Taking better photos is one thing, taking better blog photos is another.
You can take a technically great, or artistically wonderful photograph, but if it doesn’t catch the eye of a reader as they surf past your blog, it’s not a good blog photograph.
Hi everyone! I am thrilled to introduce the very first guest poster on DYOB: Emma Davies, a wonderfully talented photographer and blogger. In fact, Emma runs three photography blogs, all with incredibly valuable information even for us non-photographers. All photos in this post belong to Emma Davies, except for the title photo which is from unsplash.com.
This is also part of the Photography for your Blog series here on DYOB.
What’s Different About Blog Photos?
A blog photo has to earn its space on the page. In the split second your reader decides whether or not to stay on your page, it has to draw that reader in and persuade them to sit down and read what you have to say. It has to be eye catching.
How to Make Your Photo Eye Catching
The good news is, you don’t need lots of kit to make a great, eye catching blog photo. Most of these ideas can be put into action today, with whatever camera you already have, even a phone camera.
Try these tips one at a time, you don’t need to do them all in one photo. Don’t forget, you are just trying to make your photo stand out from the crowd, and pique your reader’s curiosity enough to let your words take over.
Just have one idea per photo, with lots of space for the subject to breathe. Blogs can be cluttered, messy places with lots of sidebar junk and ads. Make your post stand out with a clean, simple photo introducing your topic. Watch your background and make sure it isn’t competing or detracting from your photo.
Using bright, indirect daylight as the only light source is the easiest way instantly to improve your photos. Readers are put off by dark, badly lit photos taken in the evening and harshly lit by indoor lights. Conversely they are drawn to bright, airy photos which look more professional, cheerful and attractive. Save your photos up for the weekend if you find yourself always writing posts in the evening.
There is nothing wrong with filters and Photoshop* actions. Don’t listen to the photo snobs – they are fun, and make it easy to spice up a dull photo. However – try to keep your photos consistent with your blog’s design. Vintage Instagram filters might not be the best fit if you write a minimalist contemporary food blog, so reassure your readers that you know what you’re doing by keeping a consistent feel to your photos. They will trust you more, and come back to read what you have to say next time you publish a post. (Go wild on Twitter and Instagram if you need a creative outlet.)
This is where you draw your reader in. Compose your photograph to make it intriguing, leave a question unanswered, set the scene or introduce your subject. A picture really can speak 1,000 words, but this is a skill that doesn’t come overnight. Have a look on Pinterest for inspiration, and practise putting your ideas into photos.
5. MAKE IT SHAREABLE
Put a quote on it. At the moment people love Pinning, Liking and sharing quotes. Use picmonkey.com or canva.com to overlay your quote easily on a suitably atmospheric photo. Get in the habit of taking photos that you can overlay quotes on whenever you are out and about – sunsets, landscapes, beaches and urban grunge can all carry a philosophical quote well.
What’s stopping you from taking better blog photos? What’s your favourite thing to photograph for your blog? What’s your best photo tip? Please share in the comments!
You can find her on Twitter: @LovingOurPics. Join her on Thursdays where she hosts #BlogPhotoChat at 4pm EST (2pm MST, 1pm PST, 9pm GMT, 8am Friday Australia).
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Emma – some awesome insights here for a novice like me! The thing I love most about photos is using filters and things like picmonkey to adapt them. Why not take advantage of technology, eh?!
Couldn’t agree with you more Razwana. I love to play too.
Thanks Razwana, glad you enjoyed the post.
Great tips! I have been thinking I need to take a photography course. I love to shoot a lot of photos when we travel, but I can never quite get the light right. I need to find the setting on my camera that lightens up the natural light. I am also going to work on the consistency thing. 🙂
Sme wonderful advice! Thanks for putting it so clearly.
I really like the idea of “making it shareable” with a quote. The HD lens on my iPhone takes great photos and last summer I started to use an app called “Over” that lets you put words on your photos right on your iPhone. Easy and really cool.
Most newer themes I see are heavy on the images and using your own photos is really important.
That is an interesting “Pin It” pop up… is that a widget?
Hi Doug. I really like the quote images too. I have a mostly written post coming out soon on the subject as a matter of fact.
The pin it button is from the jQuery Pin it plugin.
I LOVE the “Pin It” thing that comes up. I need to get that. Thanks for the info.
I really want to work on my Pinterest presence. I want to figure out how to use such a visual social media outlet more efficiently.
I’m trying to figure out what camera I should invest in. I like the idea of using a camera phone because of the ease of uploading, posting, and portability (I take many photos while students are working) but I’m also worried that it wont be good enough as I grow my blog.
Hi Audrey, I think you should start out with your phone in the beginning until you’ve gotten the hang of both blogging and taking photos. I usually don’t recommend investing too much into equipment when you have a brand new business. 🙂
Oh and I have a tutorial for the Pin it button too, if you want to check it out: http://designyourownblog.com/tutorial-showcase-add-a-custom-pin-it-button-to-your-blog/
Emma – wonderful tips! I’ve been working on mastering my camera’s manual mode while using natural light and it’s really improved my photographs! I also love the “make it shareable” photo. Did you purposely choose this composition with the intent of adding text? I always feel like I take pictures and never have a good “text area”! 😛
Thanks for the great tips!
Hi Amelia, I didn’t take this photo with the text in mind, but I do often leave lots if negative space round my subject to give it space to breathe. I also will take a selection of compositions of the same subject so there’s usually one that would work. Since I started adding text I have been building a collection of sea/sky photos – they are perfect.
Nice tips to make our blog posts simple, lickable, likeable, sharable and memorable!
I love the photos you used above. They sure attract instantly. I read somewhere that photos/visuals can work 60,000 faster than words.
I don’t have a good camera, just the one on this old Nokia smartphone. It’s a 3.2 MP one. Have mostly used photos from flickr for my blog posts, but I did take some photos with the phone camera. I can use those and add the text/quotes.
Canva is nice, I’ve tried it a few months ago to make a birthday card. Thanks for all the tips.
Hi Raspal, thanks for commenting today! Canva is very useful and PicMonkey is another great option too!
Thank you Raspal.
After a bit of a blogging lull, this is just the post I needed to inspire me!
You have no idea how happy that makes me Kylie! I’m sure Emma will be incredibly pleased!
That is great news. Please share your latest post when you have finished it. We love to inspire, thanks for sharing this.
This post is just what I needed! I’ve been trying to improve my photo’s and even though I use picmonkey & canva, I still feel they aren’t “catching” the eye to bring readers in. I will try your tips! Thank you!
Excellent Sue! Emma ha some amazing tutorials on photography at her website too including a free course, so be sure to check her out!