Possibly the most anticipated blog of the whole year, it's the question that I always get asked and today I thought that I would finally get round to answering it: Blog Photography. I think photography is probably one of the hardest things to get the hang of when you first start blogging, but it is true what they say, a picture can speak 1000 words and all that, because they do make the biggest difference to the overall look and feel of your blog. As you get the hang of it more, you will have a more and more personalised output, but today, I thought that I would just share a few tips to point you in the right direction.
The Camera: First off, your going to need something to actually take the photo with, and this doesn't mean a great big DSLR. The amount of people who spend money on these things when they don't understand how to work them, and don't use them is ridiculous, and frankly, it really annoys me. If you want to learn more about photography and manually using a camera, great, if not, stick to the digitals. At the moment I am swapping between using a bridge camera (the Fujifilm S2950) and another, and I would really recommend them for anyone unsure of what type to go for. I'm not going to say that there isn't a difference between the two, there is, but if the only purpose is for blog photography, your images are never going to be blown up that big, so you can get away with either.
Lighting: Firstly, the lighting needs to be sorted out. For most photos, it is essential to use natural lighting but for those getting more serious, or who are unable to shoot at light times of the day, soft boxes are a god send. These are the ones that I use and they are great because it means that I can shoot whenever I want, and they mimic daylight perfectly (unlike standard lights which will give you a dingy orange look ) so make for a perfect photo. But some people prefer the look of different lights in their photos so have a play around with it. Other little tips that I have would be to stay away from flash, as it can really wipe-out the photo and look generally unpleasant, don't take photos into the light, and think about how you can use lighting to create a different mood in your photography.
Composition and Background: Next, you're going to want to actually take the photo, this is where the fun starts. A good picture shows your personality and will help give character to your blog, a stock photo will do the opposite. They do have their time and place, e.g. wish lists, but on the whole they just look a little bit lazy, and it is much nicer to see a product well-loved, in its natural environment. So please stay away. You need to experiment with composition a bit. Try taking the photo from different angles, in different positions, you never know what may work and I've often found that I shot I didn't realise I had taken was my best. As a general rule, pictures with the subject in the outer 2/3 look nicer, it give more interest to the photo, and you should make sure that the subject is large, so that people can actually see it! You also want to make sure the background is looking okay, I always think it looks nicer out of focus, so that you are distracted, but you want to make sure that it is clean and tidy, and choose something that fits in with the feel of your blog.
Editing: Finally, my favourite bit, after snapping away, I like to import all my photos, sit down with a cup of tea and edit my way through them all. It's not essential at all, but the bit that I like the most, and what I think makes the most difference to your photos. I use photoshop to edit (fear not for the expense, you can get it free for 30 days to try it out online) and through trial and error and I taught myself what works and what doesn't. If you prefer a more simplistic photo editing software, I would recommend things like pic monkey online, although you won't get such control over your images. I think the main things I do is up the exposure, increase curves, use the spot healing tool to get rid of any dirt and use the selective colour mode to make sure the subject is showing correctly. I also like to add in a little watermark, so that people don't steal my photos (you would be surprised but they have in the past!) and if they are elsewhere on the web, people can find my blog from them, which I just use the text option for. A lot of people also use filters (or actions in photoshop), which can look great on some photos, but try not to overuse them in product shots, as people want to see what it actually looks like. I can't really go into much depth with anything now, but if you did want any editing posts in the future, please let me know and I will be happy to talk about it more.
Sorry for the long post, but this is a topic that I just have so much to say about! I hope it provided you with some useful information or inspiration, but don't take my word for gospel, make up your own rules too, inject a bit of personality. After all, that's what it's all about!
Anything more you wanted to know about? Do you have any tips?