Hello – I am thrilled to guest post on Mummy Alarm today.
I know the obvious choice of post related to photography would be around the festive delights we are all surrounded by, but then that may only be useful for a few days this year!
I don’t think any of your readers will care if your photos over the festive period are a little blurry, captured on a mobile phone or taken in the moment, rather than carefully composed – it’s Christmas!! The time to be merry!
But I hope these hints and tips may help you or inspire your blog photography in the new year. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a DSLR but shoot on Auto. Let your natural photography style evolve, and if along the way you decide to learn how to shoot on Manual great. And if not – who cares! Just enjoy. For me, photography is about visually documenting a moment in time and I don’t mind how you document it, I just want to get you excited about doing it behind a lens!
I feel surgically attached to my camera. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but sometimes I can be so busy trying to capture a moment, I miss enjoying the actual moment. My blog has become my living photography cv, so I adore being able to use a DSLR to snap every day moments, even if I look like a tourist on a bus or a train!
These are some general tips rather than technical pointers. We can do that another time
Keeping up with a regular blog schedule is demanding! I see lots of bloggers openly discussing their times of writer’s block, but when you have a bank of photos, you always have blog material.
When life gets super busy and I am struggling to create, photograph, edit and write up a time consuming craft or recipe idea, I will always post a “week in pictures”. They don’t have to be the most incredible photos, the reason your readers come back again and again is because they are falling in love with you. So let them into your life! I guarantee in one week you will have snapped enough photos on your phone for 3 posts, so share your favourites. I put mine in a collage so if they are a little out of focus it’s less obvious.
Perfect your Presentation
This is so simple but it can make a huge difference. Make sure your photos align with one and other. So if you upload portrait and landscape pictures in the same post, make sure they are the same width.
I see so many wonderful photos, but the impact of them is lost as they are really small. There is an option on your phone to send high quality images – so use it!
Mix things up too. I love that I’ve built up a base of loyal readers but I don’t want them to get bored. My style is in my photographs but it doesn’t have to be in the way I present them.
I use all sorts of free collage apps including my favourite PicFrame, and I use Photoshop to create vertical collages. If you feel in a blog rut – change it up!
PS.: Whilst we are on presentation, if you want your content to be more likely to be shared on mediums like Pinterest, post a portrait photo. The majority of users read their feeds on their mobile phones in a portrait way, so your landscape or square photos are more likely to get lost! I will always annotate one portrait photo for a craft or recipe post and those are the ones that are repined more widely. I also post a lot of picture like this…. which has become one of my signature style photos. Thanks to Sammy, what a helpful assistant!
Use the light!
Look around your house and find the light.
I try and take almost all my photos in the garden, and best of all, on a nice overcast day when the natural light is even. This photo was taken in the Summer on the garden table, in the shade. An equal amount of light was cast over the subject resulting in a perfectly balanced shot. I boosted the colours slightly and sharpened the image, just a touch.
In our home, the bedroom windows cast a lovely soft light on the floor and if I use a white piece of card on the opposite side to the window, I can create an even light on the floor. You can buy a £10 reflector on the internet but that’s as fancy as I get. I am not a fan of harsh studio lighting! If you are taking a picture of your little one, pop them next to the window!
But remember if you take your photos in the garden, stay out of the sunlight. Sun rays can create hard shadows, so go into the shade.
Edit, edit edit!
I would guarantee that all of the top photography bloggers edit their photos. And I think there is nothing wrong with that. Some use the same editing steps and workflows, which for example, gives their photos a distinct colour saturation or contrast, and there are times when it’s almost impossible to see how they have managed to get their photos to have that extra special something. There are some amazing filter apps you can download for free or buy. I use a set of Photoshop actions which make subtle changes to my raw image. No blanket “vintage” effect but minute changes that have been carefully created to enhance your photographs at the click of a button. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to use them!
Winter mid afternoon lighting can be tricky, but with a few simple corrections this photo was transformed! Adjusting the white balance, boosting the exposure and colour saturation made this a perfect Christmas photo.
Take those extra few minutes and give them a little tweak here and there. You will notice a huge difference. I look back at some of my early posts and cringe! And I am sure I am not the only one! Bad lighting, lazy file names and captions and not making more use of the camera’s image processing settings available. It only takes a second to hit the auto enhance on your phone and how many of us own a lovely camera, but have never sat down and fully read the manual?
Consider your Composition
I find there is nothing more more wonderful than arranging props and dreaming up new backdrop ideas for my blog photography! I love telling stories through my photos and using flowers to add interest and depth. I use all sorts of backdrops from straw, to napkins, wallpaper to my Granny’s faux fur coat!
Collecting props has now become second nature, I can’t resist an old pewter jug (ooh that would be fab for a series of soup posts in the Autumn) in a charity shop and I have jars full of crafting supplies, that one day I will get round to using!
If you use a DSLR, using your phone to take a quick photo is a great way to critique your composition before you start snapping away. I like posting lots of photos, especially when I have gone to great lengths to make something. I am all for showing off your creations but take the photos from different angles, use different props, show the stages of the DIY tutorial. Try and avoid posting the exact same picture 15 times! Before and after shots are helpful, as is ingredient shots. I recently posted a simple festive ice cube idea and annotated a photo of the ingredients. I laid them all on an old baking tray and used the space in between for the words. Simple but really effective.
I hope these have been helpful, please leave a comment if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them.
And if any of Mummy Alarm’s readers voted for me in the 2013 MAD Blog Best Photography category, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Merry Christmas everyone and thank you Carolin, what an honour.
Day 23 of the Blogger Advent Calendar was brought to you by Lucy from Capture by Lucy. Lucy sees her blog as her creative escape and uses it to feature her daily life, special occasions, favourite things and happy family times. She’s also in the middle of moving home right now, so I just want to say a massive thank you to her for taking the time to write this fabulous post for you guys. Have a merry Christmas, Lucy and family x