Photography Tips | What If You Don’t Prefer Graphics?
Who said you had to have graphics to have a cute blog? While my lovely co-host Kat has a super cute and beautiful blog with the most adorable graphics (don’t forget to check out her BLOGIFUL posts right >>HERE<<), I, on the other hand, have preferred to use mostly photos for my imagery. Personally, I think it works great and it works for me. It keeps things interesting and not as completely uniform or synonymous and I also like that I can incorporate my bookstagram photos into my blog too.
If you would prefer to use photography rather than graphics, here are a few tips for you!
Lighting is KEY
One of my must-haves for taking photos for my bookstagram or my blog is I have to have natural light. I cannot take photos when it’s sunset or when it’s dark because artificial unfortunately end up looking pretty shocking with the kind of lamps and lighting I have in my room. If you happen to have professional lighting set up in your home, completely disregard this tip – however, for other students or hobby bloggers like me, natural lighting is the must for taking great photos.
Why, do you say? Well, when you edit a photo. It is much easier to make it darker than it is, to make it lighter without damaging the image quality. Is it worth making a photo super light but then ending up with a blurry or grainy image because the quality is affected? I think not.
Achieve Consistency With Editing
If you consistently have great natural lighting, you can also consistently edit your photos. Having consistent photos is important if you’d rather not use graphics because while your graphics may generally be very similar, photos can be vastly different in that not all books have the same colours on their covers. Some books are darker or lighter, your background may change in your photos to be creative and mix things up. Imagine it like an Instagram feed – the photos may be different but they all suit and go well with each other. A lot of it is with editing the photos so that the colours you need are brought and complimented.
I personally use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos. It’s free as an app on your phone and there is an online Lightroom editor tool for desktop computers because the desktop app is paid and part of the Adobe Creative Suite (one that I pay because I need a lot of the apps as a design student and for my work but gosh darn it, it hurts my bank account BADLY). I don’t edit my photos a whole lot but I do edit them. For me, I generally adjust the lighting a bit, to give it a more pastel and lighthearted look. You can millions of apps and software out there to edit your photos as well, it’s all up to personal preference.
Here’s a quick look at how I edit:
Increase Exposure a bit
Increase Highlights a bit
Increase the Temperature so it’s a bit warmer
And that’s basically my editing routine for my photos. It can take a little while to experiment with editing to find what suits you. It’s important to note that I have ‘a bit’ written in that routine because using exact numbers would never be feasible. Even with natural lighting, because of props and book colours, not all photos will look the same, as cohesive, consistent or just as good if I stuck to specific numbers in those categories. I generally have to judge visually and check if it’ll be good. Photography is so flexible this way, and I find editing to be so relaxing.
When Taking Photos – Focus on Aperture & Depth of Field
Aperture is one of the most important elements of photography in my opinion. Even in most modern smartphones, you can change your aperture with small tips I’ll reveal below. First things first, what is aperture and depth of field?
Aperture is the photography lingo that basically means how much light your camera is exposed to, so how bright your photo is and for me, I like to think of it as where you want your camera to focus on.
In a professional camera, the aperture is represented by the f-number with a range of f/1.4 to f/32. The higher the aperture of a camera is, the smaller the opening of the camera (or at least how much your phone camera registers), and therefore less light but more focus.
Having a good focus on a photo then creates the most important element for me about aperture: depth of field. The depth of field can be simply explained as to how focussed your photo is, how much depth it has. If you’re taking a photo of a flower, do you want just the flower to be in focus and the leafy background to be blurred? (bigger aperture/f-number) or do you want the flowers and every leaf in the background to be focussed and clear (smaller aperture/f-number)? It all makes a huge difference!
QUICK CHEATSHEET if this is confusing you:
Smaller number; more light; less focus on a specific object; can be grainy if too high
Bigger number; less light; more focus on a specific object; more depth of field.
Anyway, here are my smartphone tips for changing your aperture if you take photos on your phone as I do.
Make sure to tap on the object you want to focus on and your camera will generally adapt to create more depth of field and focus more on that element specifically. Most phones also have a portrait mode which does the exact same thing but sometimes much easier and faster.
Play with the positioning and how close your book or object is to your camera. The closer the object is, generally the more your camera will focus on it and increase your depth of field too.
I personally prefer photos with a higher depth of field, it looks so cool and professional having that slight blur in the background and a real focus on what book I’m showing in the photo. This is something you can 100% experiment with and find what you like in your photography style for your blog.
What did you think of these photography tips? Will you be using more of it for your blog? Let me know in the comments below!
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I am trying to get better at taking pictures so this is useful. I didn’t even know what aperture is until I read this. I will definitely be playing around with it when taking photos.
And lighting is important– I remember I kept putting off taking photos until the evening and I forgot that the light would be gone so the pictures did not work out!! 😂
Great post!! 😊
Thank you so much! I’m so glad it was easy to understand and I’d love to see how your experiments with photography turn out 😊
Yes it was very well explained!! And I look forward to trying it out 😊
This is a great tip! I take photos with my phone and it’s something I had to figure out on my own. This would have been so useful when I started out I have handled a real camera very few times, but I have kind of just winged it. It’s good to have the aperture thing explained so precisely. Really awesome post!
Thank you! Glad to meet another fellow phone user for photography haha I’m happy it was easy to understand ❤️