Blogger U: Photography 101

blogger u headerPhotography is a huge part of blogging. Whether your blog is about fashion, food, travel, or design, great photography is a must.

Being a fashion blogger, I really rely on photography to connect with my readers. Quality photography can really bring your blog to the next level and keep your readers coming back for more. It makes your blog more pleasing to the eye, makes it more likely to get pinned + shared, which drives traffic back to your site.

If you are serious about blogging I would definitely suggest investing in a DSLR camera. Don’t think you have to drop a ton of cash, however. If you have a small budget, you can always find great deals by buying used.

Note: point-and-shoot digital camera bloggers, never fear! Skip below to the “Optimize Those Images” section for tips on improving your photos.

Let’s say you have a DSLR but have no idea how to use it. Some basics:

ISO: The measurement of light coming through the lens.

The lower the ISO, the better quality image you’re going to get. You can use a lower ISO when shooting outdoors with a lot of natural light (avoid direct sunlight, however), since the light hitting the sensor during exposure will result in high quality images.

Note: raising the ISO will increase the sensitivity of the sensor and can result in grainy or “noisy” images. Low ISO when shooting in sunny conditions = great quality images, but high ISO in low light conditions may decrease quality.

Aperture: The setting that controls the amount of blur behind your subject.

To keep things simple: the lower the aperture, the blurrier the background; the higher the aperture, the sharper the background. Although, this is where investing in a good lens goes a long way. On your average lens, the aperture may not go very low (which results in less background blur). With fashion photography, I always suggest an 85mm or 50mm lens, both of which will give you an aperture as low as f/1.4. (resulting in a nice blurred background).

Shutter Speed: How fast the shutter open and closes.

If you are photographing something in motion, it is best to have the shutter speed as fast as possible. We aren’t usually photographing things in motion when shooting for my blog, so I normally adjust this for lighting purposes. The faster the shutter speed, the less light it will bring in (for sunny days); the slower the shutter speed, the more light (darker or inside images).

Optimizing Those Images

Now that we’ve got the basics of a DSLR down, let’s talk about making your images look the best they can be! Note: you can also use these tips with a traditional digital camera.

Get Cloudy.
Shooting on a cloudy day will give you nice, even lighting and less shadows. Shooting in direct sunlight will give you unwanted shadows and brightness– no bueno. If you’re like me and can’t pick or choose your days to shoot, pick a shady location to give you the same effect.

Get Golden.
For those beautiful, glowy photos, shoot during the golden hour (the last hour before the sun goes down). Always shoot with the sun directly behind you to create a glow, even out your skin tone, and avoid shadows.

Get Creative.
Lastly, be creative with your locations! I really feel this gives a photo something extra. While shooting outfit photos, I try to pick locations that will really make the outfit stand out or coordinate with my outfit.

For example, if I’m wearing something boho, I might pick a field or nature-based place to shoot. If I’m dressed up, I might go with a city-based location. Interesting backgrounds can switch up the look and feel of each post, while still staying true to your blog’s style.

I hope this post was useful in tackling the some of the basics of blogging photography. For examples of how I shoot outfits, use light, and play around with scenery in my blog photos, visit Upbeat Soles– and if you have any further questions, be sure to ask in the comments below!


Shannon blogs at Upbeat Soles and is an ambassador for The Blogger Collective.


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