14 April 2014

Blogging Tips: Photography


First thing's first, by doing this post I do not want to come across like I'm amazing at taking photos whether it's for my blog or in general. I'm not doing this post to act like I'm some professional photographer, in fact the main reason I'm doing this post is because I took the photo above for no reason and just thought it would make a perfect picture for a post about photography and I'm pretty sure most bloggers likes tips that could help them. You may read this post and think "wow I'm so glad I know these things now" or you may think "well I knew this already this was pointless"  but either way you'll know what's important in blog photos!

You have probably guessed that this is going to be a long post and I'm sure it will, but I'll try and use pictures instead of words when I'm able to!

Equipment

First part of photography equipment I'm speaking about is of course cameras, the three that are most common to use are phones, digital and DSLRs, each are great for taking pictures but all have very different qualities. 


Phone cameras are not the best camera to use, if you have any type of digital camera I would definitely recommend that instead but with the right lighting and focusing, some phone cameras can take photos really well, I tend to use my iPhone camera when I'm going to Instagram a picture.

Digital cameras are a step up from phone cameras, some can be a bit shoddy and some can be great, I have never used mine for blog posts but I know it can bring great quality photos similar to the quality of a DSLR at a much lower price.

DSLR (Digitial Single-Lens Reflex) cameras are the best cameras to get for photo taking of any kind if you want high quality pictures, I've used my DSLR (Canon 1100D) for every blog post since I began blogging and I really want to save up and purchase a Canon 700D or a similar model as the functions and quality is much better than my low model. DSLR cameras are better for photographs as they create a much more professional photo, even if you're rubbish at taking photos you can always take a half-decent one using any DSLR camera and if you're willing to learn about all the functions available on this type of camera you'll be taking amazing photos in no time.

The next part of equipment, mainly related to DSLR cameras is lenses. On my camera I use the standard 18-55mm lens provided with the camera when purchased, this is a simple lens that can be used for anything, but the more money you spend on lenses the more you can do with your camera but you don't need to worry about lenses for standard blog photos unless you want to do extreme close ups and so on. It's very important you do your research before purchasing lenses as you could end up spending a lot of money on something you don't really need.

The last piece of equipment I'm going to talk about is tripods as they can become very important with blog photos. I have had a tripod for ages yet rarely used it for blogging and when I did start using it for blog photos, I realised how better my photos became as I was able to place products in front of the camera precisely, I was able to do birds eye view shots and more. If you don't own a tripod, all you have to do is stack some books on a table or whatever you find easiest.

Lighting


Lighting is an important factor when taking photos, especially product photos. As shown in the photos above there are different types of lighting and each can have a very different affect on photos. 

Taking photos of products in the light can make the product out of focus and unclear. This also relates to photos of people, if the person has light behind them then they are going to become a silhouette and the same can happen to products.

Taking photos away from direct light but still in natural daylight will make the photo a lot clearer. It's a good idea to take photos with natural light as shadows are less likely to appear, colouring stays normal and photos can be brighter especially on sunny days.

Taking photos with flash can make photos look harsher and areas darker which is why a lot of people don't use flash on blog photos. Flash is also terrible to use when taking photos of people, specifically make-up tutorials/looks as it makes the face shine, whitens the face and shows more shadows. The only time you should really use flash on people is if your showing a flash photography tutorial!

Lastly is room lighting, in my photo I have spotlights on but of course everyone has different lights whether they're main lights, desk lights, fairy lights or studio lights. Studio lights are the best option for photography lighting as they create more of a natural light rather than a yellow tinge but you can buy daylight bulbs for lights which also give more a natural light. 


Focus


Focusing is a very important yet obvious factor with any photography as  you need the camera to focus on what you're taking the picture of otherwise there's no point taking a picture at all as it'll be blurred. The image above shows one of my images slightly out of focus, I did this myself to give you an example but it's easy for cameras to auto-focus on the wrong point meaning what you want to be focused on will be blurred. Cameras like DSLRs have a square that you can move and the camera will recognise that square as the point of focus and will focus on whatever is in that square. 

Composition

This subject relates a lot to focus but before I go on, you need to know what type of photos you want to take, do you want soft pretty photos like Milk Bubble Tea? what about clear and organised images like Ghost Parties? Maybe you like the idea of in depth photos like RosyChicc? Maybe you're like me and want to do a mixture of images! Whatever you want to take, the main thing is creating the photo subject in focus no matter what the background is or isn't.


Above are three examples that I hope show difference ideas of composition, first is the picture being taken from a higher angle but surrounded in other items and if this picture was used on a blog it would be unclear what the picture was meant to be of. The second picture is from a straight angle with the item focused and in the centre, yet very far away and all the items in the picture are also focused and in the centre which again doesn't show what the picture subject is. Lastly is with the other items moved away from the main product, more of a white background is shown and the product is centred and in focus.

You can always have different backgrounds, whether it's a plain white background, lying a product on a magazine, fairy lights in the background, multiple products placed as an arrangement, out of focus flowers and more. There are so many ideas of how to compose your subject, if you're stuck for ideas why not visit other blogs?

Editing

The last subject I'm going to be talking about is editing. I have been using editing sites for a very long time so I'm able to use them without an issue, I currently use picmonkey.com and I've used this for years, in fact it was called "Picnik" when I started using it! Pic Monkey is a very easy to use online editing site, its like a free easy to use Photoshop. For blog photos I tend to use this site for changing the brightness and exposure, but I may also change the saturation levels, add text, create collages and more. There's so much you can do to make your images that little bit special. I also use Photoshop now and again if I want to edit my photos more precisely, specifically photos from my travels.

It's now the end of this extremely long post, I do hope it's helped some of you improve how you take photos, if you have any questions or recommendations to help improve my photos then leave me a comment!

What other Blogger tips would you like to see?


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