I’m a firm believer in the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Many times, pictures can capture a moment in time that would be impossible to describe as vividly with words.
With my new blog design update, I figured that I need to step up my photography game. I mean, what’s the point of having a fancy new getup that showcases boring, grainy, uninspiring photos? Plus, let’s not forget that the hubs is an actual photog—I have no excuse not to have kickass photos.
So I decided to reach out to some local bloggers whose photos I’ve always admired for advice on how to take good, eye-catching photos. Here’s what they had to say:
“Good light is key! I have a couple places in my house, like in front of the kitchen window, that I know have good indirect light, so I take lots of pics on that counter. Also, with a bunch of kiddos our house is a mess half of the time, but I hate having photo clutter. So I clean up before I take a picture. It’s not just about making it look like I’m cleaner than I am. It’s just that it detracts from the subject of the pic.”
Lisa is also a sports bra magician. She manages to fit everything under the sun in her shirt without it falling or looking like a fool, so I was tickled when she added this tip.
“Oh, and having a waterproof camera phone is a must. Stuff it in your sports bra, and you always have protection (i.e. can call the police/hospital when you need to) AND a camera.”
Jamie from Jamie’s Rabbits—Have you had your daily deep-belly laugh yet? If not, you need to hop on over to Jamie’s blog. We’ve only met a handful of times IRL, but in my head she’s my bestie who makes me cake pops in the shape of running shoes and small animals, and tells me jokes whenever I’m down. Is that wrong? Does that make me creepy? Maybe that’s why she’s only my imaginary friend…
“I have TONS of bad photos. Which is probably my tip. Always take plenty of photos of the subject—different angles, move around the light source, change the camera/phone settings, etc. The image through the viewfinder or the review screen looks right, but then you open it on your computer and the weaknesses of the photo are much more obvious. That’s why it’s always good to have more than one.
“My other tip is to consider the entire photo, not just the subject. We tend to focus so much on the person or object that we often miss out on what’s in the rest of the image. Find a great wall, create your own backdrops with fabric or scrapbook paper, etc. The background should complement the subject, not compete.”
Lynsey Weatherspoon—Lynsey is a pro photog in Birmingham who takes some truly remarkable photos. If you want to see examples of how photos tell stories and evoke emotion, check out her site.
“Stop, compose, THEN shoot: When shooting, the most important part of taking pictures is making sure you stop and evaluate what you’d like to shoot. Your next step is to choose the best angle (trust me, angle is EVERYTHING). After you’ve taken your time to set-up the shot, then point and click.
“Landscape is the way to go: Well, why not vertical? Vertical are made for selfies and they have their use in other places too. But when you’re blogging, turn your camera on its side and create a new vision for your images. Landscape isn’t just for group photos.
“Every image does not deserve a filter: Call me a purist, but if the image comes out the way you want it before you think about adding a creative filter, leave it ALONE. Point blank.
“Just have fun with it: We take photos to remember those fun and exciting times of our lives. The best ones are when you’ve taken the time to live them before capturing an everlasting moment.”
Objectivity Rach (aka Rachel)—She homeschools, she blogs, she judges your ass in your jeans, and she chases sunsets. Every day while I’m stuck at the office, I rely on Rachel to show me the incredible sunset I’m missing outside. She wrote a post with photography tips a few months ago, but had some more to add.
“The new Camera+ update is FANTASTIC—I almost only use “The Lab” now, because you can control your photo editing so well.
“Learn to look for light. Light hitting the trees, light hitting the buildings – light, light, light. It makes all the difference.”
Grass Stains (aka Katherine)—Ok, so I wasn’t completely honest before. I have two imaginary blogging besties. Jamie is one, and Katherine is the other. We were going to have a IRL bestie dinner one night, but I had to bail and ruined my chances forever at being their friend. Katherine has made me cry with laugher before—at work, mind you:
“If you have a zoom lens and you’re taking a picture of a subject in the foreground, stand far back and zoom in with the lens. Don’t stand close and click away with the lens at its standard setting. That puts everything in equal focus. Standing farther away and zooming in gives you the bokeh or fuzzy background effect.”
You Dont Know Zack (aka the Hubs)—I couldn’t forget him now, could I? My favorite photog is magical with both his iPhone and DSLR, and is always willing to give me tips. Or comment on how awful my photo is. Same difference. I love his description on becoming a photographer that he used in this post:
“You get so accustomed to your camera, your style, your settings, etc. that your hands and your eyes start doing the work before your brain even realizes what the situation requires. Just walking down the street you start seeing shit you’d never otherwise pay attention to if you didn’t have your new photographic eye. You start thinking about how you could tell stories with your images. You start seeing things differently, you’re more aware of your surroundings. You start noticing different people and how they live such different lives. You notice the unfamiliar. You notice things so familiar that you realize you’ve never given attention to them before. It grounds you.”
Running Backwards in High Heels (aka Rachel)—I’m not sure where I came across Rachel first, but right away I realized she was awesome. Then I figured out she lived in Alabama. Then she became my Resolute Running teammate. It was meant to be. I asked Rachel to tell me how she came up with the idea to take daily photos of The Reds (her daughters), because they’re adorable.
“What started as a “first day of school” outfit for The Reds just sort of exploded. I am a social media addict and especially have a love of Instagram, so I thought I would take a photo of their outfits for the first week of school. It was like pulling teeth. At the end of the week, they were asking me to take their pictures so I just went with it. The grandparents loved it, and I thought it was a cool way to show how much they change over the course of a school year. What I didn’t count on was capturing their attitudes or days they just weren’t feeling it. Those are some of my favorite. Something that I have learned over the past year was that it doesn’t matter if you have a fancy camera (I do, actually!), but what matters is capturing those moments. So, use what you have. If you have your fancy camera, then great! But everyone has a cell phone that takes pictures. I try to stay consistent with taking the pictures, but I don’t want them all to look the same, especially since they wear uniforms to school anyway. During Christmas, I used the Christmas tree as the backdrop. Sometimes we take them in the car. Sometimes it’s just one redhead. Sometimes it’s Spirit Day or Freestyle Friday. I always try to capture their enthusiasm or lack thereof, because that’s how they are and how I want to look back on my time with them. I try to capture aspects of what’s going on in the moment. Whether we are by the pool, or they’ve gone running with me, or they are in a bad mood. Why always pose for the camera when you can let your personality shine through those moments? The girls love looking at their pictures and remembering what was going on or videos of them just talking about nothing. I transferred those Instagram pictures to gifts this year by having some of them made into magnets and the grandparents loved it!”
I’m going to try to be more conscious of my photo composition and use Zack’s Canon 7D and assorted lenses for any non-candid shots. But no worries—I’ll still be posting ridiculous selfless and awkwardly wonderful shots from my phone.
What do you pay attention to when taking photos for your blog? Are you a picture perfectionist, or do you embrace your hastily-taken photos?