6 things every blogger should know about photography

As bloggers we’re constantly in search of inspiration for new blog posts, we’re under pressure of writing compelling content, and we’re always hoping to attract new readers.
One of the most important factors when it comes to creating engaging blog posts is photography.
Photography is visualizing ideas, it’s presenting thoughts in a way that anyone can understand. Also, photography captures contrast and colours (if not used in black and white), which are strong means of evoking emotions within people.

Seeing the power of photography you should know how to use these factors for your own advantage.
If applied in the right way photography can help you to boost your blog traffic, and certainly is on your side when it comes to social media (e.g. Pinterest - probably the most visual social media platform out there).

Here are 6 tips you should consider when it comes to creating compelling photo content for your blog:

1. Shoot in good light conditions

Light is super important in any situation. No matter whether you’re photographing food, you’re out in the streets, or taking a portrait of someone.
The best tip I can give you is to use ambient light. I’m not a big fan of flash, as I find it flattens your image and takes out all the natural shades and tones. Available light gives you a much more natural look and feel, and it’s easier to work with as you don’t need to worry about all the flash settings.
Be aware of where your light comes from and what time of day you’re photographing.
Flattering light usually comes from the side, from an angle, or is filtered. If the light comes directly from above or the front it can be quite harsh (especially if you’re shooting around noon when the light is strong).
I found that filtering natural light can add a really nice tone to your photo. There’s an easy way to achieve filtered light: shoot next to the window, and use a thin (preferably white or creamish coloured) curtain, which lets some light through. This technique will give you a nice and soft tone. If you don’t have a similar fabric available try out other materials which seem thin enough to let light through (e.g. toilet paper, baking parchment,...).

2. Be aware of colours

As I said before colours are very powerful in evoking emotions. Red is like a signal shouting out ‘Hey! Here I am, look out for me!’.
Yellow is bright and colourful, like a pop of happiness.
Blue - calming like the sea, natural as it can be found almost everywhere in our world. Green represents nature, freshness.
Well, you know the list goes on and on... Just be aware of what colours communicate, and how you can use that knowledge in your favour. Newspapers for example like to choose photos showing a fire (it’s red!) for their front page, as it will help increase sales. People are attracted by the attention grabbing colour, and will instinctively grab a newspaper with a colourful red pop over a greyish looking one.

Just as important is the combination of different colours. When you set up a scene for let’s say a food photography shoot be aware of what colour your props are, as well as the background. Try out different coloured props, until you feel it works.
If something doesn’t look quite right, or just doesn’t feel compelling it’s probably because of the colours.

3. Composition is important

Try out different angles and positions. Don’t be lazy, or afraid to get into weird positions (even if it’s in public). Some great photos only happen because the photographer isn’t afraid of looking silly.
I’ve been on the ground myself. I’ve also been up in the air. I’ve been on my boyfriend’s shoulders, I’ve been standing on chairs, I’ve climbed up walls.
There’s nothing you can’t do - nothing you wouldn’t do once you see how much of a difference a certain position can make.

If you’re arranging subjects and objects, or even out on the streets, try placing the subject differently every time. Sometimes just showing the subject in of one of the corners of the photo can work (leaving lots of empty space), sometimes creating a visual diagonal looks good, sometimes even placing your subject right in the middle of the photo can be interesting.

A general rule to keep in mind though, is the Golden Ratio - about ⅓ to ⅔ of the photo (no matter whether horizontal or vertical).

4. Look out for the background

Don’t let the background distract from the main point of focus. If you’re taking a portrait and the background has nothing to add to who the person is then don’t show it. Of course you can’t just cut out the background, but you can blur it (using a shallow depth-of-field), try taking the photo from a different position, or just move and find a different spot to take the photo.
Usually a simple and plain background works quite well for portraits, unless you’re adding meaning to your photo by including the background.
When it comes to food photography for example it’s nice to focus on the food, so keeping the background nice and blurry.

Again, be aware of the colours in the background - you usually don’t want a bright red that attracts all the attention and draws the focus away from your main subject.

5. Capture details

Details can be a really nice feature to a photo. A detail gives you only an idea of what’s going on, it let’s the viewers mind add what’s missing - I love that this way there’s lots of room for individual interpretations and inspiration.

Did you know that even a portrait can just show a certain detail? Shoes for example. Or hands. Maybe someone’s always wearing pink shoes - that’s a detail worth capturing, it will portray the person just as well as showing their face.
Showing a certain feature of a person can be interesting, adding a lot of character to the photo.

The same goes with any type of picture - details are interesting, so focus the attention on the point you want to make.

6. Edit your photos

Even if you’re simply adjusting the contrast and white balance a little bit - editing can do a lot with very little.
Of course you should always try to get the perfect shot when taking the photo, and not rely on editing to turn a bad photo into a good one.
But still, a little polish can only help. You don’t need to use Photoshop, there is other editing software out there which will do a good basic job (Picasa, Lightroom, PhotoPlus, Photoscape,...).

Note: all of the photos above relate to more than just the one point - most of them illustrate several tips (i.e. the food photos under point 2 illustrate not only colour, but also composition, light, background,...)

These tips are all about photography itself. While you should definitely be aware of all these factors and try to apply them whenever you’re shooting for your blog, there are other more ‘external’ (blog/layout related) factors to consider as well, which I’ll talk about soon.

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  1. I absolutely love this post Helena, such great tips!

  2. This is great! Thanks for the tips!


  3. you're a really great blogger, helena! i'm excited to see your blog grow and grow!!!

    1. Aww, thank you, Emerson! That's so nice to hear + really encouraging! :)

  4. Such a great post. I struggle with light since we don't get very good natural light in our house apartment, but I will try that curtain trick!

    1. Thank you! I hope you will find a spot where the light is nice - you can always step outside, or come up with some other solution. I think the key is to be creative. :)

  5. I would like to say thanks for photography tips. Anyway I enjoyed this wonderful article for such wonderful photos. Looking forward more! roygroething.com | Higher Education Photography

  6. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about food photography. I will forward this article to him. Surely he will have a good read.