Photography. No matter what kind of blogger you are, taking images is essential when telling your story. A photography novice, or stumped on how to take your blog to the next level? Wil Ablett of Park Cameras has all the essential tips and tricks.
IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT THE CAMERA
Honestly, you don’t need the best or latest camera in the world to take the best photos. You’ll be amazed at what you can do with a smartphone or a compact camera and a bit of ingenuity. A problem with many smartphones is that they aren’t designed to perform in low light environments, with winter a particularly bad period for this- more light makes for brighter colours, stronger shadows and higher quality images.
UPGRADE YOUR LIGHTING SET UP
You don’t need to spend a fortune or fork out for a fully-equipped photography studio; however small lights can make a world of difference when it comes to your blog. The biggest light source available is in fact free- the sun. Make use of the daylight you have by shooting in front of a large window (facing it) to create a giant soft-box. Sitting side on to the window also creates a beam, and netted curtains are great if the light is particularly bright and you want to diffuse it.
Photo Credit: Becky
SHOOT IN THE GOLDEN HOUR
The Golden Hour is one of the best times to shoot too- it’s the hours before and after the sunset and sunrise, which sees the sun at its softest and most golden.
With the sun low across the sky, the Golden Hour is a great source of beautiful imagery, particularly on a beach or somewhere where you can see the sunset in the background of your photo.
Photo Credit: Nilu
THINK ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND
Backgrounds can either be completely distracting, or absolutely make the photo.
If you want your background to be part of your image – a statement – then make it interesting. If you’re outside, a good tip is to look for distressed brick walls, graffiti walls, metal shutters, anything with texture and or patterns that looks good.However, if you want the subject (you or your model) to be the absolute, undistracted focus of your photo, then look for simple backgrounds.
SCOUT YOUR LOCATION
No matter what you’re photographing, if you’re shooting outside it’s a great idea to scout out your location beforehand.
My advice is to get to know your local area, find backdrops and places with nice light that you can shoot in – keep a list of locations and what you think they would be useful for – this can be a great reference guide when you need to find somewhere.Scouting your location before shooting means you can find out what time of day the light is best there, when its least busy, or if there’s anything else you should avoid, or you can include.
Photo Credit: Martha
LOOK FOR LEADING LINES
On the topic of photographing outdoors, it’s very easy to look at a location with the naked eye and think it looks great, only for the photo to turn out a bit rubbish.A great way to add a dynamic element to your photos is to use ‘leading lines’. These are simply lines that run through your image and guide the viewers eye across it. These lines can be anything – powerlines, roads, curbs, pavements, rivers, hills – anything that adds an interesting element to your photo.Leading lines can also be used to point the viewers eye towards your main subject – by having the lines all converging on or pointing to your subject matter.
Photo Credit: Anna
PLAY WITH LIGHT AND CONTRAST
If light is the Queen of photography, contrast is King. Use light to your advantage – think about playing with silhouettes, bright light, diffused light, dark light with a spotlight on your subject, coloured lights, neon lights. Look at every source of light you come across and think about how you can incorporate it into an image for your blog. Then, next time you see it, use it.Contrast is a great photography tool to play with. If you’re photographing at home, try turning all your lights off and just using the window light – get up close to the window with your camera between you and the window - you’ll show up more clearly against the darkness of your room.If you’re heading out to photograph your outfit on the streets, a good tip is to look for colours that are on the opposite side of the colour wheel to your outfit, this will make your outfit stand out against the background.
Photo Credit: Jay Mclaughlin
STOP USING INSTAGRAM TO EDIT YOUR IMAGES
Instagram is great. We love it, we do. But sometimes the filters can ruin our images and throttle our creativity.If you really want to get the best out of your photos, especially if you’re using a digital SLR camera and shooting in RAW, my advice is to start using photo-editing software as it will let you to finely adjust and edit your blog photos to create some truly unique images.By allowing you to edit the exposure, contrast, shadows, highlights, vibrancy, and infinite other options, programs like Adobe Photoshop are used by professional photographers for a very good reason.
Photo Credit: Jay Mclaughlin
GET A STURDY TRIPOD OR TWO
Tripods are one of the key ingredients in any photographers’ kit bag. When photographing for blogs, a lot of your photography and videos will be shot at home, but a lot will also be shot out and about.Unless you’ve got a huge camera and lens, you can get away with many of the most compact tripods. For example, a Manfrotto PIXI Evo or Joby Gorillapod is perfect for setting your camera up on somewhere to shoot video or take photos.However, if you’re taking shots in the street, especially of yourself, you’ll want to invest in a full-size tripod. Carbon fibre tripods are the lightest and easiest to carry (such as the Manfrotto BeFree), and aluminium tripods are a bit more cost effect if you’re not so worried about weight.
Photo Credit: Georgette