10 tips for better blog pictures
The following ten tips will help you take better blog pictures and let your blog appear even more professional. Maybe you already know one or the other, but maybe you can also learn something new.
1. straighten your pictures
Always straighten your pictures! If your pictures tilt into one direction the viewer automatically will get the impression that it’s not a good picture (although it could be one). But it’s no problem if you didn’t take the picture totally straight – you can easily change that in any picture editing program.
Depending on the perspective it can be a little tricky sometimes. You need to orientate by horizontal and vertical lines, like windows, doors, lanterns and rooftops. Try to get an angle of 90 degrees between these lines and the borders of your picture.
2. pick a smooth background
If you’re going to take pictures, search for a smooth background. If there are too many things in the background, it’s hard to get the focus on your look. The less things that distract the viewer from your look, the better. Use in addition an aperture setting of f/1.8 for example, to get a blurry background.
3. direction of light
Always pay attention from which direction the light comes from. Mostly you’ll get the best result if the light comes (high) head-on. So, whenever it’s possible, photograph with the light, that means from the same direction where the light comes from.
A famous exception are so called contre-jour shots where you photograph against the shining sun. But you need a little practice to get really good contre-jour shots. You can try it out by shadowing the lens with one hand while you’re focusing. Then just take off your hand right before you take the picture.
4. sharp pictures
Only use sharp pictures for your blog! Even if it may be hard sometimes, because you like this one (blurry) picture a lot. But blurry pictures don’t belong here. Dana and me, for example, had a problem with our 50 mm lens some time ago and got a lot of blurry pictures. That had been really frustrating and didn’t look good at all. I’m going to publish a post about „how to get sharp pictures“ soon.
5. no wide-angle
You shouldn’t use an extreme focal length, like a wide-angle or a telephoto lens. The perfect focal length to photograph people is between 50 mm and 80 mm. A lot of bloggers use the Canon 50 mm lens with a crop sensor (factor 1.6) what leads to a 80 mm focal length. Only by using a 50 mm lens with a full format camera you’ll indeed have a 50 mm focal length.
I guess most of you also got a standard lens (for example the 18-55 mm by Canon) that you bought with the camera. Here you can also use an extreme wide-angle (18 mm). A wide-angle skews the picture extremely and in worst case it’ll also skew the proportion of the person in the picture. That’s a thing that never looks good for outfits. By the way, if you take portraits with a wide-angle the person will get a bigger nose.
I guess most of you don’t have and use extreme telephoto lenses. But for the sake of completeness: pictures taken with telephoto lenses seem to be more flat and appear less three-dimensional.
6. hips don’t lie
Take your pictures from hip height. It may not be the most comfortable way for the person taking your pictures, but it’s worth it. If you orientate by the center of the models body and take the picture from that height, the proportions will look the most natural. If you like the legs to appear a little longer, you can also photograph from a little lower.
If you take whole-body shots from eye height instead, the person in your picture will get a little smaller and clinched. So, the legs automatically seem shorter than they actually are. But that doesn’t mean the lower the better. The photographer doesn’t need to lay on the ground, because that mostly leads to a too wide angle to the face of the model. (Attention: the following is for advanced photographers.) The wide angle could become a problem for the focusing. If you focus on the eyes and then move the image section, the sharpness level may change and you might get a lot of blurry pictures in the end.
7. the eye of the beholder
Lead the viewers eyes: lines in pictures can make it easier for viewers to capture the essence of a picture. Maybe you’ll recognize it from the art lessons. The magic word is: vanishing point. Provided that your surrounding offers these kind of lines, make sure the lines run square to your model. Works great!
Same thing holds true for the flow from bright to dark. In ideal case the model is the brightest part of the picture. That’s why vignettes are very popular when it comes to photoshopping. Also works great, if you don’t overdo and just use it subtile.
8. no greeeeeen
As beautiful as the green of nature may be, it mostly doesn’t look good in pictures. I don’t really know why it’s like that, but it doesn’t harmonize very often. Sometimes it can be pretty difficult to avoid green. If you do have a photoshopping tool, you can easily desaturate or redye the green in your picture. I bet you’ll be astonished at how better your picture looks afterwards.
It’s also a good idea in general to make sure that the colors in the background match your look. Of course, sometimes green may work, but mostly it doesn’t. :)
9. beautiful light
Search for good light when you’re going to shoot a look. Depending on daytime and season of year, there’s sometimes more and sometimes less good available light. But if you follow some simple rules, your pictures will almost automatically look great. You can read more in my blogpost: how to get the perfect light for your photo shooting.
10. don’t use the automatic mode
Don’t give a damn about your camera’s automatic mode. Because that won’t bring you beautiful pictures. And if it did, it only happens by accident. The automatic mode only looks for the settings that will lead to a correctly exposed picture – the picture impression doesn’t count.
Your need to learn a little about your cameras most important parameters, like aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Then nobody can fool you. Not even your camera. Just have a look at my blog from time to time – I’m going to publish a lot more basics posts about photography and blogging.
Which tips did your already know? Do you have any other tips for better blog pictures?