Why does your blog or business need great photos?
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with visual media, inundated with information, and flooded with facts – something needs to make your content or your products stand out from the crowd. Take into account that your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, the average customer attention span is a teeny tiny 8 seconds – 8!!! (even a goldfish manages 9 seconds) and you suddenly start to appreciate the value of an image. But will any old stock image do the trick? Answer – no. Want 5 tips to improve your photos right now? Read on.
Ever get that feeling of deja- vu? Seen that same old stock image promoting everything from a break in the countryside to self care and an blog post about cutting screen time? Sure you have.
If you are sick to death of the same old image stock then so is your audience. Your readers or customers need that all important ‘thumb stopping content’ to stop them scrolling on by and take notice of YOUR content or your best product. A good photograph is a cost-effective way to do just that. But what if your photography sucks? What if your images don’t cut it? Well here are 5 tricks to improve your photos right now!
5 tips to improve your photos right now!
Define your style – make it shout ‘this is me’
When you’re scrolling the ‘gram’, surfing Pinterest or just flicking through a magazine, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are images that make you stop and hit that heart shaped button and others that make you scroll on by. Start to take notice of what you love and what leaves you cold. Which images make you smile? Set up a Pinterest board to save images that you love and pin everything that you find that appeals. In a very short time you will start to see a pattern to the images you pin. Dark and moody? Light and bright? Images with a vintage feel to them? Are the colours muted or rich and deep? Once you find a style that appeals to you, you can start trying to emulate these images.
My food images tend to have a ‘vintage’ style to them.
If you have brand colours or even just a favourite colour, try incorporating this into your images. Research shows that images containing blue or yellow have an instant appeal to viewers particularly on platforms like instagram. A themed feed on image based platforms can help your images to be quickly identifiable with your brand or business.
Don’t use your kit or lack of it as an excuse
So many people ask me what kit I use to take photos and agonise over what camera to buy and how much to spend. Sure, a great camera can help you take images that are clearer, more crisp, with better depth of field – but please, don’t let the fact you only have a smartphone or a point and shoot stop you starting out on the journey to take better photos. Even a basic smartphone these days has the ability to play with exposure, frame an image and take a great shot. Great photography is more about your ‘eye’ and capturing a moment than it ever is about equipment, and the more time you spend behind the lens, the better your images will be. Practice, don’t procrastinate!
Make a conscious decision on what to photograph and ‘tell a story’ with your images.
Are you a travel blogger that wants to compel your audience to discover a hidden gem, are you a food blogger who wants their readers to NEED that recipe? Maybe you are a brand owner who wants their customers to eat beans for a month to be able to buy your new t-shirt design. If that sounds like you, then a quickly taken ‘snap’ isn’t going to be enough.
Find the ‘story’ in your recipe, your blog post about a Greek island or the reason you designed that tee. Was the best bit about your trip that tucked away restaurant with the crazy host? Is your new soup recipe exactly like the soup you used to love when you were a kid and tastes so incredible you have to share it (or just any old bowl of soup that you churned out just to crack out another blog post this week?). Take the photo of the crazy host, the beach where you found huge crabs that your child still talks about. Photograph the ingredients that made up that amazing soup or a photograph of someone feeling seriously damned amazing in that new t-shirt.
Make friends with light
Remember when you used to visit your grandma when you were a kid and she always had her dressing table pushed up under the window? Well, there was a reason for that and not just because she liked to snoop on the neighbours whilst putting on her face powder.
In that position, light fell through the window, onto her face and reflected prettily in the mirror. Clever.
Does anyone remember watching ‘America’s Next Top Model’? The ones with the best photos knew how to ‘find the light’ how to angle their faces to the light to catch their profile and reflect beautifully in an image.
So if you want your photos to pop you need to catch that light – stalk it – find it – use it. To see it in action, take the person or the item you want to photograph and take a photograph at every angle and position and watch how the light affects the image. You will soon learn how light creates magic.
Angle is everything
My favourite thing to shoot is food. I love to play with backgrounds, props – I have ALLLLL the props, ingredients and how the light helps to tell a story. Food tends to have three key angles that work. Top down, flatlay style – 45 degree angle and straight on. As a general rule of thumb – bowls and plates (particularly soups and watery dishes) shoot best in a top-down image.
There is no doubt that you will get the best flat lay image when using a tripod. When you shoot top-down, you need to be as close as possible to an absolute, bang on 90 degree angle. Any slight deviation will show in the image. A trained eye can spot it right away – a non-trained eye just sees the image and notices that something is ‘off’ and ‘wrong’ and don’t connect with the image in a positive way. Cue a scroll on by.
If you don’t have a tripod then you need a super strong set of core muscles! Tuck your elbows into your side and keep that camera as soon as possible.
Tall food shoots best straight on
Think stacks of pancakes, prettily piled salads, waffles with chocolate sauce dribbling down the side (can you tell I’m food obsessed?).
45 degree angle
Imagine yourself sitting at a table waiting to eat your food. Do you often stand upright and look straight down on your food? Not often I bet. Typically you look down at your food at a 45 degree angle. As as result – people viewing images taken from that angle can automatically relate to them. This angle also gives you the opportunity to include both flat lay and upright props.
Get on their level
When photographing people – get on their eye level. Get down at the same level as your kid playing on the sand, see the world as they see it and automatically your photos take on a new depth and level of interest.