How I Improved My Blog Photography

photography-tips

I’m a firm believer of if one wants a successful blog, one must master the art of writing and blog photography. Although writing is much more important than photography, visuals play an important part in attracting readers to your blog, too. Of course you can go ahead and use one of the many stock photos available but are you really satisfied with the end product, though?

For me personally, I like to use my own photos as much as I can. I do not prefer mixing my own and stock photos in one post because I like my blog post photos to have a theme and obviously my photos won’t have the same aesthetic as stock photos. Blog photography is something that everyone struggles with including myself. I’m not artsy or crafty or creative so I found photography a really daunting process as I don’t have the patience to get the perfect photos with the perfect angle, lighting, and everything.

I’m probably not the best person to be giving photography tips but this is just how I improve my photography from the process of taking photos to editing them. Photography skill is a life-long learning process for me and I’m sure that in the course of a few months I would encounter more ways to make my photography better.

The camera

You don’t need to be spending thousands of ringgit for a fancy camera but having one in hand definitely comes in handy. You can use your smartphone too but I found taking photos with a proper camera gives better results especially for a photography dummy like me who sucks at adjusting angle. If you’re gifted and your Instagram is basically your flatlay portfolio, congratulations! You nailed blog photography.

I steered clear of Automatic setting on my camera, thank goodness. My go-to setting is Program which I had my brother set for me. Now, you might think that you’re all set but a few days ago I took a flatlay photo outside of my house under the scorching sun. That’s as natural lighting as it gets but my photos were all grainy and I was like “the heck?” and I started googling ISO ’cause that’s basically the only photography lingo I knew and lo and behold, my ISO was set to 3200 on a bright day.

From my understanding, if you’re taking photos with direct light/enough light, the lower the ISO, the better. If you’re in low light condition, then the higher ISO is better for your photos. After that I just had a sudden realisation that my old blog photos were shitty because I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about ISO setting. Heck, I didn’t even edit my old photos all that much. All I did was jacking up the brightness to as far right as possible and I thought it was life-changing!

The lighting

I don’t know what is it with my house that makes getting natural lighting through the window impossible. Every window in my house is blue-tinted (because guys, it’s Malaysia) so maybe that’s why. I do not prefer using built-in flash though ’cause it gives you a smartphone-flash quality. However, I did use built-in flash in the past to take my blog photos. Please don’t judge me. I have learned my lessons.

If you don’t have a soft box, taking photos when the source of light is behind you will give you the right lighting and it just makes your photos brighter as opposed to facing it where it can create shadows and make your photos dimmer. This tip is foolproof and I think everyone knows this already.

Your surrounding is also important in ensuring that your photos turn out great. Having white walls will make your photos brighter than purple walls. If you have yellow walls, your photos will turn warmer and if you have blue walls, they’ll be cooler. Warm tone photos do not look appealing to me. I personally love my photos to have a slight cool tone to it ’cause they just look better and brighter.

The editing process

Now comes the fun but tiring process — editing! The software I’m using is Photoshop CS6 and if you don’t have it, there’s a lot of free software out there that can do what Photoshop can. My dad’s friend is a computer engineer so he had them installed for me for free. (Don’t even ask me how.)

One. I’ve been using Mili from Sharmtoaster trick to instantly brighten photos on Photoshop for my past two posts and it is a life-changer! I can not express how much I love that trick and I’ll be using it for my next 5000 posts to come, for sure!

Two. Photo Filter. Also a life-changing adjustment that I found a few months ago. If your photos are too warm or too cool, you can add a warm/cool filter and adjust it accordingly. The moment I found out about this unexpectedly while playing with Photoshop, I wanted to shed a few tears so bad ’cause I had been struggling with my photos being warm tone from my bedroom’s light.

Three. Brightness, contrast, exposure. I think these three are basic in photo editing. After following step one, I don’t have to jack up my brightness as high as I used to before. I like to turn down the contrast just a little bit if the lighting was too harsh so you can see details in the photos and turn up the exposure to just below +1 to make it crispier.

Four. I resize my photos to 1200px so it won’t lose its quality as I’m using a full-width layout for my post page. Instead of saving the file as normal, I use Save for Web and optimise it to High or Very High setting depending on the size of image file. Anything below 200kb should be fine.

Some people use VSCO CAM to add filters to their photos but I’m not a big fan of that. Besides, the whole process of transferring photos from computer to your phone and back to your computer is just tedious and I don’t have time for that.

Here’s a comparison of before and after photos:

Before



After


Before



After


I really hope this post helped you in improving your blog photos! I still have a lot to learn but it’s a process, isn’t it? Do you have a specific way to edit your blog photos that you think I might love? How do you edit your photos?

Share:
  • I was taking pictures of books for my next blog post but all of them turned out bad lol. Will try your tips next time I get motivated to take the pictures again.

  • Lovely post, Erin! Editing photos makes a worlds difference. Glad to know you’re photography skills are getting even better 🙂

    Nicole | The Glam Surge

  • Ardilla Noorezan (dyllarezan)

    Hi Erin! No wonder your post didn’t come out on my reading list. Looks like you’ve moved to WordPress. Congrats for the big step anyway! I just followed you back hehe. Yup, so true. Usually I use VscoCam for my Instagram photos, but like you said, it’s such a tedious process. My CS5 just crashed and I haven’t installed Lightroom. So, basically I just posted whatever photos I have. Guess I still have a lot to improve, that’s for sure!

    • Hi Dylla! Yes I moved to WordPress two months ago. Thank you! Ikr! I wish they have VSCO CAM for desktop, though. So many bloggers are using Lightroom but I believe you have to pay a lot for it kan

  • Trecee Hutchinson

    This post is so helpful. I personally like to use Snapseed to brighten my photos and add a bit of color saturation if necessary! Great information!

    Trecee
    http://treceefabulous.blogspot.com/

    • you’re welcome! I will try Snapseed soon x

  • Rachel

    I’m trying to improve my blog photography too, these are such great tips, thanks for sharing! Your photos look so good! 🙂

    Rachel | racheleileen.com

    • thank you, Rachel! you’re welcome x

  • I’m planning to do some research to improve my photos but it always got postponed. Thanks for sharing, Erin.

  • Caroline

    I can really see that you got your photography skills together. Your pictures look great!
    x Caroline
    http://www.silverstories.dk

    • thank you Caroline! i still have a lot to learn though x

  • Ahhh thank you for sharing your settings info! I’ve had my camera for so long and I feel like I’ve never really learned how to use it to its full potential. Great post! 🙂

    http://abbysaylor.com/

    • i feel you about not using it to its full potential. thank you! x

  • Corinne C

    I love brightness and contrast! I always use that to edit my photos. Yours look great.

    Corinne x
    http://www.skinnedcartree.com

    • me too! contrast is amazing! thank you Corinne! x

  • nadiah izzaty

    I have a camera tapi jarang guna . I use phone more often to snap pictures senang nak edit jugak. hihihi .

    part surrounding/background color tue memang betul pun . Luckily my house mostly white wall .

    Editing part memang take time but it’s fun. Part paling nadia tak sempat nak optimize/minimize all my pictures in every post tapi new post Nadia semua nadia minimize kan size gmbr using website yang Erin share dlm my post . thank you for that and thank you for sharing this too =)

    • haah guna phone lagi senang sebenarnya kan. optimize tu penting kalau taknak blog loading lambat lagi lagi kalau guna wordpress. habis disk storage and bandwidth nanti. you’re welcome nadia! <3

      • nadiah izzaty

        erinnn…. lama tak terjah blog erin. how are you?

  • These are really great tips for photography. I’m having a hard time being consistent with that kind of editing I should use. I hope I will soon.

    http://thewallflowersecrets.com

  • thank you Siqah! iphone filter pun dah ok, especially Chrome. flawless terus kulit hehe. haah vsco cam tukar gmbr tu completely lepastu quality dia macam meh sikit

  • bivichan (BV)

    looking back at most of pictures at my blog, i’m speechless. XD
    usually i don’t try to get a good angle for pictures as long the main thing are seen in the frame, thats okay for me.
    and i love using vsco, basically because its change whole looks of a pictures and looks more tumblrish 😀
    for editing process, i’m use photoscape to edit contrast, brightness and resize pictures, it’s more easy.

    reading this post, now i know that i need to change my habit in photography so i have a better quality of pictures for my blog. thanks erin for the tips! 🙂

    • hahaha i feel you! you’re welcome! 🙂

  • Nice and thanks erin for the post! The theme on my blog was diverse! Haha, I think I may want to niche it a lil bit. I got this constantly change of lifestyle photography habit. lol.

    • thank you, you’re welcome! i’m still trying to improve my photography too 🙂

  • Yes it’s a processsss.
    I’ve started to change the mood of our pictures at the end of last year,
    and streamlined all editings so that our webite looks more ‘uniform’.
    Almost typed unicorn haha :/
    Good and informative post Erin.
    Hope to see more from you this 2017 x

    Viviene Kok
    http://www.vivienekok.com

  • Yiotou_La

    I always take my photos outside and natural light is the best but winter and dull days make this process more difficult. Love these tips and your photos are so pretty, love the white background! x

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

    • natural lighting is the best, thank you Yiota xx

  • Blog photography was a LONG and steep learning curve for me! I do like to think its better now although I do believe there’s absolutely room for improvement!

    • i understand! having a dslr doesn’t guarantee good pictures but it definitely comes in handy! 🙂

  • Judy

    If I take my photos in 100% natural lighting and in a bright/light setting, I generally don’t have to edit my photos much except to adjust the brightness up a notch. OR because I take most of my pictures on my phone, I retrieve them through Google Photos and edit using a filter on there! (I normally just use their auto function.)

    If I’m taking photos under artificial lighting, Photoshop is my saviour. My go-to buttons are auto-tone or auto-colour, curves, selective colour…at least those are the ones I can think of right now!

    http://hoiyinli.com

    • oooh i must try your go-to buttons for my upcoming blog post photos! xx

  • It is amazing looking back at previous photos haha! I have an SLR and love it, but I have to say I find it sooo annoying when the lighting pulls blue a lot and then I spend almost as much time editing the photo as the time I spent taking them all 🙁 however when a photo does come out really nice, it makes it worth it haha. Those filters on photoshop sound brilliant, wish I had it now but dang is it expensive xD

    Iqra | The Blushing Giraffe x

    • i feel you. sometimes my photos look to warm and i’ll have to use cooling filter to add some blue in it. i’m definitely not gonna spend money on photoshop filters though hahhaha xx