Bangin' Blog Photography: My Top Three Tips!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Did you know that Embrace & Ignite has never had a series on it before? That's all about to change today. During many of my adventures online, there seems to be one major topic that is always popping up and that is blog photography. So many people struggle with their images and so many people struggle with it for different reasons. As I've learned more about blog photography and listened to your struggles it became quite obvious to me that this was a topic I could share my knowledge on and help other bloggers.

That means, Today I'm introducing you to the Bangin' Blog Photography Series in which, step by step, I will guide you through the in's and out's of blog photography. Today we are going to start with something a little less technical and I'm going to be sharing with you my Top 3 Tips for Taking Great Blog Photography! As the weeks and months continue I'm going to be sharing with you all various topics related to blog photography to help you tailor and improve your skills to create images you can be proud of. But I also want you ladies and gentlemen to get involved too, by leaving your suggestions in the comments below as to which topic(s) regarding blog photography you want to see me chat about next.

So without further rambling (because you all know I can) let's get started...

1) Lighting Makes a Difference:
One of the biggest challenges that I have faced when it comes to my own blog photography is lighting. There are so many people out there who tell you to use natural light, artificial light, go out and by a light box and all of that wonderful fancy and EXPENSIVE equipment. But I've never had the patience for outdoor natural lighting and I've never had the budget for fancy lighting equipment.

Natural light has never been the best option for me, I live in an area where the weather sucks and the sunshine doesn't stick around long so I invested a little bit of money and purchased myself a lighting setup. I headed down to my local Hardware store and purchased two Clamp Desk Lamps and some white light bulbs. All total these products cost me about $25 (Canadian) I went home installed them on the back of my desk (which also sits under a window) and away I went. I turn both of the lights on and point them towards the product I'm photographing, I adjust them until I get the least amount of shadows on the white background and then I snap, snap away!

My biggest tip when it comes to lighting and wanting to splurge on and item to improve your photography is to purchase something that you know is going to work for you and that fits inside your budget. Remember that lighting isn't the be all end all of blog photography. Photoshop, Canva and PicMonkey are all great resources to help edit those photos to create the illusions of light (we'll talk about this a bit later)!

Here are some examples of how lighting can effect your Photography. Of course, each person will have a different style they desire for their blogs. For me, I enjoy the last image taken in artificial light because it allows me the most crisp, clean and white image. You also notice in my third image how much the reflection on the Tarte Palette has decreased from the first image, this allows the image to be less distracting to viewers.

2) Landscape vs Portrait Imagery:
One of the latest changes to my blog photography was the overall rotation of my images. Before I was taking my images in a Landscape style (where the height of the image was less than the length of the image). I couldn't tell you why I enjoyed this style for my blog, but I can tell you that I thought this was the normal way that a person might taken images. After being in the blogging community for over 2 years, it's become really obvious to me that there is no particular way or rule to taking your blog photography. So over the last few weeks I've switched up my photography and now am taking my images in a Portrait style (where the height is is more than the length of the image).

For me, portrait images give me more of a surface area to play with in the photo. In saying this, I mean that I'm able to add in props, other products and pieces to really brand my images and make them reflect what I'm trying to say on my blog. I also find that these portrait images translate to social media really well (especially Pinterest) and allow my readers a larger more clear image to look at when they are visiting my blog. As for landscape images, I find these much less creative for playing with things like props, products and other pieces. I also find that because of the size of my post area and the size of the image, that these types of images can get lost in the post. As many of you know, I love to fill my posts with lots of helpful information and in doing this sometimes my images (being in landscape form) can just get lost between the text.

Having your images stand out on your blog and within the blogging community is one of the most important ways you can get your blog noticed. With the increasing amount of bloggers joining the community every day and the equipment making it easier to be a professional photography without the formal training, you really need to be at the top of your game. Choosing the rotation for your photography can be one way that you make yourself stand out!

3) The Power of Photoshop:
So now that we've covered the magic of lighting and the uniqueness of which way you should take your image, it's time to talk about how we can edit our image to make them better. Even if you don't have the right lighting or haven't taken your images in a particular rotation, the power of editing can always help you alter your images so that your readers will neve know how your originally took them. Bloggers shouldn't feel ashamed to edit their blog photography. I know I don't. Programs like Photoshop, Canva and PicMonkey were invented to edit photo's and to make them appear better once uploaded onto our computers and devices. There is lot's of debate on this topic and I don't want to get too deep into it (at least in this post), but for me editing your images is completely okay but you always want to remember to not over edit them!

For all of my photo editing needs, I use Photoshop and that's the software I will be referring to in this section. While I feel like editing is important for blog photography, I don't feel like all aspects of editing are a nessecary steps. One of the easiest things to do when editing your photography is to use too many adjustments and go over board with the Brightness, Sharpness and more. It's important for me, that when I'm editing my photography I constantly save the image I'm working on and load it into a drafted blog post so that I can see what the edited image is going to look like on my blog. This is the #1 editing tip I can give to any blogger. Your images may look great in Photoshop, Canva or PicMonkey but they are going to look completely different on your blog.

As for the overall editing process, there are certain adjustments that you can make that I feel are more important than others. These are all specific adjustments I make to my images and have worked well in my past and present photography. I'm not doing to go into too much detail with these adjustments, as I do plan to do an expand post on all of this information. However, here are a few adjustments I think it's important for bloggers to know about. Cropping, Brightness/Contrast, Dodge Tool, Hue/Saturation and Sharpen are my five favorite adjustments that I use when I'm editing. However, I also don't use all five of these editing adjustments in one photo. For example, the image below was cropped to fit the size of my post area and then I used the Dodge Tool to lighten the shadows in the background and then I added a little bit more brightness. Simple, easy and not overdone!

And finally, it's time to share with you where all of the information I have provided you above has gotten me to. I've spent countless hours and large amounts of money perfecting my blog photography and I hope that over the past two years this has shown through my blogging journey. My photography still isn't perfect and I'm continuously learning new things about lighting, my camera and photography in general but I'd like to think I'm finally at a place with my photography where I can be happy to share it with everyone and any one. Just to give you an example of how far I've come here is the different that two years, time, dedication and money takes:

Lighting, rotation and Photoshop are three of my biggest successes when it comes to my own blog photography and starting a blog series wouldn't feel right if I didn't share with you my hidden little secrets. I know that I only touched briefly on each tip but I do plan to expand on each one further in future posts in my Bangin' Blog Photography Series! I'm so excited that I'm able to provide more information to you about photography, because I really feel like your blog images can make or break whether people even take a second look at your blog. Even I'm guilty of visiting a blog and leaving before I've read anything because of dark, blurry or small images. Photography is something that can easily be taught and something you don't have to be a pro to learn about. I'm hoping with this series I can help you improve your photography and loving blogging that much more!

Stay tuned for my next post! ;)

What do you struggle the most with your photography?
Are you excited for more of the Bangin' Blog Photography series?

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Embrace and Ignite is a beauty blog run by Krystal-Marie which is dedicated to being the buzz-hub for the latest and greatest beauty products.

Thank you all for sharing my love of beauty and makeup and I look forward to connecting with you all in the comments section!