Photography Tips for Bloggers

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If there is one thing that bloggers obsess about when it comes to creating content on their blog and social media channels, it is definitely the photos. We live in a very visual era, where we connect more when the visual aspect appeals to us. I mean, even as an educator I know that visuals is a great way to teach my students. Often time, I get the “Can we watch the movie so I can understand?” “Is there a picture so I can see it?” “I don’t understand when you just talk, it needs to be on a powerpoint.” Even when shopping, with all of those clothes on the rack, if it doesn’t look visually appealing from afar, we probably aren’t going to walk over to it. That’s the same with a blog post. If the photo on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest doesn’t catch the eye, the reader may not even click on it to actually get the point to read the content. So, we, as bloggers, must work to improve our photography skills and concepts day-in and day-out.

With these photography tips, you can be on your way to determine which photos you would like to use in the social media platforms that you are planning to focus on and set a goal to improve. And while you are establishing yourself in the space and elevating your brand, you’ll be able to start pitching to brands or creating better pitches.

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{{Photos by Stephanie Vasilidias}}

I will admit that when I first started blogging, I wasn’t taking my photography seriously. I just settled with working with what I had and not looking to improve my skills or study anything involving the camera or editing. But then, a year and a half ago when I decided to start taking this very seriously and it became my true passion, I decided it was time to buckle down and invest a little more into my photography for my blog. And if you’re at the point, that may be why you are reading this post, so I want to share with you some photography tips that will improve the look of your blog.

1. MASTER WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE

The one mistake that I made right from the beginning when I started focusing on my photography was that I invested so much time in searching for a new camera instead of just working with the camera that I already had. In college, my parents gave me a Nikon D3100 for a Christmas gift. And though it’s not a cheap camera, it is not one of the highest performing cameras that we all know of. I had a great prime lens that was purchased a year after receiving the camera. I had taken plenty of pictures with that camera of friends and family for various occasions, but I never used it for myself.

I ignored this camera and began researching all of the cameras that I could purchase. It was completely out of my price range, and though it would have been a great investment, I realized, after doing some extensive research, that amazing photos can be taken without purchasing an expensive, top of the line camera.

There are so many big bloggers out there taking photos with point and shoot cameras as well as with just their phones. They took the technology that they already had and mastered it. And as they mastered it, they began bringing in more income that would allow them to purchase a new camera, if they wanted to, or just keep on doing what they are doing.

The first thing that you need to do is master what you already have. Define your style using the technology already available to you and gain that eye and vision. Through that mastery, you’ll gain your traction without having to make a huge investment right from the beginning.

When followers and brands come to your page, they are looking for your unique style. So that should be the first thing that you are focusing on. It doesn’t matter what type of camera that you have if you’re not standing out among the rest. Show off your voice and personal style, then maybe later you can go and upgrade that camera if need be.

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2. FIND THE PHOTOGRAPHER THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU

When I first started out, my photographer was me and me alone. On days when I felt up to it, I took my camera out and set it on an tripod and the only person that I interacted with was me. For most people, this works. It did for me at the time because I was the only person I was comfortable with in order to take pictures. Plus, it allowed me to figure out my own angles on my own and define my own style without another input. 

It started getting a little harder for me to be the only person operating the camera. Plus, I just got tired of trying to set the focus and then running to a mark that I consciously placed for myself which ended up not being the mark at all. I mean, I still take my own pictures at time for products and selfies, but I will admit that I moved on to finding another photographer.

Now, I have worked with a variety of different photographers, and right now, in this moment, I will admit that my favorite photographer has been Stephanie Vasilidias, who I currently work with right now. She makes me feel comfortable behind the camera and it didn’t take long for us to find a rhythm. We are able to get almost six outfits in during one shoot now because we are so used to each other. Stephanie became my friend more than my photographer and I think that is a relationship that you need to have with the person taking behind the camera. You all need to have a close understanding. And you need that person to tell you that you look a little off or something’s not right with that outfit, pose, look, etc.

I do work with other photographers and typically, I do have an in-depth conversation with the person before I work with them. You can find local photographer and creatives on a site called The H Hub or you can just do a Google search or hashtags search.

When searching for a photographer, my first recommendation is to check out the photographer’s style. Go through their portfolio whether it be on their site or Instagram and see whether it matches the vision that you want for your photos. If it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean that you don’t like the photos, that just means that this person isn’t right for you. Don’t force it.

Also, make sure to ask about their rates. You’ll end up finding a median depending on the area, how established that photographer is, and what they are offering. The more time and photos that the photographer offers, the higher the price will be.

The other option, which I have been going with more now, is teaching a friend, family member or significant other how to operate the camera and direct them through your photos. I have been fortunate enough to have a husband who has taken a lot of interest in my blog and is actually starting to study photographer, so we have invested in a high grade camera so that we can do some photos in house when Stephanie is not available or in the case that we move. With your friend or family member behind the camera, you can teach them and have them take photos that is based on what you want.

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3. INVEST IN YOUR EQUIPMENT

Now, I know I mentioned before that you should work with what you got. And I completely agree with that, but at some point maybe you’re thinking about upgrading your camera. Or maybe you aren’t either way, you need to be prepared with base equipment and then you can go forward. I will admit that I upgraded my camera and have invested some money in my photographer and videography, but these investments were only made recently…and when I mean recently, I mean within these past few months. Either way, I am going to provide you with as many options, and you can take it from there.

If you are at the start and you’re working with the camera that you have, you still want to take some time and invest in some photo editing software. I highly recommend Lightroom. You can download Lightroom to your phone for editing and it comes in the Adobe Creative Suite which also includes other platforms such as Photoshop which is helpful when you’re trying to add text or maybe create a thumbnail for a Youtube video. I use Lightroom for all of my blog photos, and so does my photographer, Stephanie. This photo editing software is a big go-to for almost any blogger and photographer. It is easy to use and gets you to the photo quality that you want.

For video editing, if you are on a MacBook, like me, you can use the free option of iMovie. I used that for many of my beginning videos and then only recently I invested into Final Cut Pro X because I wanted to start doing a little bit more with my videos. Both options are amazing. If you aren’t fully into doing videos, I would just stick with basic platform that is built into your computer before investing into anything too expensive. For non-Apple users, I think Windows Movie Maker is the free option on the PC, and the paid platform that I have used was Wondershare Filmorama.

Other than the software, you’re probably thinking about what types of cameras that you can use if you are interested in upgrading. I’ve listed a few top options below, but I am going to share with you what I currently have in my collection and what I have recently tried and purchased and will be using in the very near future.

Most of my photos that have Stephanie’s tag have been taken with a Nikon. She uses a high-grade Nikon 750 with Sigma Art 35 lens. After the shoot, only a few adjustments need to be made in Lightroom to edit the photo, but not too much.

Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.

– David Alan Harvey

 

For travel posts, that I create, and videos for Youtube, I use the Sony a5100 with a 15-60mm or 55-210mm lens depending on what I am shooting. This camera is very compact so it is great for traveling and catching vlog moments. It also works well for #ootd pictures because it has wifi capabilities so I can zip the photo over to my camera in a few seconds, do some quick edits, and then post it to my phone if I really wanted to. Most of the time I just take those photos with my phone, but it depends on the moment.

Hubby and I are moving away from my original Nikon and have gone and made the purchase to buy the Sony Alpha 7 III. When we were originally shopping for a new camera, we were leaning towards the Canon 5D Mark IV, but were told that the Sony has much better capabilities and there have been a lot of positive reviews about the camera. The camera is so popular that it is actually sold out everywhere, and we have been on a waitlist to have it shipped to us for about a month now. With our new Sony, we will be using a 24-105mm lens. Though we haven’t gotten the camera yet, we did try it. There’s a local shop in the area we live that has allowed us to rent camera equipment and we have tried both the Canon and the Sony, and we are loving the Sony so much more. I highly recommend going to Sony because it has more capabilities and it is a whole lot lighter and easy to transport.

For a blogger who also likes to travel and still wants to take those high quality photos everywhere that she goes without carrying a bulky camera around, the Sony is a must. Less bulky. Shoots absolutely tremendous photos. Easier to operate. My opinion, it’s better than Canon. But that’s just me. I am Nikon and Sony all the way.

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