Photography is a deal breaker.
It either wows your visitors and turns them into raving and adoring fans, or, it scares them away, never to return.
Think about it, how often have you stumbled across a random blog with tiny pictures with bad lighting and immediately clicked away?
It's happened to me more than once!
On the other hand, there are many times when I've stumbled across blogs with a very simple design and little content but ended up bookmarking and returning simply because their photos were just so amazing.
Taking the time to create beautiful photos
for your blog or business
makes you stand out from the crowd.
It takes you from amateur to expert in the eyes of your readers.
I've come a long way in terms of photography since I first started my blog, and I really want to share my experience and secrets with all of you.
So today, I'm going to show you how to build your very own photography kit with some peaks at my creative process! Don't worry, there's more to come and I'll get into a lot more detail later on.
I've even been working behind the scenes on something very special which I know for a fact, will be a game changer for a lot of you; my very first e-course, Picture Perfect, a photography course for bloggers!
I'm seriously excited about it. It's going to be jam packed with super actionable content. In the mean time, I made some free stock photos for you guys. Enjoy!
Now that we've gotten that out in the open, let's make you a photography kit!
My must-have photography kit for bloggers:
Camera. This can be anything from your phone's built-in camera, to a point-and-shoot or a DSLR. My suggestion is to start with what you already have and experiment with lighting and composition before making a big investment. I personally started with a cheap point and shoot and now, I use the Canon Rebel t5i most of the time. When I need something more practical, I'll whip out my iPhone.
Desk or table. You have to place your subject somewhere! :) The floor is cool too if that's how you roll.
Backdrops. A backdrop is something you put behind (or sometimes under) your subject in order to add interest to the picture (or in my case, to hide that mess in the background). You can use pretty much anything: a bed sheet, curtains, a magazine, a colorful board, faux fur... the list goes on. My all time favorites are DIY which I will be sharing with you soon!
Props. This is by far my favorite part about blog photography. Props are anything you can use to make your picture prettier. You can buy things if you like, but I usually just search my home for little items I can use. Things like my favorite notebook, a cute pencils, my go-to nail polish, or even the jewelry I'm wearing that day often make it on the list. It's a good idea to be consistent and stay true to your brand in terms of colors and related items. If you're a mechanics blogger, you wouldn't put nail polish in your photos now would you? Have fun with it and experiment!
External Hard Drive. This is practically a go-to for your life. If you told me you didn't have one, I probably wouldn't believe you. I use this hard drive and love it. I keep a backup of everything from blog pictures to important personal documents on 2 different drives! I strongly suggest you do the same. You can never have too many backups.
My nice-to-have photography kit for bloggers:
Artificial lighting.Natural light is the bomb. The end. But, if you're like me, and you don't have access to day light, like, ever, then artificial lighting is your new best friend. There are a lot of options, even some DIYs, but my current favorite are my umbrella lights. They're surprisingly super affordable so you have no excuse to have poorly lit photos! You could also invest in a ring light (especially if you're filming videos - there's even a ring light for iPhones - that's a mini photography kit in your pocket, wooo!) or a soft box. All are awesome options.
Lenses. Although there are lenses available for smart phones, and they do help take better pictures, like this XXXX for example, I don't own one and take pretty enough pictures without. Where I did decide to invest though, was in a prime lens for my DSLR. I use the 50mm f1.4 (there's the 50mm f1.8 which is also very good and a lot cheaper).
Tripod. I don't use my tripod a lot, but they're handy to have if you want to take a picture of yourself or if you're in a very low light situation with no artificial lighting and you want to set the shutter speed on slow mode. They're also fun to have for photo booth sessions at parties! Woot!
Remote. A remote is good to have if you're taking styled shots and you don't want to walk back and forth to your camera after moving a prop half an inch in your frame. You'll save a lot of time and frustration. Plus, you can use it for taking selfies and group pictures that include you. ;)
Reflectors. I don't have any yet, but this will be my next purchase. They're used to reflect light on the shaded side of your subject to balance the lighting. These reflectors are perfect because they're collapsible!
Photo editing software. Technically, if your photos come out perfect from your shoot, you don't need to edit them, but it's always nice to have the option, especially when you can use free ones like getPaint.net. My go-to software is Photoshop which I bought a while back. Nowadays you can get if for a $10/month subscription.
When I first started connecting with other, more experienced bloggers, I always wondered why their pictures looked so nice. What I didn't know was that it's all an illusion, a setup if you will.
Professional bloggers actually plan and style their photos.
It doesn't happen by accident, and it's not because their project and office are super cute and organized (although it could be). Even those pictures of yummy food with a mess of chocolate chips and flour... it's an illusion, the mess was totally planned.
Are you interested in more photography related articles?
What would you like to know?
I've been working on a photography e-course and I'm curious to know what you guys are having trouble with when it comes to taking pictures for your website or your family. Is there anything you'd like me to address?