How To Take Better Blog Photos

Today I am going to share with my best tips and tricks for taking better blog photographs. Photography is consistently the number one thing I am asked about so I decided to share with you what I have learned. Today we are going to be covering the basics, aperture, ISO, composition and what format to shoot in. 

Before we begin, just know that this is what works for ME. I was a photo student when I first started college and learned the basics. Blog photography is very different than portrait or other photography.

What do I use? 
I use a Nikon D300s, which I ordered from Amazon and have had for three years. It’s a workhorse and a great value for those who know their way around a DSLR. 

I often change lenses because I like to mix up how my images look. This year though I have used almost exclusively the Nikon 50 mm 1.8 . It’s also known as the nifty-fifty lens and I highly recommend it for portraits. 

I also use the Nikon 35 mm 1.8 which gives me more of a wide angle perspective. This lens is great for cropped sensor cameras, such as mine, because it gives the feel of a traditional 50 mm lens that uncropped cameras have. 

Both lenses are extremely affordable and I recommend trying them out. I am a firm believer that it’s not so much about the equipment you, but rather about how you use the equipment. My biggest investment was my camera body because I knew that would give me the highest quality images and work with some lower-priced lenses. I didn’t fully understand how great my camera was until I started playing around and that’s how I got to where I am today. 

Format- Always, if it is an option, shoot in RAW. Why? Your camera, when shooting in JPG mode compresses and guesses at a lot of things. Ever taken a photo that seems completely blue? That is the white balance being guessed by the JPG in the camera. Raw takes up to 3 times the space that JPG’s do, this allows you to have so much more control over the editing of the image. I can fix the color balance, increase or decrease the exposure, increase contrast in a non-destructive way and so much more. 

I cannot tell you how vital it is that I shoot in RAW. The control and sharpness alone are worth taking an hour and learning about this format. I shot 100% RAW format in all of my photos. 

Importing from Camera to Laptop
If you are wondering how I import these large files, I use this tool that transfers massive amounts of photos onto my laptop. It is a lifesaver. (Kingston also has this model that is less expensive.)

Aperture-  You can go as low as f 1.8 if you have a high quality lens and has high as f22 and up. The lower the number, the more light that is allowed in. The lower the number the more bokeh, blur, you will get. The amount of “blur” that you have in a photo is set by the aperture you have on your lens. Certain things like leaves and other natural elements can enhance this “blur” effect but it is always set by your aperture. 

For example: These images were shot at  1.4, which means they have incredibly short depth of field. This is what allows there to be such definition between myself and the background.  How to Take Better Blog Photos

Conventional photography manuals will tell you that you want to shoot a something like t f22 when it’s bright out. etc. However, in blog photography this goes out the window. Everyone loves the bokeh and out of focus look. I always, always, always shoot at 1.4 to maintain sharpness. I shoot in partial shade so as not to blow out my skin and during the golden hour, the hour before the sun sets, so that I can balance the light and aperture. 

ISO- In essence, this is the light sensitivity. The lower the number, the better. 
Why? The higher the ISO the more grainy your images will be. I try to shoot at a 200 ISO constantly. If it is getting later or is a super overcast day I will crank it up to 500 but I still try and keep it low. My camera has a great sensitivity to light so I don’t have to worry about cranking it up and it getting grainy but on some DSLR’s you do. You should test your cameras sensitivity by taking the same shot at different ISO levels. 

Composition- How the photo is framed. 
You want your photos to be centered, with a thin border of background. You shouldn’t be taking up the whole image but you want to be in the majority of it. Photos that are taken almost straight on have the feeling of face to face and are much more personal and well received. 

For example: This image has my face almost center, it has some background detail and isn’t cutting off my hair or thighs in a strange place. 

How to Take Better Blog Photos

For detail shots I get closer but still try and maintain a proportion of some background, the detail and other elements so that the image is more aesthetically pleasing. It’s never JUST the detail. 

How to Take Better Blog Photos
When shooting images I have a rule. Full body images first. Then waist up photos. Then head shots. This helps me ensure I have a variety of poses and shots that all feel cohesive and bring different perspectives. 

Next up is blog editing! Let me know in the comments what other questions you have! I’m thinking about making this a regular thing so please, please, please ask away!