Over the past few years of blogging, I've taken hundreds or even thousands of photos for my blog. And through all of that trial and error I have picked up an idea of what works well and what doesn't. Today I thought I'd share with you some tips I've learned about how to take better blog photos! And remember, these are just tips that work for me. You may do things different than I do and if you do and you're happy with your photos then keep doing just what you're doing! I'm just sharing for those who might be curious as to how I take my blog photos!
1. Natural light is your best friend. Out of all the different lighting situations I've tried, natural light always looks the best. I've tried using regular light, and even a daylight lamp, but lights tend to have quite a harsh look in photos and cast dark shadows. I take most of my photos on my desk which is right in front of a big window. For me, the best time to take photos is between 11am and 1pm when it's nice and bright outside! I also hold a piece of white bristol board on the opposite side of my desk that the light is coming in to bounce the light onto the other side of the products I'm photographing. This bouncing technique also helps to eliminate any harsh shadows in your shot.
2. Keep it clean. When taking pictures of products (or anything, really) a nice clean background will help to keep the focus of your photos on the items your photographing, without a distracting background getting in the way. I mostly like to use a solid white backdrop. (If you don't have a white desk or table, white bristol board works great and is super inexpensive. You can just replace it when it starts to look grubby.) I also like the look of a subtly textured background such as light/white woodgrain, marble, or a soft knit or fabric. You can also try adding a small sheet of fun paper or tissue paper to add something to the background!
3. Add some flair. If you're taking pictures of 1 or 2 small items, the shot can be kind of boring if it's just the item with nothing else in the shot. I really like to add some small props or accompanying items to help fill up the shot a little more and add some interest. Some items you can add are rings, small decorative dishes, sunglasses, magazines, notebooks, small plants, a makeup bag, or any other small accessories or items that relate to the subject you're shooting in some way!
4. Avoid flash. This tip kind of goes with the first one I mentioned, but please avoid flash if at all possible. Flash creates harsh light and shadows and also reflects off of the items you're photographing. Especially if you're a beauty blogger and you're taking photos of products that often have plastic packaging, the flash will bounce right off of it. Natural light gives a much softer look to the lighting in the photo and will look much better!
5. Digital camera > phone camera. I know cell phone cameras have gotten quite good over the years, but chances are you also own a digital camera, and chances are it takes higher quality photos than your phone does. A digital camera also should have more manual settings that you can adjust to make the most of your photos! Just try it out, put your phone down next time you're taking blog photos and play around with your digital camera instead!
6. Try a different angle. This is one tip I need to take to heart a little more, but instead of shooting your products at one angle (my go-to is the birdseye view), take some photos at different angles too! Don't be afraid to try new compositions or angles for your photos because you may surprise yourself and really like what you come up with! And don't be afraid to take too many photos. Sometimes I take 50+ shots just for one or two of them to actually show up on my blog. You can always delete the ones that don't work later!
7. Edit your photos. I'm not saying everyone has to go and buy Photoshop or anything, but use the resources you have to edit your photos a little bit before posting them to your blog. I use Photoshop and occasionally Lightroom to edit my photos. If you don't have access to those programs you can use iPhoto or even a photo editing app on your phone to edit (just email your chosen photo(s) to yourself and save them to your phone. Use an app like Afterlight or VSCOcam to edit and save your pics, then email them to yourself again and save them on your computer!). Photos can always benefit from a slight brightness/contrast boost, and you can go into colour correcting, Curves, and Levels if you're more comfortable with editing.
Like I mentioned above, these are what works for me! If you have different techniques that work for you then that's great too!
Let me know below if you think you'll try out any of these tips!