Way back when in 2010, I didn’t even own a camera. My blog was full of stock images and the focus was definitely on words rather than pretty pictures. However, as times have changed and blogs have become as much about the presentation as the content, it’s become essential to take great photos. Not only does a great photograph set the scene and draw a reader in, but it helps to illustrate your words and affirm your point of view. I’m by no means an expert in photography whatsoever (my general photography mode is ‘auto’ followed by ‘point, click and hope for the best’) but there are some really simple things you can do to make your blog as appealing as possible.
Illustrate Your Point
Your photographs are on the page to bring to life your words and set the scene. If you’re reviewing a lipstick, then it’s vital to take a few pictures that really illustrate the benefits and things you love about it (as well as an effective representation of colour and result.) Taking one photo and hoping it will do the job won’t breathe life and passion into your words, but a great close-up of the bullet can. If you’re talking about four different features, then try and include four different pictures that illustrate those points.
BUT: Every Photo Has A Purpose
Ensure every photo has a purpose and is illustrating a feature or benefit you’re talking about. Don’t include five pictures of
basically the same thing – it’s a waste of space, waste of storage and
can actually cause your blog to load really slowly. Just because you’ve taken eight great pictures
of a mascara doesn’t mean you have to use them all; be selective and
only feature the images that you need. I suggest a minimum of two and a
maximum of six (depending on what you’re writing about.)
A flat photo can be great when you’re just taking product pictures, but a photo with perspective will look super slick and be a little more exciting on the page. Taking a photo of something from an angle, or with things in the background, can be more pleasing on the eye and give the impression that you’re there in the room with the writer. (We don’t look at things head-on, so it’s easier to imagine something when an image has perspective.) It’s hard to explain the different feelings a great photo can evoke, but being courageous and testing the water can really make a difference.
Edit, Edit, Edit
Nobody takes a perfect photo the first time around. It may be that the lighting wasn’t right, there’s an annoying fleck of dirt in the frame or that the colours need turning up a notch to really illustrate something – all that and more can be corrected with a little editing. There are some great free tools, such as PicMonkey, which allow you to play around with colour and composition, as well as adding text and frames to pictures. Have a play and get in the habit of editing every picture so it’s the best it can be… You’ll never look back.
Bigger Is Better
Personally I can’t stand teeny tiny pictures on blogs. If you’ve gone to the effort of taking a great photo, then make sure the size of it on the page is doing it justice. A bigger image will bring to life the details a little more, as well as making your blog a very visual place to be. I set all my images to the ‘X-Large’ size on blogger, both so they fill the page and make my site comfortable and visual. You can also edit the size of an image within the ‘HTML’ section of your post editor, ensuring it’s the perfect size for you.
Invest In Some Kit
When I first started taking photos it was on a smartphone. I then moved up to a small camera, which was better but not perfect. The best thing I ever did was invest in a DLSR camera – the photos are incomparible and make my site a much more slick operation. A DLSR will allow you to take brighter, more focused and clearer images that will really bring to life your words. (You don’t even need to be an expert, as most have an ‘auto’ function that allows you to literally point and click!) Although my camera was around £400, you can pick a great second hand one up for a fraction of that from eBay or somewhere like Cash Converters.
Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
Great lighting can completely change the look of your images. If possible, take your pictures when the sun is shining through a window – natural light is so much better than indoor lighting, as it enables you to catch colours as they actually are. It’s also useful to pick up some flourescent lighting too, which can lighten and brighten your images even when it’s dull outside. I bought myself a ring light (around £30.00) which attaches to my camera and my images have instantly improved leaps and bounds.
Taking great photographs isn’t easy – it’s a skill you develop over time. Investing in a little kit, spending time perfecting your craft and editing images so they’re the best they can be, will really help to make your blog look great. Do you have any tips for taking great photos?
Next in the series: How To Stay Super Organised
Want to catch up on the rest of the series? Check out all the previous posts here.