs the background while maintaining the sharper focus on the subject.

See the difference? The first photo (with my polka-dotted socks and heels, see full post here) was taken using a DSLR, and the second and third (with the reindeer and charm bracelet) were taken using my digicam (see full post here.) In truth, you can take awesome photos with your digicam too! You just have to understand how to adjust the settings correctly. Toggle with it, don’t be discouraged to experiment, and you'll capture better photos in no time!

**Bonus Tip: Editing Photos

Edit your photos especially if you don’t use a DSLR. Sharpen your images, reduce the noise, adjust the lights and shadows, add filters, etc! These little things matter a lot. Although don’t over-do them or they’ll ruin the feel of your photos. Just like your camera, photo editing programs like Photoshop, Pixlr, Photoscape and many more do wonders for your photos. If you’re gifted with photo editing skills, you can probably edit your images taken via digicam and turn them into something a DSLR would be able to capture.

Tip # 2: The Environment Matters – A Lot.

Go to Lookbook.nu right now and you can see a lot of great outfit shots by bloggers who pose just about anywhere they can to peacefully take a photo of their OOTD’s. And if you observe for a minute or two, you’ll surely agree that their chosen environment compliments their outfit well, yes? That’s because bloggers scout for the perfect place where they can get into the mood to pose their hearts out without really drawing much attention from passersby. Also, the environment as a background for your outfit shots shouldn’t grab the attention away from your outfit. Hence the term “background”.

(See full post here.)

(See full post here.)

(See full post here.)

(See full post here.)

Some places I suggest are parks, gardens, open parking lots, picnic areas and the like. If it’s raining outside, then a photo indoors by the window or on the staircase will do you good! That way the lighting will still look good in your photos.

Tip # 3: Go into the Light!

Okay, not literally. But if you watch America’s Next Top Model a lot, you’ll know what I mean. For those who don’t, supermodel Tyra Banks keeps telling the girls that your lighting is crucial. Know where your light is!

(See full post here.)

If you’re taking outdoor shots, you should be familiar with the direction the sun is pointing at during the different times of the day. At noon, the sun is high up (directly above you) so the lighting is most unflattering during this time. I don’t recommend taking OOTD’s during the hours of 11am-2pm, aside from the fact that the sun would be too scorching hot to actually strike a decent pose without sweating your butt off during these hours. The suggested times are usually in the morning from 6:30 till around 10:00 (not too humid to sweat), and again at 3:00pm till the sun sets (when the sun's not too bright for photos). Although these hours are stated in general; you also have to take into consideration the seasons when the nights are longer, or the days are longer too. I personally hate taking photos at night and under low-lit conditions since I HATE using flash with a vengeance (it makes my face look shiny, washes out all the blood in my skin, and wastes the battery life too; talk about triple overkill). Increasing the ISO above 400 can make your photos look grainy as well, so avoid doing so (although I can be guilty of this sometimes). The daylight is practically your new best friend.

**Bonus Tip: The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is the hour in the day when the sun is not too bright that when positioned directly behind you, it can give you a nice golden glow may it be during sunrise or sunset. During these times can you attempt to achieve Golden Hour photos like these:

(See full post here.)

(See full post here.)

Cool, isn’t it? The sun can bring a warmer feel to your photos during these times. Just set your camera’s exposure properly and you can achieve these photos for yourself!

Tip # 4: Selling the Outfit.

One thing I like seeing in blogs is the way the blogger poses. The more natural they look, the more they sell the outfit. I’m not a huge fan of posing like a high fashion model when it comes to fashion blogging since it tends to look too posed. It’s a huge turn-off and a big red flag is waved when those are encountered. In my opinion, sometimes standing there looking natural, smiling or not, sells the outfit more than contorting your body in strange ways like you’re auditioning for Cirque Du Soleil. Your readers will know if you’re trying too hard and when you’re simply being yourself.

(See full post here.)

(See full post here.)

Working the outfit the way it would look in an everyday setting is the best pose you can ever give. If you’re wearing a flow-y skirt, walk it out or twirl around! Show how it can look like with movement. Sell the garment! When you’re having fun, it’ll be evident in your photos.

Tip # 5: Take your Positions.

Like in English class where we have the Subject-Verb Agreement, in photography we have the B-S-P Agreement (a.k.a. Background-Subject-Photographer Agreement). The key to this is Distance in between all three, and the Angle of the Camera towards the Subject. Being typically Asian, I wasn’t blessed in the height department so I resort to “cheating”. Wearing heels is an option to give me added height, but I have a tendency to wobble in sky-high heels so I don’t wear them often. For photos when you don’t wear heels and you still want to look taller, you can “cheat” with the position of your camera (and by standing on your tippy toes to give an illusion of longer legs)!

One pet peeve I have when visiting some blogs (aside from low-lit pictures) is seeing awkwardly angled photos. This usually happens when the photographer is taller than the subject resulting in annoying “Inverted Triangle” shots. The subject’s head looks bigger than their feet, oh the horror!! Aside from the subject looking shorter, readers don’t get to see the whole beauty of the outfit. You spend so much time in taking these photos, and your readers don’t get to appreciate it entirely because of a bad angle? It’s such a waste! Remedy it by asking – no, TELLING (nicely) your photographer to squat down or kneel on the ground. If he/she loves you, he/she will follow.

Keep in mind that You (the subject) should have distance in between the background (e.g. wall, door, window, etc.), and your photographer should squat/kneel down 2-3m away from you. That way your hips won’t look big in the shot. Also, the camera lens should be parallel to your tummy or belly button area to achieve a full view of your outfit. This way, you’ll look just like a super model!

(See full post here.)

So there you have it! Hoping these tips and tricks helps! If you have any questions, comments, and suggestions,  or if you wanna share your experiences and thoughts about these things, leave a comment below! :D

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  1. thank you very much for your tips! I totally agree with tip #5, you will definitely look small when the photographer will stand up :)

    Thirdbite | style blog

    1. You're welcome! :D The angle is very crucial! :)

  2. Hi. I enjoyed reading your tips and looking at your photos. I definitely agree about the whole post- the tips are basic yet have huge significance on how the photos will turn out. Been practicing them especially the tip number 5. Haha. I also agree about the beauty of golden hour -my recent outfit post was taken at this hour.

    Please feel free to visit my blog. :D See you!


    1. Thanks Gian! Glad I could help! :D Your blog's pretty cool! Hope to see more golden hour photos from you too! :3

  3. I agree with you all the 5 tips of basic photography tips

    Thank-you for sharing...

    1. Thank you pix ceal! Hope it helps :)

  4. Nice Post! Your pics are awesome an your thinking about the Basic Photography Tips is knowledgeable.

    Thanks For Sharing...


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