Blog Photography - My Journey & Tips

Kiko Eyeshadow, Asos Watch, Zara Scarf, Zoella Blissful Mistful Body Mist
On the 1st September 2013 I pressed publish on my first ever blog post. That´s so crazy to see written out! Obviously, my blog has been on a big journey ever since that first post. I have evolved, my design has changed multiple times, I´ve found my style of writing and most of all, my photography has gotten so much better (if I may say so myself). Because I always feel so inspired when reading how much other´s have improved in some part of their life I thought I´d share my journey with blog photography. I´ve also added a few helpful tips I wish someone had told me earlier.

My Journey

In 2013 I started off taking pictures with my iPad or phone. I took photos whenever, wherever. I didn´t know that lighting was an important factor and I didn´t care about shadows or probs. I even published a lot of posts without any pictures in them. Some outfits posts which I took outside already look pretty okay though. Same goes for any travel or lifestyle pictures taken outside.

2014 definitely marks the year of the most improvement in my blog photography. I slowly learned what product photography was, understood that lighting was a thing to look out for and started editing my pictures a bit. I first rediscovered our old family digital camera which immediately improved the quality of my pictures (because 2013 phones didn´t have good cameras!). It also made me feel more adventurous about photography and it made the whole process more fun. I then got my beloved Nikon D5200 wich I still use for all of my blog photography. It definitely allows me to play around more with the shot. I think a lot of inspiration for this development came from discovering other blogs and looking at their photography as well as interacting with other bloggers. Plus, I just took my camera out with me a lot and experimented with shots and settings. With that I also got a lot more practice. During autumn I also fell in love with using nature as a background and prob for my photography.

Photos from Following Lisa in 2013

From then on my photography was quite constant. Some of it is definitely due to the fact that I took breaks from blogging in 2015 and 2016. I did gain more knowledge about editing though and therefore my photography as a whole looks a lot better. I also got even more creative and started having a slight idea of what I wanted a certain shot to look like before taking the pictures. Also within 2015 I finally started using real props for my photography to make them look more interesting.

Around autumn 2016 I fell more and more in love with flatlays. First I took them outside on interesting backgrounds and later inside. I also found the perfect photography spot on my desk in December which has good lighting & is a perfect white background. And then I started getting adventurous again, adding scarfs and blouses for patterns and using props. Again, this was sparked by seeing pictures like this around.

And woosh, we´re in 2017. Right now I love those half white, half patterned backgrounds. I always shoot next to a window and always add a bit of pink and rose gold into my shots. Most of them are flatlays taken from a different angle. I´ve found my style of editing now. I also don´t feature close ups of every product anymore. This is very likely a phase of a certain photography style that´ll evolve in a year or two into something different. But I´m excited for it. Changing your style and learning new things is always good and brings you further.

Photos from Following Lisa in 2014

5 Photography Tips For You

A lot of what I learned came from experimenting with my own camera but I also found some tips on the internet to be super helpful. Especially other bloggers can share a few secrets with you that will immediately give your photography a big boost. Sometimes you just need someone to nudge you in the right direction. So here are 5 (+ a bonus) tips that I wish someone would´ve told me earlier.

Experiment & Be Inspired

This seems so obvious but look around what you´ve got to work with, just grab your camera and take shots all around. Maybe one angle or spot will finally pop. That also still goes if you´ve found your spot. Never just take pictures from one angle, maybe you´ll find a surprisingly amazing angle for a certain post. Also look at other blogs and find photography that inspires you. Try to take elements from those and work them into your own pictures. That´s how I learned a lot.

Brightness Can Be Added Later

I wish someone would´ve told me that there are some extra tools in editing. I really like having bright photos on my blog and there´s a really handy tool for that. It´s called Dodge and will only brighten up the spots in a picture that you want it to. This is very important as certain elements can be overexposed if you just adjust the overall brightness. Since my pictures are taken near a window and one side is darker I always dodge them!

Photos from Following Lisa in 2015

DIY Your Background

Any hardware store sells shelfs in different colours and they make a fabulous base for your photography. You can have them cut so that they are easy to store and put up again. An extra bonus are patterned foils which you can put on those shelfs. No need to own an expensive marble countertop for a background. When I´m not near my white desk, I always use white shelfs as my basic background and then add blouses or scarfs for texture and patterns.

Choose The Right Props

Props can sometimes make or break a picture for me. Your personal choice of props definitely depends on your style of photography and the kind of post you do. I really like to stroll through Primarks homeware and stationary sections as well as Ikea for great probs. Also the stationary at TK Maxx is often way too pretty to resist. I also find that jewelry, fairy lights and fresh flowers are great props and if you´re a makeup lover you probably have some gorgeous makeup in your house already. And then it´s off to experimenting agin.

Photos from Following Lisa in 2016

Get To Know Your Equipment

While a lot of photography skills are down to experimenting and finding your way around it´s super helpful to know what you´re working with. Whether you have a DSLR or your phone, try to learn everything you can do with them. If you want to invest a bit of money into your photography a tripod can also work wonders. That way you can always have a steady "hand" and use low ISO and high shutter speed. Also I´ve recently tried out connecting my camera to a laptop for taking shots (tethering) which already seems super helpful. I´m not going to explain camera settings or tethering to you now because I´m certainly no expert at either but you can definitely find a lot of info on both on the internet.

Bonus: Make Yourself Happy

It´s nice to be told that you're pictures are super pretty but that really shouldn´t be your motivation behind this. Try to take the pictures that make you happy. Chances are they´ll fit your blog perfectly and therefore your readers will love them. If you enjoy your photography, your readers will too and you´ll definitely feel more inspired and creative with it.

Photos from Following Lisa in 2017

At the end I just want to say that blog photography is not about having expensive equipment or owning a full-on photo studio. You can make do with only a phone and a bit of natural light and get amazing, high quality pictures, believe me. It´s nice to have extra equipment but it´s not worth investing the money if your heart is not in it yet. While getting a new camera was a big part of my development you have to remember that that was almost four years ago and phones didn´t have that kind of camera quality then. Nowadays I just take my camera over my phone because I love experimenting with the many options my camera gives me. This is mainly because I love photography as a whole and also take a lot of shots that are not for my blog. The biggest part for my development definitely were other bloggers, experimenting and most of all practice. Those are honestly what it comes down to. After all, practice does make perfect.

What´s your favourite prop for blog photography? Do you think your photography has evolved?

7 comments

  1. My photography has definitely evolved, I cannot even look at my first photos and I had to publish them haha! But even now I find it difficult to take good photos some days, especially when the weather is dull and cloudy and since I take most of my photos outside, it can be a little frustrating.

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

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    1. Haha, same! It was so embarrassing looking back at them & just being like "did I really put that up on my blog?! How bad!". Oh, it´s so difficult in winter. I´m glad I found one spot in my room where I can take a decent picture & then I just have to go for the exact hour where it´s light enough outside to shoot. But we all manage our way around it, don´t we?
      xx Lisa

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  2. This was such a brilliant post to read and I've found it really useful reading through your advice so thanks! You can really see the evolution of your photography and its really interesting to see :) I'd like to think I've evolved (and hopefully for the better!) but I'd love to find more time to experiment more with taking photographs and editing to improve the images I take and I need to invest in some cute props for my photos. I'd especially like to learn how to take flat lays though for sure! :)
    Thanks for sharing!

    VioletDaffodils
    xx

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  3. Really loved this post, you've come such a long way! I'd love to do something similar like this myself as it's really fun to look back. Great tips too - I always forget about the dodge tool.

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  4. Such a good read, I definitely think you learn a lot by doing. Your photography always stands out to me and it is lovely to see how much you have improved and learnt over time. Great post, I hope to be able to tell a similar tale a few years down the line, thank you for sharing xxx

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

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  5. Brilliant to see how you and your blog have evolved. I am certainly looking at evolving my photography and will be lucky enough to collaborate with a photography student shortly who is looking to expend her portfolio so a win win.

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  6. oh wow your photography has changed so much! I haven't heard of Dodge before but I will give it a go.. I always brighten my photos

    Ronnie
    www.veronicabizzarri.com
    xx

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If you enjoyed my little ramble, why don´t you leave me a comment with your thoughts on it? Every little comment makes me really happy and I will try to reply to all of you.