Tips for Taking Great Photos

A reader can decide about 5 seconds if a post is interesting enough for them to read. When it comes to trying to take social media from good to great, and to try to get readers to stay, I always say the best place to start is your photos. You know how they say that a picture is worth a thousand words?? Well in blog posts, it's totally true. Photos are what really speak for your posts, they're colorful, captivating, and can grab your audience with one glance. A lot of readers and aspiring bloggers have recently asked me how I take the pictures that I do. I am still learning with each shoot that I do, what works for me and what doesn't. I have really noticed a few things that really work for me personally over the past few months. Be patient when it comes to photography, it takes time to not only get the camera settings tailored to what works for you, but modeling also is so hard!! Although I'm not expert photographer, I do have a few tips and tricks that will surely help a few of y'all out!

Invest in a Camera - If you are really serious about improving the quality of your photos, you have to invest in a great camera. Hate to break it to you but iPhone pictures, even if they're on a iPhone7, just aren't good quality pictures for blogging. You need to be in perfect lighting in order to have the picture turn out great on an iPhone. Amp up your camera and your photo quality will go up automatically.

I currently use a Canon EOS Rebel T5 and wow, do I love it. It was around $520 which is pretty cheap for a DSLR camera. I purchased it from Target, so they're pretty easy to attain. If you're more of a Nikon person, the T5 is comparable to the Nikon D3300. Both are really great cameras and can record great video as well for all of you videographers out there. When purchasing a camera though, do your research. I wanted something easy to use, light but sturdy, great zoom, video and photo, along with high resolution pixels. I found all of that in my Canon T5.

Take Care of Your Lens- When using a DSLR camera, purchase the package. Usually you can get the body of a camera, a lens, lens caps, and a lens case in one purchase. Don't use off the market, used lenses because lenses are very temperamental and very easy to scratch and when you shop online you don't know what that lens has been through! Here are a few things that can happen to your lens.. P.S. to protect the body of your camera from the elements, wrap a plastic bag (like a Target bag) around the body of the camera and cut a hole for the lens to slightly poke though.

  • Snow and Rain - if you are trying to take pictures in the snow or rain be very cautious - I mean like turn around and go back inside until you're positive you know how to operate the machine in the temperature. Snow and rain will make the inside of your lens foggy and once you fog that up it's extremely difficult to fix it. This is especially apparent in snow. When you take the lens from a warm house or car and into the cold snowy atmosphere, the air between the lenses changes created the inside to fog up. Cold rain does this too and on a very obvious note, cameras and water don't mix!!

  • The Beach - A cameras worst nightmare. One, water. That's a given but it's much more easily avoidable than the sand. Even though you might not know it, every time the wind blows, sand particles are blowing into the cracks of your camera body which can seriously damage the internal compartments of your camera -- especially the zoom. Also, when the sand blows around, it has the great potential to scratch your lens and once you scratch your lens, there's no going back.

Try Not to Use Flash - In my pictures I rarely use flash, natural light is best. Flash makes my skin look too pale and almost like porcelain. It's hard to get your natural blush, freckles, and sometimes dimples when you use flash in the daylight. If you manage to get out to shoot photos on a sunny day around one pm, I find that to be the perfect light for well lit outfit photos. If the light isn't even (meaning small shadows everywhere) try the shade before resorting to the flash. When it's sunny and you can manage the shadows, the sun ends up looking great on my skin and not too harsh, unlike flash. I think this philosophy goes against a lot of others though which proves how I am no photographer but I'm just sharing what works for me!

Use the Rule of Thirds - When you take pictures, try to have your photographer stray away from taking pictures with you dead center. Sometimes, pictures down the center are absolutely stunning, but by taking pictures with you on the left or right side of the frame can make for some great shots.

Be in the Moment - Candids make for the best photos, so if you have someone who's not too familiar with photography just tell them to keep their finger on the capture button! They'll get you laughing, looking off in the distance, looking at birds -- doing natural things. Some of my most popular pics are from being in the moment and being candid! Don't be shy in front of the camera and don't be stiff. Do a little dance, wiggle your shoulders, do some jumping jacks; just make sure to be natural. When you're posing in photos, it clearly shows, especially on Instagram when you can compare all of your photos side by side. The more natural you are, the more unique each photo will look and the more captivating your photos will look as a whole.

Keep Your Background in Mind - A background is just as important as the subject of the photo. If you are taking outfit shots, make sure to have the background not be too crowded but be something that matches your style. Make sure that the background is free of anything that you consider an "eyesore". For me eyesores are chainlink fences, dirt patches in the grass, people walking in the background (people aren't eyesores, they just don't match my background lol), port-a-potties, trashcans, roadsigns, cars, trash, etc. y'all get the point.

Appreciate the Shade - Lighting is so tricky to work with. The sun looks great on your skin if you can get it right but sometimes it's just so difficult to work with! If you are having problems with the sunshine in your photos, head to a shady spot. Have your photographer tell you how the lighting looks through the lens or take test shots. It's okay to play with the light before shooting!

Be Picky! - I always apologize to my photographers in advance because I am so picky about my pictures. It's okay to ask your photographers to let you know how the lighting is looking or ask them to retake something if you need it - I mean if blogging is your livelihood, then great pictures are essential. Some great tips to help you get the perfect shot is to first brainstorm what you want. Think of everything from outfits, to backgrounds, and the post you plan on featuring the pictures with, along with your goal for the photos. Some great places to brainstorm are on Pinterest! Make a blogging inspiration board with all kinds of outfits, poses, and pictures to help you figure out what it is you want. When you decide, share this with your photographer; I always do this and sometimes I even send them certain pictures I love. I would also say to periodically look through the pictures to see if you got what you needed. If not, ask your photographer to take a few more and explain exactly what you're looking for.

Final Note: Thank your photographers. They're so amazing! I know I'm always bragging about how great all my friends are for helping me out with my pictures but seriously, they kinda help me keep DDoP going! Offer to get them lunch, ice cream, fill their car with gas, $20. Seriously, do something to say thank you for all of their help!

Stay Preppy,