Have you ever hopped on Instagram and stumbled upon a stunningly captivating photo that made you stop in your tracks? You know the type: it looks like it could be out of a glossy magazine, but it was posted by your next door neighbor, who is not a professional photographer. We work with so many talented storytellers and influencers who produce gorgeous photography as part of their jobs. In some cases, they are professional photographers, but in many cases, they don’t own fancy photo equipment! If you want to take better blog and social media photos, read on for some crowd-sourced photography tips for bloggers that will help you make your pics shine!
The Basics: What Camera Do You Use? Who Is Your Photographer?
We surveyed our network to uncover the most popular instrument for taking blog- and social-worthy photos. 65% reported that they use a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, but if a nice camera isn’t in your budget, your quest for gorgeous photos doesn’t need to end here. Nearly one-third of respondents relied just on their mobile phone cameras!
When it comes to the person behind the camera, an overwhelming majority (91%) of influencers in our survey said they take their own pictures or have someone in their family take them. Occasionally, they will hire a photographer, too (8% said they use a mix of their own photos and professional ones).
The Goods: Equipment to Take Pics to the Next Level
When we asked what types of equipment our influencers use to make their photos stand out, one of the most popular responses was lighting. Ensuring you have the right lighting (whether natural or artificial) – or shadow covers to block out direct light – can make a huge difference in your pictures.
Some influencers employ the help of ring lights (circle-shaped light devices). Others use deflectors, which, as their names imply, can deflect light a certain way. Another basic tool is a diffuser accessory that fits onto the flash of one’s camera to enhance the lighting by scattering the light.
And don’t forget about props and backdrops! Whether it’s a marble slab, food props (think cutting boards or beautiful dishes), rich textiles or nature-inspired props, these “extras” can make all the difference in your pictures from the moment you snap.
For those who solely use their phone to capture photos, consider investing in a lens attachment for your phone and a tripod. The GorillaPod got rave reviews from on-the-go influencers who don’t necessarily want a conventional tripod (it can even wrap around tree branches!).
The Digital: Software + Apps to Enhance Photos Post-Shoot
If you don’t want to invest in lighting hardware, consider an editing app that can enhance light, colors, brightness and a variety of other editing needs. Some of our favorite software and apps include: Adobe Lightroom (plans start at $9.99/month), Afterlight ($2.99) and Snapseed (free). These suggestions just scratch the surface; there are a multitude of software and app options out there for photo editing!
Photography Tips for Bloggers: Advice from the Pros
Finally, we asked for advice our superstar influencers may give to a blogger who is starting out and wants to hone his or her skills. Here are some of our favorite responses:
- “Always use natural light.” – Cristina, Una Colombiana en California
- “Take classes and don’t be afraid of the ‘manual’ setting.” – Jennifer, Double Duty Mommy
- “My dad is a photographer, so I pick his brain a lot, but the best advice he’s given me is: there’s no substitution for practice…get out there and take lots of photos, read everything you can, and the best lighting is the sun at your back.” – Tabitha, Kiss My Glitter
- “LOTS of trial and error! It does not happen overnight and to just take in the entire process. We all have room for growth and improvement!” – Tiffany, Breakfast at Tiffany Marie’s
- “Get a macro lens! And take a class, if possible.” – Jen, My Beauty Bunny
- “Take classes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find a mentor you trust.” – Glenda, The Mommies Reviews