Next up for Blogging Building Blocks is Photography. Photography is a powerful tool. It's something that can really grab viewers and draw them in. Social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest are a true testament to just how powerful imagery can be. With this is mind, Chaitra and I have decided to tackle two different aspects of photography – tips for taking photographs and tips for editing them. I get the exciting task of covering the former today!
Create white space:
When I say white space, I don't literally mean white space. I mean areas that are left clear. I find that what isn't in the shot can be just as important as what is in the shot. Sometimes having too much going on in a photo can be overwhelming and it can end up detracting from the overall look. If you leave certain areas of the shot untouched it gives the eye a place to breath, making it easier to appreciate everything else. I've got a post on white space here.
Most people are likely familiar with the rule of thirds – the idea that a shot should be divided into threes by two vertical lines and two horizontal lines and that the points of interest should fall on the dividing lines. This is a good rule to follow much of the time, but it's also worth playing around with different alignments. Sometimes centering your image can have a more powerful effect.
|Rule of thirds|
Use something to break up the shot:
A photo can benefit from being broken up. Sometimes too much of the same background can look dull. Using an object (such as a tray, or a piece of fabric) to fill a chunk of space can help to create some interest. It can also serve as that handy area of white space I mentioned before.
|Breaking up the shot|
Maximizing the amount of light you have in a shot can make a world of difference, particularly for beauty and lifestyle blogs. This isn't always an easy task, but there are tricks that can help. Investing in a good lens with a low f-stop is important. Also, getting to know the manual settings on your camera is essential. Balancing f-stop, shutter speed and ISO is how you get the perfect shot (I've got a post on that here).
Taking advantage of good light is also important. If you don't have studio lights, try to prep as many shots as possible for the coming weeks when the sun is shining. Sunlight tends to the look the best in photos anyways. Sometimes none of this is enough. That's where editing comes in. Making adjustments to brightness and curves in a photo editing program can be a life saver.
Think about the placement of your products/props:
The way you lay out products/props can create a lot of visual interest. Think about if you want your shot to be clean and orderly or if you want it to have a relaxed, casual vibe. If you're going for casual, don't be afraid to have props half out of the shot. It adds to the effect. Also don't hesitate to get a little messy. Try pouring a little product out, sprinkling some powder here and there – get the photo to look alive.
Create a beautiful background:
The background of a photo can also add a great deal of visual interest and set the tone. Sometimes a simple white background can be what a photo calls for. However sometimes wood planks, a piece of marble (or marble contact paper), a nice bit of fabric or some beautiful wrapping paper can set a beautiful tone. Attractive backgrounds are definitely one of the top things I'd consider to be worth investing in. If you find that your photos are feeling too similar, a new background is a good way to switch things up.
Props can help spice up a photo. They can be a way to introduce a pop of colour or a new texture. They're a chance to just unashamedly add something irrelevant to your photo to beautify it. I find if all else fails with my photography, I just throw some fresh flowers into a photo and BAM, it looks miles better. Potted plants, magazines, cards, jewelry and makeup bags are also pretty trinkets to add to the mix.
Try taking your shot from a ton of different angles. Sometimes I set up a shot with the intention of photographing it from directly above, only to find that it looks better at a completely different angle. I like to not only continually move my camera around, but also move my props around. That way you have loads of options to pick from when deciding on your final photo.
|Playing with angles|
Fit your photography with your blog design:
As I mentioned in the previous Blogging Building Blocks post, the best blogs always integrate their photography well with their blog design. Consider the colour palette of your blog design and the type of feel you've created and assess if it matches that of your photography. It may take some tweaking of both your photography and your blog design to get everything looking completely cohesive. I still find this cohesion business to be a real challenge.
Remember to head on over to PinkPot for Chaitra's Top Editing Tips For Blog Photography!