Amazing photography can add a ton of value and interest to an otherwise average blog post, or blog. Imagine: you visit a blog with only text and the occasional tacky stock photo from Google (do NOT do this), or you visit a blog with amazingly clear, crisp, and on brand photography.
We both know which blog you would stay on longer, right?
Visuals are so important in the online world - especially for bloggers that use a text heavy medium. And with such a saturated market, bloggers are looking for any way they can stand out in the crowd. One extremely effective way of doing this is to tighten up your graphics and have amazing, on-brand visuals.
Sometimes this can be hard to achieve with stock photos. You either find a mish-mash of pictures from different sites, or you find one blogger who does such amazing pics you want to use them on everything! And these are fine options, especially if you can find a blogger with a photography vibe that really meshes with your own brand.
However, if you really want to grow a unique brand and make your blog stand out, then taking your own blog photography to the next level is a sure-fire way to do that.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to take awesome photos all by yourself, even beginners can do it! To start off, you’ll just want to know three simple words let will help you understand photography as a whole and start taking awesome photos: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
When you’re shooting with a DSLR, or any kind of camera that has a manual setting, there are two main things you can change: how much light gets let in, and for how long.
Now I know this might sound confusing right off the bat, so let’s try to think of a camera as a human eye.
A human eye can be open and shut (blinking) and it can also squint, or open really wide (like you’re surprised). Imagine aperture as being squinty or wide-eyed, and shutter speed as blinking or not blinking (and how fast that is).
If aperture is how wide you open your eyes, in camera terms, this means how open the exposure is. We use numbers to measure how wide an aperture is.
Low numbers express a very wide aperture, while high numbers express a very small aperture. (I know, this is kind of backwards, but you’ll get used to it.) Aperture measurements are in “f stops,” and can range from 1.4 to 22 (and sometimes further).
So how do you use this when taking pictures?
The darker the setting, the lower the aperture you need. If it’s really bright outside, you don’t need to have a high aperture, because there is already so much light. If you’re indoors, in a darker room, a lower aperture will help make the photo look brighter.
Pro Tip: If you want to achieve that ethereal blurry background, go for a lower aperture.
For more awesome pro tips about taking stunning photography, (and achieving the perfect flat lay) check out my free email course: Blog Photography on a Budget!
2. Shutter Speed
If aperture is how wide the camera’s “eye,” is open, then shutter speed is how fast the eye blinks. Shutter speeds can be anywhere from 1/1000 of a second to 30 seconds.
So how do you use this when taking pictures?
If it’s really bright out, you can use a super fast shutter speed, because even though the camera will only be taking in light for a very short time, there will be enough light in the environment that enough gets in anyway. If it’s darker, you can try a slower shutter speed. Just remember that the slower the shutter speed, if you move, or the subject moves, the photo will become blurry.
ISO is the third important camera term to learn, though you probably won’t need to adjust it as often. Basically, ISO refers to how sensitive the camera is to light; it’s sort of light a secondary aperture. If we continue the eye metaphor, you can imagine that some people have different sensitivities to light. For example, someone who was a migraine will be far more sensitive to light than someone without one. So, even if they both have their eyes very wide (the same aperture), and blink at the exact same speed (the same shutter speed), the person with the migraine would have a higher ISO, or sensitivity to light, making their image of the world a little bit brighter.
Under normal shooting conditions, you would probably keep your ISO the same. But sometimes upping the ISO can help to combat darkness that the aperture can’t adequately compensate for.
Pro Tip: Be careful not to set the ISO too high, or else you will end up with “noisey” photos.
So, those are the basics of blog photography. With this knowledge in tow, you’re ready to get out there and take some stunning photos! If you’re looking for more information on blog photography and want to get all the details on things like lighting, staging and styling and taking the prettiest flat lays ever, then check out my free email course, Blog Photography on a Budget, which teaches beginners how to take stunning pics with only their iPhones and a few simple tips. Even if you’re using a DSLR, these tips will definitely take your photography game up a notch. You can get instant access to that FREE course by clicking here!
» Article by: Katie Stickly
Katie is all about enabling bloggers to make their ideas and inspiration come to life by teaching actionable tech tips that are relevant & uber useful for creatives. You can find her on her blog, The Passion Pixel, or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.