Aug 1, 2014

Blogging part III: How to take blog photos {behind the scenes}

Today we're talking about how I take pictures for my blog.

How many times have you been whoa-ed by beautiful pictures that keep bringing you back to that same blog just to admire those beautiful photos. I do this all the time, I love blogs that include big pictures that can tell a story, describe a DIY project, and can tell you how to follow a recipe. My blog is a reflection of what I love and because I love pictures that can tell a story, I like to include a lot of pictures in my posts. 

Today I'm going to share a behind the scenes of my picture taking process. Please keep in mind that I'm not a professional photographer, I'm simply just sharing how I take my own blog photos. 

Camera I use 
I use a DSLR Nikon D5100 

Camera lens I use
18 - 55mm Kit lens
55 - 200mm

What I use lenses for
I use the 50mm lens for all my DIY, recipes, some Sunday's Letters post, and other random posts. I use this lens for anything that has to be taken up close. 

I use the kit lens very rarely. This was my go to before I purchased the 50mm lens. If I use this lens it's for when I want to take pictures without a blurry background (Bokeh effect).

I use the 200mm lens for most of my outdoor photos like Sunday's Letters and any other photos that have to be taken from far.

Remote Control I use
Photive remote control for Nikon This remote control has really changed my life. It's so handy when I have to take pictures all by myself and there is no one to help me out. I love that I can set the timer and the remote controls the focus. Having a remote control is helpful even when you want to take portrait pictures and there is no one to take them. A great tool without a doubt.

Tripod I use
Targus TGT-58TR This is another useful and helpful tool. Having a tripod helps in the same ways a remote control works. When I have to take pictures that require for me to use both my hands, a tripod is so helpful because it holds the camera in a perfect position. 

Camera Bag I use
Lowepro Fastpack 100 This doesn't help with taking pictures, but it's a great backpack to hold my camera, lenses, and everything else. I love that it's sturdy yet light and it holds a lot of equipment. Great little backpack for sure!

Why I love this camera
Going with a Nikon was a personal preference. The age-old question of which brand to side with can be a tricky one, so be sure to do your research before you invest in a DSLR camera. 

This is my first entry level  DSLR camera and I love everything about it. For a long time I was very intimidated by this camera and all it's functions and I rarely ever used it. When I decided to use the camera I always used it in auto. One day I discovered manual settings (also very intimidating) and uncovered a whole new world. Long story short, I have become less and less intimidated by manual settings and that's exciting when I take pictures. 

- I love the angle LCD monitor and the way it flips in and out, perfect for overhead shots, self portraits, for viewing and playback.
- I love the video quality although I rarely use this camera for videos.
- Once I got to know the camera it was fairly easy to use.
- I love that I can switch lenses according to the photo shots needed. 
- I love the way pictures come out, this is the most important reason!

What happens when I don't have my big camera and I need to take pictures?
When I'm not taking pictures with my DSLR, I'm taking pictures with my iphone. As we all know DSLR and cell phone pictures don't compare but realistically I don't always carry my big camera. I have to make my iphone pictures look good "blog worthy" thanks to all the amazing photo editing apps, cell phone pictures can look very nice nowadays. 

Here is an example of a sunset picture taken with my iphone, even though the sunset already looks okay, I want more intensity and brightness. 
App used VSCOcam

Other apps I use are Rookie and Moldiv for editing pictures that will eventually make it to my blog posts and social media.

Here are a couple tips for taking cell phone pictures
-Try taking cell pictures during the day (reduces the grainy effect)
- If pictures have to be taken at night try to take them in a well lit area
- Grainy (this one is a tricky one because cell phones pictures will have some grain), blurry, and pixelated cell phone pictures are not attractive.
- It's okay for pictures to have some grain as long as the grain doesn't take a way from the actual object that is being photographed. I'm pretty sure a person can see beyond the grain if the grain aspect is not a distraction.
- If DIY pictures or recipe pictures need to be taken with a cell phone, use a white background and a well lit area. 

The bottom three pictures where taken to show you that great pictures can be taken with a cell phone, the magic is in the light (natural light even better).

picture 1: Taken with natural light in the evening by a window and without editing.

Picture 2: Same picture as the top except this one has been edited with vscocam. See how a little bit of editing will reduce any grain and will make the picture look one hundred times better!

Picture 3: Picture taken at the same time as picture above except this picture was taken in a poor lit area a big NO NO, picture is grainy, poor quality, and not attractive at all!

My setup for taking blog posts pictures (DIY, Recipes, and other posts)
Personally this is the hardest part about taking pictures with my DSLR for the simple reason that I live in a small apartment and my space is very limited. I have had to come up with ways to take good pictures with the space I have. 
My Tips 
- I always try to take my pictures during the day. 
- I take all my pictures by a window in my living room or bedroom (my bedroom tends to get the best natural light).
- I use props such a white foam boards, tri-fold display board, black foam board, wrapping paper, and other props suitable for the project.
- When I take pictures in my kitchen or if I have to take pictures without natural light, I make sure my area is well lit. I will also pull in lamps (best to use white bulbs) and make sure I have enough light. If there is enough light then the editing process will be easier and the final picture will look awesome.
- I use a tripod when I'm using both my hands.
- I use a remote control so I don't have to keep reaching over to take the picture.


Editing software I use
My go to editing software is Photoshop. I absolutely love the infinity of things I can do to a single image in Photoshop. The majority of my editing consists of touching up an image. If you're familiar with Photoshop you know how great it can be. I tend to use a variety of tools such as crop, clone, text, and then I modify brightness, saturation, curves, and other tools. Again, If my pictures have been taken with natural light all touch ups are minimal. When I take pictures without natural light I tend to use all the tools possible.
Quick tip for saving pictures in Photoshop
When I save photos I save them in "save for web" this makes it faster to load on to a hosting service like Photobucket and reduces loading time on my blog, because who likes blogs that take forever to load, not me!
Other free editing software I use  
For a complete list of free software editing programs I use check Part 1: Blogging tools 

Picture above: 
is ready to be edited in Photoshop

Picture below:
After some brightness, curve adjustment, and adding fonts, this is the end result that will eventually make it to a DIY blog post.

Other Tips
- When I take pictures for recipes or DIY projects I make sure to take one or two vertical pictures all other pictures are taken horizontally.
- Pinterest likes vertical pictures
- Pictures for DIY projects and recipes all have to be the same size and look uniformed (makes it easy to follow).
Pictures for all other posts are mostly taken with my iphone and I'm not so crazy about editing and making them look uniformed. 
- When I take pictures with my iphone, I try to make them instagram worthy.
- Pictures that are too grainy or blurry will never make it out of my phone.
- Take advantage of free editing apps to edit phone pictures, it makes a difference!
- Great photos that make posts shine don't need to necessarily be taken with a DSLR camera.
- And if I didn't say it enough take advantage of natural light it's free and can really make a photo shine!!

Have fun taking pictures and experiment in every room and even outside. I hope these tips were helpful one way or another. 

Is there a special way or place where you take blog photos?

Check out my other blogging tips:
Blogging Part I: Blogging tools that changed my life

Blogging Part II: Blogging mistakes that made me a better blogger

Have a great Friday & thanks for stopping by!

 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png Treasure Tromp


  1. This is an wonderful and educational post, Rosy and thank you so much for writing it! I would love to get a new camera for blogging and for my photography business. I love Nikons and am hoping to get a Nikon D3200 for my next one as right now I'm using a Nikon Coolpix L110 and that one doesn't have attachable lenses. It's pretty restricting at times.

    Also I'm so happy that you put tricks about cell phone pictures too. I hate that sometimes my cellphone pictures look so fuzzy and grainy but after reading this, I'll try better with the quality on them as well. Great stuff and I'll be reading more about blogging too on your blog as well. :)

  2. You are welcome Brittney! My hopes with writing about my blog and photo process is to help other wonderful bloggers, we can all learn together! If you get the D3200 you will love it specially for your blog and photography business. Anytime i'm taking pictures with my iphone or other camera I make it a habit to take them in natural light. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. thisgirlloveschicAugust 2, 2014 at 5:07 AM

    this is such a great and useful post doll

    This Girl Loves Chic


  4. These are great tips…!


  5. I seriously just pinned this! I need help when it comes to picture taking for my blog! Great advice/tips. So glad I stumbled across your blog today!

  6. Thanks for all the tips! I will be saving this post for future reference :)

  7. Ashley, I so glad you found this helpful! Thanks for stopping by :)

  8. You're welcome Amanda, I'm glad this was helpful. Thanks for stopping by :)


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