I by no means consider myself an expert blogger or photographer, but I have been blogging by taking my own photos for almost five years now, so I like to think that I have somewhat of an idea on how this thing is done. ;-) Here are some tips that I have from what I've learned over the past five-ish years:
Tip #1: Have the proper equipment
Here's the essentials you need for taking your own photos--a camera (doesn't need to be a DSLR, but you seriously will get better photos with one), a remote for your camera (I've done the self-timer thing too but the remote is way better--if for nothing else than the focusing issue), a tripod (invest in a good one, I've gone through about three of them and they get their wear after a while trust me) and a camera bag with all of the "in case of" extras (batteries, SD cards, lenses, an extra remote--I've pocketed mine a couple of times, etc.).
Tip #2: Time of Day
I know. I didn't always get to chose the time of day I took my photos either and that was challenging. But the best time of day to go is about an hour or two before sunset. In the photogrpahy/blogging world this is called "the golden hour". That is because the natural light is so perfect at that time it is hard to get bad pictures. The WORST time to take your photos is probably between 11 and 2--which is when I almost always had to take my photos. The sun is highest point in the sky and the lighting is horrible.
Tip #3: Lighting
And speaking of lighting, you sometimes have to make it work for you. The three below photos were taken at the same location, at the same time in the day. You will see that they vary greatly. The far left was taken with the sun shining on my face, the second was backed into the shadows just a bit and the third was in the shadows with my back facing the sun--which is the best way to stand for your photos usually. Shadows can be tricky but they can also be your friend depending on the time of day you take your photos.
Tip #4: Be adventurous and creative
I know for sure how annoying and intimidating it can be to take your photos by yourself out in public. It is really awkward. But trust me--outdoor photos with a really cool and pretty background far exceed any that you will take in other settings. Mix it up! Keep your eyes open for cool backdrops. I know I've talked a lot on here about weird people I encounter but honestly it's not the norm. Most people will just be on their own way and not mess with you. Try different places and also try different poses! Have fun with it! It will show in your photos.
Tip #5: Learn your camera
I shot in AV mode for most of my blogging because I could not figure out shutter speed. This alone taught me a lot about how my camera functioned. Over the past year or so I've ventured into manual mode only. Self-teaching and experimentation is the best way to learn your camera and you will be much more apt to get better photos because of it! Learn what each function does (there are so many tutorials on this on the web I'm not going to link any because I trust you are able enough to find one that works best for you yourself) and when to use them. And then, most important of all--try them out!
Tip #6: Take your time
My worst photos are the ones where I'm rushed. Eventually I promise that you will be good enough to get them done lickety split but if you have the time, take it. Try new places or poses and give yourself enough time to fidget with your camera.
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