Even before I became a photographer, I always took a lot of pictures. Point and shoot, disposable camera, my phone, whatever: I loved being able to capture moments and memories. With that being said, I get asked a lot for tips on how to take better pictures, so much so that I created a workshop for it. It will be a while before I teach a workshop again (though I plan to turn the workbook I created into a digital download since it’s about content creation and not just photography basics), but I still wanted to share a few easy tips that will help anyone improve their photos, especially bloggers who need to create content and may not be able to book a session with their photographers.
Whether you are shooting with your cellphone or you’ve made an investment in a DSLR, these are 4 ways to instantly improve your photos for your blog.
Wipe your lens off
No, seriously, this is the number one thing that you need to do before you take a picture. Not cleaning your lens off before you shoot a photo is one of the reasons why your photos may look blurry or hazy. Keep a cleaning cloth with you or even use the bottom of your shirt, but just wipe it off before you shoot. You will instantly see a difference in how clear your pictures look.
Stop shooting into the Sun
Whenever you are taking pictures, you want to make sure that your light source is behind you, as if someone is shining a light over your shoulder to help you see where to walk. You want your subject, not you, to be well lit, and if you have them pose with their back to the sun, the photo is going to be hazy and look blown out. There are only a handful of times when you can shoot when your subject is backlit (and if you know those then you’re usually well versed in photography anyway), so make sure that you light your subject properly so that your photo is is evenly lit while still maintaining detail. If you feel like where you are currently wanting to shoot doesn’t allow for that, it’s totally ok to put that particular location on hold and shoot somewhere else, lol. Don’t sacrifice the quality of your photo because of poor lighting.
Both of these photos were taken with my iPhone. The lighting was bright and flowed from behind me. I only had to do minimal editing because the lighting was so great.
Step back and shoot lower
Contrary to popular believe, shooting with your camera or phone held higher does not may you look thinner. In actuality, it gives you a bobblehead and makes your body look distorted, lol. Our parents and older family members are notorious for trying to take pictures of people with their phones above their heads, so try not to let that be you. If you need someone to take a picture of you (or you’re taking a photo of someone else), step back, and bring your camera/lens slightly lower-don’t aim it up, just place it lower. This will make your legs appear longer, your body will be in proportion, and you’ll still have some context to your photo. It’s ok to tell someone to step back a little and then just crop the photo in if needed. You want to look long and lean, not short and squat in your pictures.
Have Some Movement
If you find yourself saying “I don’t know what to do with my hands!” and don’t want to put your hands on your hip, then move around. You can slightly swing your hips from side to side, play with your hair, swing your dress, adjust your jacket, or even do a pretend walk (take one step forward and then rock back and repeat. It’s a trick that models use to appear like they are walking in photos). Constant subtle movement is the key to getting pictures that have a little bit of personality to them but don’t look forced.
*Bonus* Use an editing app to perfect your photos
Social media apps have a tendency to compress our photos, so you never want to upload a photo straight out of your camera. The goal is to try to get it right in the camera so that you have less editing to do, but there are always minor touches that you need to do to improve your photos. Brighten, color-correct, boost/lower your highlights and shadows and sharpen your photo before you post. Even if you are someone that uses filters/pre-sets (which there’s nothing wrong with using), you want to do this first so that you get the best photo possible. Snapseed is my fave ap for this, but VSCO still works too. If all else fails, use the built in editing options in Instagram.
There are so many other tips that you can use to help you with your photos, but these are simple ones that anyone can implement no matter what their level or experience is.
Also read: essential equipment for fashion + lifestyle bloggers | everyday blog photography props | must-have props that’ll upgrade your blog photography | what you really need to know to start a blog