How to take better blog photos

Sunday, 6 November 2016

1. Find your 'studio'

Most bloggers (especially those part-time) won't have the luxury of having a designated studio space for taking photographs. To be honest, I really don't feel it's necessary. As long as you have some sort of space you can set up a shoot, it will work. If I'm shooting indoors (flat-lays and product shots) I'll always pick a spot by a window. Natural lighting is an absolute god-send with photography, and if you're shooting indoors, you need to get as much light as possible into your shot. Shooting in front of a window also means you can control the type of light- if the sun is particularly bright that day and casting shadows on your set, close the blinds a little- you'll still have some light coming through but you can eliminate the harsh shadows.

2. Create a background

The background you choose may not seem important as it's all that noticeable but that's when you know you've done it right. It should work with the rest of the set, without drawing attention away from the subject, but still contributing to the photograph as a whole. It's easy to think that all bloggers just have perfectly glossy surfaces throughout their home to take photographs on (which I'm sure in some cases is true!) but I normally fake it and buy large sheets of card/patterned paper or sticky back plastic mounted on some card (this is how I get the marble look) It means it's quick, portable and easy to store for those who don't have a designated studio space. Try looking in places like The Range and hardware stores for sticky back plastic. eBay is also a great shout.

3. Find some props

Ebay, again, is a great place to look for props. These are essentially the 'scene setters' and will control the vibe of your photograph. I normally use any home decorative items i can find such as flowers, candles, prints and quotes. These props, like the background, need to compliment the photo and not draw attention away from the subject. They're essentially space fillers.

4. Find an angle

Now the set has been...well, set, it's all about the angles. Is it going to be a flat-lay? Will you be able to photograph the full product this way, or maybe a bottle needs to be standing up. In this case, you don't want to catch your unprepared living room in the background and so might need to reposition against a wall to get a plain backing. I take most of my product photos as flat-lays as I feel it works for most situations and therefore creates a theme running through my photos. I normally also take some close ups of particular products which may at a lower angle to catch more detail and add dimension. 

5. Keep Control of the Aperture

This is where it gets technical...but it's also how your photos can look a million times more professional. If your camera has the option to control aperture then I would definitely recommend playing around with a few settings as it can completely change a photograph. Aperture is confusing, but without going into the science bit, the smaller the number, the less background detail. If you're photographing a subject with a deep background, keep the aperture number low to make anything behind your focus slightly blurry. If you're photographing a flat-lay, it's going to be quite a shallow photo, since all the items are positioned about the same distance from the camera. In this situation, it's a good idea to keep the aperture setting number quite high so you can ensure you capture all the details.

6. Increase the Shutter Speed

If you're playing around with aperture, you'll also need to alter the shutter speed. To get that blurry background we just spoke about, you'll be letting a lot of light into your camera so you can get away with shorter shutter speeds. This is better if you don't have a tripod/need to hold the camera to get the shot as the picture is being taken a lot quicker. However, if you're taking that flat-lay and want to ensure everything is in focus, you'll be restricting the light into your camera meaning you'll need a longer exposure to get a light and bright photograph. For this, you really are going to need some kind of tripod (either shop bought or homemade- as long as it's sturdy!) otherwise you'll get a very shaky shot. If I take a shot and it looks a bit dull and dark, I normally push the shutter speed up one or two settings which lets more light in and makes everything look a lot fresher- just don't loose all the detail!!

7. Look at the whole picture

Whilst I'm taking pictures, I make sure to keep shuffling things around. Move things slightly, change angles, and look at the image as a whole. Have you caught a bit of the carpet in the corner? Or a leg of the tripod? Take lots of shots whilst you have the opportunity as if you've spent so much time setting up and can't even use the pictures, it really is heartbreaking. If you have a lot of 'space' on one side, add another prop to fill it.

8. Perfect your masterpiece

The final opportunity to tweak and erase any mistakes. Whilst editing, I crop out any blank spaces I feel are unnecessary (of where I've missed that tripod leg!) and nearly always brighten the image a little bit more. It's very difficult to establish how light your image is through a camera screen and, even when I've thought it's the brightest it can get, I can normally push it a little more once I've dowloaded the images. 

Do you have any tricks or tips you like to use when taking blog photos?

abi x


  1. Great advice girl! I really want to get my hands on some more props.

    Abigail Alice x

  2. This is really helpful! I'm definitely going to take your advice to make my photos better because at the moment mine aren't that great :/ (except for a couple!)

    Megan /