If you want to become a successful blogger, it's important to understand that blogging isn't only about what you write. Yes, your writing is important, however, when writing content, it's a good idea to incorporate images. Incorporating images into your blog posts will improve the readability and search engine optimization (SEO) of your content.
A lot of us can get away with using stock images for our blog posts. However, for some blogs (such as fashion, travel or food blogs) your visuals can be just as important as your writing. Here are six photography tips to help you get the best shots for your blog.
1. Consider Upgrading Your Camera and Accessories
Smartphone cameras have gotten very good in recent years, and you absolutely can take beautiful pictures using them. However, there is still a significant quality difference when you compare the photos taken by the best smartphone camera and an average DSLR.
If you're serious about your blog and want to make money from blogging, then it makes sense to invest in a new camera. You can get a good DSLR for a few hundred dollars, and if you're good at finding sales, you may score a discount.
Depending on what type of pictures you'll be taking, you may also want to invest in a couple of accessories. A tripod is a must for keeping the camera steady while taking photos. While your DSLR should come with a versatile lens, you can upgrade to a more specialized lens if necessary.
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2. Use Natural Lighting
Natural lighting is almost always the best lighting you can use for your blog photography. Try to take your shots outside during the daytime whenever possible, and for indoor shots, open the curtains to let the sun in.
You'll get a feel for lighting the more pictures you take. For outdoor shots, lighting is usually best in the morning as the sun is rising or in the late afternoon to early evening when it's setting. There will be natural lighting at those times, but the sun won't be directly overhead and washing out your pictures. If you do end up taking pictures when the sun is shining brightly, see if you can get a bit of shade in your shot.
You obviously won't need flash for pictures during the day, and it's best if you can find other sources of light for nighttime shots. Flash often leads to low-quality photos.
3. Take Plenty of Pictures
If you've ever looked at someone's Instagram and wondered why their pictures look so perfect and yours don't, understand that you're only seeing one of their carefully selected shots. They took dozens of photos and chose the best. Professional photographers typically take hundreds of pictures of their subjects.
You don't need to get it right in one try. When you're taking photos, experiment with different poses and arrangements. Play with the zoom and the angle of the shot. Even minor adjustments can create an entirely different picture.
The main reason to take many pictures is that it will give you plenty to choose from. It's always better to have more pictures than you need instead of having no good options because you didn't take enough. Another benefit is that you get more practice this way, and you'll train your eye to take better shots.
4. Give Your Pictures Life
When pictures look staged, they feel fake and don't resonate with the viewer. Small elements of life can be the missing link that brings out an emotion when you look at the picture.
Sometimes it's easy to give your pictures more life. If you're shooting a street scene in the city, you can time it to get people walking by, talking, laughing or otherwise going about their day. For other shots, you'll need to get creative. Maybe instead of taking a picture of your friend sitting at a café table smiling, you photograph them as they're taking a sip of coffee. This is still something you can stage, but it looks more real.
5. Incorporate Negative Space
Negative space is a great way to put more emphasis on the subject of your photo. Without enough negative space, your picture may appear cluttered, leaving viewers unsure of what they should be looking at.
In photography, the negative space is the space surrounding your subject. To get better at using negative space, you'll need to consider the entire scene when you're taking a picture instead of focusing entirely on the subject. Like lighting, negative space is something you'll understand more with practice, but you need to be aware of it to learn how to use it to your advantage.
6. Put the Finishing Touches on with Editing
Often the difference between a good photo and a great photo is the editing. A little editing can correct small issues and enhance a photo's best elements. Lighting, sharpness, and contrast are all aspects you can adjust in your editing program of choice.
Adobe Photoshop is still the software of choice for professional photo editing, but there are also quite a few simpler and more affordable options available such PicMonkey. Whichever program you choose, spend some time getting comfortable with it so that you know how to use all its features.
As you edit your photos, be careful not to over-edit them. It's easy to go wild with your editing options, but too many minor adjustments can make a picture look unnatural.
You don't need to be a professional photographer to get great shots for use on your blog. With the right equipment, a basic understanding of taking pictures and enough practice, you'll notice the quality of your photos improve dramatically, and that will lead to a better blog.