Before starting my blog, I was held back by the thought that I needed to invest a ton of money into my blog before even thinking about pressing that publish button. With all of the professional photos, fancy cameras and beauty guru makeup palettes all over Instagram, do you blame me?
As a band teacher at an inner-city school, I deal with low-income doubts daily. My students are creative, talented and full of dreams. They don’t need that brand new, $2k violin to make music. They are just as (if not more) powerful with the school-loaned, scuffed violin that has witnessed the 80’s.
Blogging does not have to cost a ton of money. Or any money at all. You do not need an expensive camera to do your photos just. Now, a smartphone camera will not replace a high end camera, but it will do the trick.
Look no further than your own iPhone.
1. Indoor lighting is everything
Unless you have a set of professional camera lighting equipment (which I assume is not the case) you are going to have to rely on some good old fashioned natural lighting.
Natural lighting is tricky. Too much window lighting will make your image look washed out, but not enough lighting won’t do you any good either.
I tend to have the best luck with my north facing window. As specific as that sounds, the sunlight is just on-point with that window! #northfacingwindows
2. Outdoor lighting is everything
Do not stand in the sunniest spot you can find! You will glow in all the wrong ways. That, and I don’t think the shadowy, squinty eye look is what you were going for.
The easiest outdoor lighting is standing in the shade facing the sun. The sun will distribute it’s glorious rays evenly on you and you will own that photo.
Cloudy days killing your bright Instagram aesthetic? Don’t let them! Cloudy days are actually the perfect lighting situation! Think of the clouds as a giant soft box that perfects the sun’s lighting for your photo shoot.
3. HDR on, LIVE off
Your HDR camera setting is your new BFF. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Whatever that means, I wan’t all of it! Basically, your iPhone camera blends the best lighting and shadows into one photo.
Turn LIVE off. Side note, do iPhone live photos remind anyone else of Harry Potter? Was that Apple’s point? Anyways, I find that live photos tend to distort the lighting a bit and kill my battery.
4. Find Solid Background for objects
Unless you are taking an #ootd mirror selfie or feeling the #bosslady vibes in a candid street shot (Starbucks in hand), you are going to want to use a solid background to really optimize your photos!
I literally borrowed one of my fiancé’s math strategy posters (he is also a teacher). Luckily the back was solid white and the corners had hanging holes. Basically, I tied the poster to a dining room chair near my north facing window. (His students will miss out on those specific math strategies, but at least my pics look phenomenal!)
I’m sure there are easier ways of doing this, aka a foam board. I just love to improvise!
5. Mirror Outfit Selfies or No Mirror Outfit Selfies
Go for it! When planning a blog, take the approach of “What would I click on?”
I am constantly pinning cute outfits on Pinterest. More than half of them happen to be mirror selfies! Not all of them have outstanding lighting, but they still look good. They are mirror selfies!
6. Be EXTRA, with PROPS!
If you go on Pinterest (which will be a huge factor in bringing in traffic) you will notice most of the pictures contain props.
“Blueberry Muffin Recipe”. You will see the muffin, the muffin crums, the blueberries that never made it into the muffin and a random few lemon slices just chilling there, because lemons are cool. However, the picture just looks so pin-worthy!
Stage those photos!
7. Edit like a Pro
Don’t feel discouraged if your iPhone pictures aren’t up to par. The final magic happens when you edit. I honestly just use what the iPhone Gods have given me.
Using the camera’s own editing app, I generally just adjust the brilliance, saturation and contrast. Depending on the photo I may even use the Chrome filter. (Chrome cheers any photo up). If the lighting feels to orange and brassy, I adjust the color’s cast until things look more normal.
Really, that’s it!
I hope this helped you feel more confident with your blog photos! I will continue to post anything that I found helpful in my blogging experience. Keep checking back for more!
If you feel that this post was even the slightest bit helpful, please give it a like or even share it to hopefully assist another blogger!