I want to help you kickstart your own blog or social media accounts by sharing some blog photography tips that have enabled me to attract brand collaborations with well-known companies including Dunelm, Baylis & Harding, Swan, Talking Tables and Craig & Rose Paints within 18 months of blogging.
Let’s be honest, if being noticed and getting a ‘yes’ from big reputable brands was solely down to social media numbers, I definitely wouldn’t have the portfolio I have today.
Aside from sheer determination, hours and hours of grafting, belief in my abilities and an absolutely undeniable passion and love for what I do, my styling and photography has to be a large part of the reason for brands saying yes to working with me. I’m always getting comments on my beautiful photos and in fact, this theory was confirmed to me recently when a company I could only have dreamed of working with a year ago invited me to join a campaign (top secret – I’ll share soon!), saying ‘I really like your creative and artistic approach. It’s very stylish and sophisticated’.
I use a mixture of my iPhone XS and my Canon 550D depending on the scale of the project. My Canon for the styled shoots and finished products and my iPhone for the DIY processes and posts.
I’m in love with the photography capabilities of the iPhone XS, particularly Portrait Mode where you can choose ‘Natural Light’, ‘Studio Light’ or ‘Contour Light’. The images look like they’ve been taken with an SLR!
When taking images of myself on my own I also use my iPhone because most of the time I’m shooting during a week day when my hubby is at work so I use a wireless bluetooth remote. I position the phone on a stand (I use a makeshift stand but a good phone tripod would work) and connect it to the Bluetooth remote which I hold/hide in my hand to take the images; if you look closely at the Great British Bake Off Showstoppers post you’ll see that I’ve only got one hand in shot! Until my business is big enough to afford a pro photographer, this is a good solution for me.
Rolls of funky wallpaper in your brand style are really handy when taking shots of smaller items to either put underneath or as a backdrop behind.
The only other piece of photography related equipment I have is an extendable photography backdrop stand which I use to hang fabric for party shoots. It has come in handy on so many occasions including our Swan Lake Soiree and it sprays really well too for the ‘exposed’ look, as shown in the Boho Wedding Shoot.
Like most of us, I take most of my images at home and don’t have the luxury of a studio so I tend to use my kitchen for most of my photography because it has lots of windows and good natural daylight. I don’t have professional lighting equipment to enhance the light so this is really important as there’s only so much you can do from an editing perspective without it looking false or impacting on the quality of the image.
I actually bought a light box which came with two lights to photograph small crafts but ended up sending it back because I found better results from turning our kitchen lights up to the max and shooting the items on our matte white dining table.
For those of you in the beauty and fashion niche, I’ve seen sooooo many people recommending the Selfie Light Ring. At a recent launch event I also noticed blogger using it to take photos of their food!
Types of Shots
I take most of my images in portrait as it tends to work better on my blog and also for Pinterest but I always include landscape images too as sometimes this works better for other website styles so this is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning on working with brands. Taking shots slightly further away to take into account having to crop to square images for Instagram is another tip to consider.
Have in mind what you’re going to write and what the focus is to ensure you get all the little details and close up shots as well as broader shots that set the scene.
Another blog photography tip is if I’m photographing for a brand it’s important to ensure their product is well photographed and present. At the same time however, I personally always want the product placement to be subtle and I always try to throw in one of my own DIY projects into the mix to offer another source of inspiration like DIY floral hoops for my Dunelm Pastel Easter Table, DIY vintage car hanging decorations for my Baylis and Harding Festive Boho Bonanza and DIY Ombre Tablecloth for my Modern Afternoon Tea Shoot with Plymouth Tea.
If you’re just starting out and need to create a brand, read how I did it myself here.
I use the PS Express App on my phone which is a smaller version of Adobe Photoshop and has everything I need based on my knowledge and ability when it comes to editing! I love the auto filter and I gravitate to the ‘Spring’ filter for most of my images before editing more specifically using the individual tools such as ‘exposure’, ‘shadows’ and ‘vignette’. Best of all, it’s FREE!
Another place I go for photo editing is Picmonkey. I have upgraded to their Premium package because I’ve found it so incredibly useful for creating artwork such as my Oh So Kel logo and colour palette, business cards and designs for Pinterest pins or Stories. It’s great if you’re not au fait with InDesign.
Saving and Sharing
Choosing Images for Social Media
I try to stick to my brand colours and style identity so I have overall consistency and recognisable content. To get an Instagram profile which looks aesthetically pleasing I use ‘Preview’ to move my images around and help me choose which to use. It’s also great for saving historical images that you may not have used yet but want to ‘bank’ until the right moment.
A lot of people tend to schedule their social media posts but I post organically as I like to wait until I’m inspired to write a caption, share something in particular and I’ve got time to engage with my fellow Instagrammers.
How else can I help?
I’ve been doing this blogging thing for around 18 months now and my has it been a learning curve but so many people have helped me through advice on their own blogs, local networking groups and social media and I hope these blog photography tips can do the same for you.
I’m thinking of maybe writing about collaboration pitches next?
Let me know in the comments below what you think, if you have any tips of your own, or if you’d like me to share anything else.
If you have any questions please feel free to email me and happy snapping!
Until next time,