7 Things Blogging Taught Me About Photography

Photography Day

Today’s the day to celebrate the art of photography. It’s the day to honour the ability of photography to tell stories, to connect and inspire people. Today is Photography Day!

I don’t consider myself a big photographer. To be honest, I didn’t even like taking pictures because I was always disappointed with how they looked in the end. I used to leave photography to my friends when on holiday — they’d make better pictures anyway.

And then I started blogging. Suddenly, I was forced to dig my camera out of the depths of my basement. At first, I thought I could simply go with stock photos, but I soon realised that these hardly convey the story of my posts (obviously, because they were not made formy posts). So I started to take my own pictures. At first, they were just as boring as I remembered them to be. Then I started to try new techniques, I read about photography and eventually, my photos turned out to be better and better. So here’s what blogging taught me about photography so far:

7 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY

You need to take MANY pictures. When I started out, I used to place my object on a table, shoot two pictures and then upload them to my computer. However, I was often disappointed to realise I’d shot them from a bad angle and had to start over. Now, I always take at least ten pictures from different angles, with different backgrounds and with different lighting settings. That way, there are always some pictures that turn out the way I wanted.

The background and lighting is crucial. In my small apartment, it’s hard to find suitable backgrounds for my pictures. When in doubt, I always go for my white table because that will make the object stand out (unless it is white, of course). However, I find lighting to be even more important than the background. I’m lucky enough to have large windows, which allow for natural light to enter all day long. I always try to shoot my pictures during the late morning hours because that’s when the sun will shed the best light into my apartment. Do you realise how the messy background of the first image makes it lack perspective?

Messy background

Clean, white background

Editing can turn a dull picture into a beautiful one. If you know how to do it properly, that is. I had no clue about editing whatsoever, but my learning-by-doing process was quite successful. For basic editing like saturation and contrast, I use the standard Mac photo program. Some pictures need more sophisticated tools though, and that’s when I turn to Pixelmator. It’s a powerful, free app for Mac/iOS that offers hundreds of Photoshop-like tools. Further, there are video tutorials for everything, which is really helpful for non-techie people like me.

A post can only be great with a great picture. I started blogging because of the writing aspect to it. In fact, I wasn’t aware about the importance of photography at all. But when it comes to finding readers, a nice photo to advertise your post with is essential for your success. Even for those readers who are on your blog already, a picture might be the key to their staying on your site. And last but not least, pictures help breaking up longer junks of text, which will make reading less strenuous.

The golden ratio makes for amazing shots. A while back, a dear friend of mine told me about the golden ratio. I’d never heard of it before, so I started to do some research on it. It’s a simple concept that tells you to divide your shot into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Ideally, you should place your object where the dividing lines intersect. The difference to placing your object in the middle is stunning! It’s usually enough if you just estimate those spots, but most cameras have an option to show the lines on screen.

Don’t be afraid of props. By definition, props are objects other than the main objects, so they can be chosen at random. I usually go for whatever is at hand that I think will make a specific shot more interesting. Preferably, I use flowers or lovely stationery.

You need to be patient. The main thing blogging taught me about photography is that a good picture takes time. You need to make several shots and invest time in editing. But when you look at your stunning picture, you’ll know that it’s worth it!