Welcome to 8 weeks To #ImproveYourBlog, week 4.
During this 8 week course, we’ll be focusing on one thing per week. Every Tuesday, they’ll be a new post for you to read, go away and do some tasks that will hopefully enable you to improve your blog.
If you want to see what’s coming up in future posts, then check out the introduction post where I go through each weeks topic.
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The previous weeks:
If you’ve missed the previous two weeks, check them out here:
- Week 1: Check Yourself – an audit of your blog and social media accounts to make sure everything is up to date and ready for the new year.
- Week 2: Learning From Others – analysing other peoples blogs to see how you can improve your own.
- Week 3: Figuring Out What You Want – being clear about your blog goals and what actions you need to take to achieve them.
One thing that comes up OVER AND OVER again in conversations amongst bloggers is how to improve blog photography.
This is something that will improve with experience – once you start to get a feel for the types of photographs you like to see on other peoples blogs, you’ll start to be able to develop your own skills.
The best thing you can do is keep yourself inspired by following and reading blogs who have images you aspire to. Follow Instagram accounts and think about what makes you love these photos and how you can take inspiration from them.
Improve Your Images
I’m going to go over four things here:
- Improving the photos you take
- Editing images
- Making graphics
- Using stock images and where to find them
Improving the photos you take.
The most important think you can do is learn how to use your camera and your cameras settings. I could go on for hours about how to use a DSLR, but I’ll keep this short. The best advice I can give you is learn how to use your camera is familiarise yourself with the following settings that can be found on DSLRs and most compact cameras:
Aperture Priority Mode – Aperture is what you need to adjust to get that blurred background bloggers love – the lower the number, the blurrier the background will be. If you use the aperture priority mode, it means you can adjust the aperture and the camera will adjust the shutter speed and other settings for you.
ISO – ISO is basically the level of sensitivity your camera has to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive your camera is to the light. This basically means that if you are in darker conditions, you can increase the ISO number to compensate – though this does mean the quality of the photo will suffer compared to an ISO of 100 or 200!
Exposure Compensation – this is another way to help your camera compensate from bad lighting conditions. If you adjust the exposure on your camera, remember to change it back to zero when you’re finished!
There are many other settings on your camera, but these are the ones I tend to rely on the most.
You don’t need a posh lens to take nice photos!
Many bloggers swear by the 50mm lens – which is actually a great lens that can great a lovely blur – but the above background was taken using a standard kit lens on these settings:
Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
Shutter Speed: 1/50
You don’t need a posh camera!
Again, you don’t need a posh camera to take great photos. Most compact cameras will have some settings on them so you can take professional looking photos – if not, it should have a macro mode at least!
Camera phones nowadays are fantastic and you can get some decent photos out of your iPhone – the trick is in the lighting, editing and composition!
You want to think about whats in the background of your photos. If you’re taking photos of products on your desk, then be mindful of whats in the background – you don’t want a dirty plate or general mess in the background! Keep it as clear as possible unless you want to include intentional props. I do have a post ideas for props in blog photos.
I’m a big fan of using my phone, iPads or computer in blog photos – it’s a pretty cool way of making your photos yours as you can bring your blog or social media account up on the screen.
In this photo, I’ve used a wallpaper sample that I bought from Amazon for a £1 as the background, some rings and a shabby chick heart decoration.
There are many things you can use – flowers, candles, makeup, magazines, notebooks.. just have fun with it until you find something you love and want to stick with it for a while!
I’m not going to go into too much detail on editing images, I’ve have wrote a full post on it here and I still pretty much use this way of editing photos.
Main things I use are adjusting brightness, contrast and sharpness.
I use Picmonkey to edit my photos – I do subscribe to the premium version so I can get some extra features!
I also have use photoshop for some graphics and images or if I want a more specific effect, but in general Picmonkey is my go to because it’s just quicker.
There are many ways to make graphic – you don’t have to be an expert in photoshop to do so. Some of my favourite tools are the following:
Picmonkey: You can add text, shapes, clipart type images, boarders and all sorts on picmonkey! It’s how I made my header and also how I’ve made printable worksheets in the past.
Canva: This is how I usually make my title graphics – it’s dead easy to use and there are loads of templates you can use. You can edit the text and upload your own images to it to make it personalised. They always look really professional, too and I recommend it over picmonkey for adding text to images.
Easely: Ease.ly is a way to make infograhpics – it’s similar to Canva in that you can use pre-made templates, or you can start a custom one. It’s a great way to share information and figures in a different way than usual!
Piktochart: This is another way of creating various graphics to be used on your blog.
Using Stock Images.
Hopefully most of you know that you can’t just take any old image from the internet. You could get fined if you are caught – because there are so many people who think Google Images is just a library of photos for you to take as and when you want, there are actually people that will scowl the internet looking for photo copyright infringement in order to try and make you pay for using the images – threatening legal action if you don’t pay them a hefty amount. But more on legally using blog images here.
Here are some sites you can get images from that you don’t need to pay for! Though some of these images are used across a few blogs – so you might run the risk of seeing the image on a friends blog!
Hopefully I’ve given you enough here to at least teach you one new thing?
What are you going to do different in your blog photos?
What are your tips?
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