I can’t stress enough the impact good photography can have on your blog. At least in my case, it has helped my blog grow over the last three years and it’s one the things I am most proud of – photography tends to come easier to me than writing. But, it took me years of practice and a lot of patience to finally understand what I was doing and figure out my style – and I’m still learning!
Looking back, I’ve made so many cringe-worthy mistakes along the way, such as overexposing my pictures or not caring about lighting – what was I thinking? But I guess that that’s how you learn. That being said, I am sharing a few of my own mistakes that will hopefully help you improve your blog photography.
You are not paying attention to natural light.
Natural lighting does wonders for your blog photography! I still remember shooting under my bedroom lights wondering why my photos looked so yellow and grainy. Then, I started photographing in front or even near the window and I was impressed with the difference it made.
Sure, you can use flash (please, don’t), fancy lighting equipment or even a bit of editing but nothing beats natural light. It gives a beautiful, natural look to your photos. If you underestimate its importance and don’t pay attention to lighting, you’ll hardly get a great photo.
You are not using manual mode.
One of the best things I ever did for my blog photography was to switch from auto to manual mode on my DSLR. It took me two years into blogging to make the switch but now I can’t imagine going back!
When you shoot in auto, your camera makes all the decisions for you and while that can be helpful, it also means that you’re not making the most of your DSLR. Although it can be overwhelming for beginners, the manual mode has so many wonderful features you can use to create drool-worthy photos.
Think about taking brighter photos or creating that dreamy blurry background. That’s only possible if you’re using the manual mode and changing the camera settings yourself.
You are using the wrong lens.
When I bought my first DSLR, I was so excited to come home and start taking those beautiful photos with a blurry background that every other blogger took. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Guess what, I was using the wrong lens!
The kit lens that comes with a DSLR won’t give you that effect – as you can see in the picture above – because its aperture isn’t wide enough. To create depth of field you either need a prime lens or a fancier zoom lens.
You are not editing your pictures.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re starting a blog so, if you’re anything like me back in 2015, thinking about editing your photos doesn’t even cross your mind. You are still struggling with taking the actual photo, let alone learn how to edit. Now it’s much easier thanks to the cool filters on Instagram but back then it was quite the challenge.
But trust me, with a bit of editing you can transform your photos. You don’t even need to use a fancy editing software such as Lightroom. VSCO, for instance, works just fine.
You are overediting your pictures.
I believe in making sure you get the right photo straight from your camera but I never say no to editing. So much so that it can be hard to stop. Once you discover the magic of editing, you get so caught up in making it “perfect” that you run the risk of overdoing it.
Been there, done that. If you take a look at my photography from when I started Notes from Joana, you’ll notice the grainy, over-exposed photos. Back then, I loved upping the exposure and messing with the white balance so that my photos looked bright and cool – and a little too girly which is not my style anymore.
If you want to up that exposure to create a super bright photo, that’s up to you, I completely respect it if that’s your thing. But keep in mind that your image will lose detail. Less is more.
You are not naming your pictures.
You might be wondering, how the hell is this important? Trust me, it really is.
Have you heard about SEO? If not, it basically stands for search engine optimization. When you give your pictures a proper name, it means that they are optimized for search engines.
For the longest time, all my pictures were named IMG10051, IMG10052, IMG 10053, and so on. The thing is, Google can’t read images, it can only read text. So, people searching on Google Images won’t find the beautiful images from your travel guide unless you provide a descriptive text, such as the name of the blog post or related keywords, + fill in the alt-tag when you upload an image to WordPress.