Photography Tips On Taking Your Blog Photos

how to use camera manual mode

As a follow up to last week’s FAQs… I thought it would be cool to let my husband (who takes all my blog photos) guest post this week about what he does on the regular in the photography department! As blog photography specifics are questions I get from you guys daily, I wanted to make sure this was a section I covered more in depth and lay it allll out. Here he is:

I’m in no way, shape or form a professional photographer…nor did I have any experience in photography before helping my wife start this blog.

All I had was an interest and a willingness to learn.

Aperture…what’s that? Shutter speed…not sure what was best. Why are my pictures so bright?…Why are they so dark? How can I get that blur in the background?? Ugh, pictures are blurry again!

These are all questions and issues I either had to Google, or really spend some hands-on quality time messing with the camera settings. I also read and watched numerous photography tutorials…what better way to learn right?

It’s been quite the journey and such a fun learning experience. And yes, having a quality DSLR will improve your picture quality…but the tools are only as effective as the person who uses them.

side by side

Equipment We Use

Camera

I currently use a Canon 6D. The first 6 months we used a Canon Rebel T3i.

I highly recommend starting out with a “beginner” DSLR for a few reasons:

– Low cost (roughly anywhere from $300-$700)
– A great platform to learn the techniques and settings
– Minimal investment (Not stuck with a $2,000+ DSLR if you decide to quit blogging or photography within months)

When we first started the blog, I had no idea where it was going to take us or how long we were going to do it for. The Rebel T3i was perfect for me to learn the settings, get comfortable with the camera and not have to fork out a ton of cash.

Lens

I could spend a pretty penny on camera lenses! I would spend hours looking through Canon’s website trying to figure out which lens would fit the type of shot I was trying to achieve. Two of my favorites and most used lenses are:

1. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 – I, by far, use this lens more than any other. Pictures are crisp, provides an awesome bokeh (aka blurry background) and quick focusing for street action shots. Best of all, extremely affordable (around $330)

What I will upgrade to later in the year – Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 II USM – I’ve had my eye on this lens for a while, but have been debating back and forth on whether to upgrade my camera body or the lens…decisions decisions!

2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 – There are some locations where I am unable to provide enough space between myself and Brittany to get the shot I’m looking for. That’s where the 50mm comes in. It provides me with a wider shot without having to step too far back.

Both of these are fixed lenses…which means they are not able to zoom in and out.

Best Times To Shoot

This is all based on personal preference, but I like to shoot at either dusk or dawn.

Dawn
The light seems to provide me with muted colors and easier to shoot in locations that are typically highly trafficked with people. Aka Brittany won’t get hit by a car when I tell her to run across the street (no but really).

Dusk
I get more vibrant deep colors and the sun is less harsh.

I don’t mind shooting in either time. Typically it’s been dusk, as we would need to wake up extremely early for dawn and we are both night owls.

Honestly, you can shoot during anytime of the day…but I find that the sun is too strong and it creates lighting issues. If we were to shoot during the day, it would typically be in the city were shade is abundant and we can go by tall buildings.

Finding the Perfect Location

To me, whether we are shooting for the blog or just taking a simple Instagram picture (ha! no such thing… not as simple as it looks lol), I feel the location is just as important as the outfit itself.

It’s the overall vibe and feel between the connection of the outfit and the environment it’s in.

As we were first starting out, this was probably the biggest hassle. We would drive around trying to find the “perfect spot”, while at the same time the sun was slowly setting…as you could imagine trying to beat the clock and getting a little frustrated with each other on our lack of planning skills. Especially because we first started the blog in December with the sun setting pretty early which made it difficult to fit shoots in after I got home from work.

Why didn’t we think about this yesterday? The sun is going down, we are running out of light!

We have since then evolved (thank goodness!) and have utilized an effective planning strategy for each week.

Over time, we have categorized each location by putting an example shot/look within folders based on:
– city
– time of day
– color
– characteristic ( ex. tall brick wall, great depth of field, palm trees)

So based on the looks we have planned for the following week, we would match the outfit that would best compliment the location.

Before we even step inside the car; we know exactly where to go for each outfit, the time optimal to be there, and which angle shots to go for. This has dramatically improved the time it takes to shoot looks while also removing the stress in not knowing where to go and how to shot for the location.

Your Thoughts

This post could have been considerably longer…touching on subjects such as editing tools, camera settings, etc.

But before I get into all of that, I want to make sure it is something you guys want to read and find useful.

So let me know in the comments below on what you would like to learn regarding anything photography related. Whether it is how to edit photos, getting to know and utilize your camera settings, how to really understand lighting techniques…Anything! I am open to any suggestions and would love to dive deeper into these subjects.

Have a great week! – Anthony

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60 Responses to Photography Tips On Taking Your Blog Photos

  1. Hayley Larue says:

    I remember when I first started blogging and got my camera, I was absolutely clueless. I love looking back and seeing how much my blog photos have improved. I remember looking up all of the things you mentioned above… especially aperture! I would literally type in on google: “How to make background in photos blurry with camera settings” hahaha. :) I think it’s awesome that you’re writing these posts to help people!

    StyledByBlondie.com

  2. I really like your tips and they are very helpfull for a beginner as me ! :)

    http://www.thefashionpanda.be
    http://www.thefashionpanda.be

  3. jazmin says:

    This was awesome! Would love to know more about the settings and editing techniques you use!

  4. B Boebel says:

    Loved this post! Thanks for sharing Anthony!

    Could you go over the best way to take walking shots? I always find these difficult, whether I’m trying to teach someone how to take them of me, or I’m trying to take them of other people. Do you like to “pre-focus” the photo or is it all about the speed of the lens?

    http://www.lamattenoir.com

    • Anthony says:

      Hi B!

      This was something that really took practice.

      At first, my photos were coming out blurry and could figure out why the focus wasn’t there. After doing some research, I realized my shutter speed was just too low. I was using a lower shutter speed setting to allow more light into the camera, but that’s not optimal if the subject you’re shooting is moving. Try adjusting the shutter speed to a higher setting and see how that comes out.

      Another issue could be your focusing. If the subject is walking towards or away from you…you will need to automatically focus while shooting. The reason for this is the depth between you and the subject. When you focus the camera, it focuses at a certain depth. But if the subject is walking towards you, that depth is changing…which then makes the picture out of focus.

      Hope this helps!

  5. Meg says:

    This was really helpful and it’s nice to know that it’s a lot of work and what lenses you use because the photos are flawless. I wish I could get my husband to help me, he does it but begrudgingly, haha. Any tips on how to get people to help? How long does it generally take you to shoot a few looks?

    thanks! http://mymonochromaticlife.com

  6. Leilani says:

    I found this very helpful! I just launched my blog yesterday, my fiance also takes all of my picture’s.
    We have not invested in a camera just yet, however, we are looking around and trying to get some input on which is best for beginners. This post just helped with every question. Thank you !!

  7. This was SO helpful! Thanks for putting together a down to Earth how to guide, I feel like that is pretty much impossible to find. I bought a Cannon T5 to start shooting with as well and I totally agree with your advice, start with a cheaper camera and then upgrade. Would love to learn more from you!
    http://www.breadandbutterjournal.com/

  8. Lorin Kelly says:

    Would definitely love more tricks and tips…I’m currently juggling between blog photography and newborn photography…two different beasts!

  9. Thank you for this post! And yes, I want to hear more! I’d love to hear pretty much anything you have to share on the topic, especially editing :)

    Thanks again!

    http://elementsofellis.com/

  10. McKinley says:

    Definitely more about editing and how to use your camera settings!!

  11. Hana says:

    Great tips! My favorite tip – an effective planning strategy for each week. Thank you for that! We struggle with that still.
    I would love for you to go more into your editing. Also maybe you can note how you make the DSLR edits fit with Brittany’s phone photos for the Instagram feed. I know she uses VSCO for her phone photos, but they all flow so nice on her feed. Thank you both for what you are sharing! Hana

    • Anthony says:

      Hi Hanna!

      An editing post is in the works based on demand ;)

      But to answer your question above, I use a combination of Photoshop and VSCO. Once we do the basic edits in Photoshop, we transfer the images to our iPhone and use VSCO for additional editing. We then transfer them back from the iPhone to the computer to use for the blog.

      We really wanted to keep the same look/feel of our pictures throughout Instagram and the blog.

  12. Angelina says:

    I am still working on pics game, so I loved the tips! I am curently using Canon Eos 500d and it’s a really good camera but I am onto some new lenses. Thanks for the tips

    popangelscloset.blogspot.com

  13. Alejandra says:

    Thanks a lot Brittany and Antony for sharing with us your knowledge, I’m very surprised because you´are so generous. And, about your question Anthony, I would love that you can share with us about how you edit the photos, the tools and every point about the photo that you fix. Thanks! and continuous having success

  14. chanelle says:

    Love that you are self-taught; there is hope for my husband too! hee hee. Quick question however… does your daughter also tag along with you on shoots? I’ve tried to bring mine out with me, but end up feeling pressured (bad!) or have ended up including her in my shots (good!). Any recommendations? Also, given the photos you shared above, I’d love to know what settings you altered between the two to make the current one (now 2015) so much more crisp. Perhaps more examples like this describing the settings you altered would be a great next post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Anthony says:

      That is a great question and really something that we try to be aware of. Yes she does come with us on shoots, but we really try to split it up.

      For instance, if we have four looks we need to take (each look taking around 20 mins), we break it up over the weekend. So we would take 1 look Friday evening, 1 look Saturday morning, 1 look Saturday evening and 1 look Sunday evening. That way we are not shooting for 1-2 hours straight.

      I know it’s easy to feel guilty or bad, and truthfully it’s something that we have gone through too…especially when starting out. But this blog has given Brittany the opportunity to stay home and spend more time with Jadyn. Taking our looks is the only time Jadyn sees us working on the blog (which totals around 1-2 hrs over the weekend). Our priority is Jadyn and Brittany’s blog has provider her more hours/opportunities to spend time with her and be involved than any 9am-5pm job has ever. That far outweighs the 1-2 hrs we spend with her shooting over the weekend.

      So if you truly believe in your blog and it will ultimately allow you to spend more time with your children, don’t be so hard on yourself.

      There will be a few upcoming blog posts going over camera settings, different shots and post editing. The two shots above are done with different cameras…my first camera/lens I started out with and then the camera/lens I have now.

  15. sanssouci says:

    Great tips as always! Lenses are of great importance and it is so true how the environment either highlights or diminishes even the whole outcome and outfit!
    http://www.sanssouci.website

  16. Kacey says:

    I’m new to blogging so this post is super helpful… I also love seeing your first photos and where you have gone! Would love to see a post about editing tools, camera settings, etc :)

  17. Ashlee says:

    Such a great post, I have really been looking to upgrade some lens then eventually upgrade into better camera! Cant wait to bring this knowledge to my growing blog! Thank you both!

    http://www.tusksandtails.com
    @favro

  18. Franchua says:

    Heyy.. as much as this is fab blog and you put up great stuff, I really have to say Anthony’s guest post was fab. Simple and clean mixed with humour. Perfect. Luck to you guys.

  19. Danielle says:

    Great post! I’ve been trying to start a blog and have found the picture thing hanging me up and I know how to use a camera!! Just last night I was complaining to my husband how hard it is taking quality pictures of ones self. I had a good laugh when you mention quality pictures on IG. Right?? Such a learning process, even for those experienced. I guess I just need to start posting and shooting and see where it goes. Thank you for sharing, very inspiring.

    • Anthony says:

      Exactly! Don’t let the fear of not being perfect hold you back. Start taking action and you’ll learn along the way. I’ve made many mistakes, but it’s through those mistakes I have been able to learn and become better.

  20. Laura Perez says:

    I would really like to know more about how to utilize your camera settings and lighting techniques. Thanks so much for the photography tips, BTW!

  21. Karen says:

    I’m a blogger and I love looking back at my old photos and see how far my photography style has improved. I agree with your points about starting with a beginner camera to get an in-depth understanding on how it works. Lenses are actually more important than the camera but I feel that most bloggers think that this is the answer to producing a great photo. For me, it’s a combination of creating a mood, playing with the light, composition and good editing. I love all the blogging tips on this blog, would love to know more about your editing process! Much love from Qatar- Karen
    http://www.clumsychic.com

  22. Lilly says:

    Great post! I can totally related not only with the post but with some of the comments above. We also try to shoot on the weekends (1 Friday, 1 Saturday etc.) but there are weekend when we are too busy and have to shoot 4 outfits in one day with both of our boys in tow. It can be frustrating not only for us but for them as well, but definitely not impossible. We too use the 85mm and are loving it! Learning as we go for sure!

    Xo-Lilly

  23. Amelia says:

    I would love to know more about which settings you recommend using the most. Also what would you suggest or tips on taking photos of objects like coffee mugs, makeup ect as opposed to photographing people or fashion.

    Also what backgrounds do you recommend for cleaner looking fashion photography (brick,tile, streets ect.) I’ve just started my blog and I have to take most of my photos my self.
    Thanks! XO

  24. vera says:

    What a great post- thank you for sharing.

    Blonde in Cashmere

  25. Paulina Campos says:

    Hey guys! I really enjoy these blog tips. I’ve been trying to start mine but just the picture thing is holding me back. Seems like no one around would like to help an inspired blogger out, lol. One quick question, can you two provide us with best links we can buy good beginner cameras? Maybe I can self teach a friend or two. Thank you! And congrats to Brittany on her bloglovin award :)

  26. Aine says:

    Hi Anthony,
    Great post! Finding all the blogging tips posts really helpful so thanks for sharing :) Its not only helpful but also encouraging to know you are self taught!looking forward to seeing more details on editing. Would also love to know if you have any tips on the best poses. I take the photos of for our blog and I think it would really help. Thanks Aine x

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  28. Mel says:

    Hey, this blog post was SUPER informative. If you could go more into lighting and how it can make or break photos and positioning that was FANTASTIC. Also what is the difference between shooting for instagram versus blog post.

    Thanks, I thoroughly enjoy this segment of getting started. It talks about all the little details non-bloggers don’t realize.

  29. Maria says:

    This post was definitely helpful! Thank you so much! I would love to see even more about photography. I know there are so many topics; lighting, camera settings, editing software, sizing for a blog post, oh the list goes on forever! A start to finish, like the post on editing an Instagram photo, would be cool. Or tips on how to get sharp, crisp images. Thanks again for sharing so much information. I really appreciate it!

    xo, Maria
    http://www.theclassifiedchic.com

  30. Heather says:

    Hello! I love this blog post along with the other blog posts about wordpress.org vs wordpress.com and which is better for different uses. I really enjoy your blog because it’s not just about fashion, it also contains some really great content!

    -Heather

    http://heatherinreallife.com/

  31. MarieDee says:

    Such good information! Thanks for sharing. At this point, I don’t even have a digital camera but use my iPhone for everything, so I’m limited. Congratulations on the Bloglovin’ award! That’s how I found you.

  32. Pingback: Photography Basics: Camera’s Manual Setting | Thrifts and Threads

  33. Karen says:

    I’m loving these ‘more technical’ posts, they are really helpful while still being really easy to read and comprehend! I recently started my own fashion blog and have no one with photography skills in my life (but it is one of my hobbies) so I always have to come up with shoot locations and various shots I want the person to help me take. Thanks for all your help and keep these posts coming! Love you both Brittany and Anthony!

    -Karen

  34. Thanks so much for this post, but I would really love if you could do a post about editing the pictures.

    http://esraaeveryday.blogspot.com.eg/

  35. Desiree says:

    Great read! I will definitely be returning to read helpful content like this. It’s so great that photography has turned out to be a hobby that you enjoy, while supporting your wife. Big ups to teamwork! :)

    Best,
    http://www.fashionlingual.com

  36. Loretta says:

    Thanks for your tips – I’ve had my blog for the past year and a half now, and I still struggle with the photos. I have a point and shoot canon camera. The hardest part is trying to get the food pictures just the way I want them (which is hardly ever). Mostly I cannot seem to get the “blur” with the aperture that I have which is 3.5 (lowest number). Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    • Anthony says:

      With a f/3.5 it is harder to achieve a nice bokeh (blur), but in some instances it can come out nicely. Just need to remember, the distance between your subject (or the thing you’re focusing on) and the background needs to be greater with higher f-stops.

  37. Ansu Visser says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’m going to pass them onto my photo buddy who takes my photos.
    https://cutthemustardsite.wordpress.com/

  38. Shane says:

    This was extremely helpful! Thanks for this how to guide, I feel like this very resource post about taking picture. I am trying to improve my travel pictures at the moment. I have Canon d3100 and sometimes I wish I had a smaller one.

  39. SAMIVIDA says:

    Dear Anthony,

    I thank you for all the information … OMG!! It’s very useful, HELPFUL!!! THANKSS

    How many times my husband and me said “Why didn’t we think about this yesterday?” I need an effective planning strategy like yours, categorizing each location … How many times we didn’t know where exactly to go … (with 2 kids in the car …), going late because of our work, … We have difficulties with “street-style” shots, movement pictures, … Focusing me when I am walking is very difficult. Any suggestion about that?

    Now, until we improve our shots, I’ve decided to use EOSREMOTE control or video and then I shot by myself.

    Thanks!! ;)

    Our treasures are: CANON 70 D with 18-155mm 3.5 and 50 mm 1.8

    • Anthony says:

      Thanks for the comment! Movement shots took me quite a while to master…I still feel sometimes I don’t have it completely down. I will tell you, 20% of my movement shots do come out blurry…so don’t worry, just make sure to take enough shots knowing that some will be blurry. Another thing to do is WALK SLOWER lol I know it may look silly, but walking slower helps.

      It takes practice but always know that 80% of the pictures you take will not be perfect. You just need a handful to get the look down :)

  40. Jamie says:

    I can’t tell you how often I read these posts, sometimes multiple times a week. It’s become a handbook for new bloggers. Y’all should write a book! Thanks so much for all that you do.

  41. Bijit Dutta says:

    I am a travel photographer from North East India, these tips will help me further. Thank you very much.

  42. rachel moore says:

    just giving you a shout out that i LOVED your post. my blog was not started for fashion but i’ve been so inspired i added it. i love you wife’s blog and you take such great pictures. my husband has been helping me and it’s such a team effort and i love how you posted a pic from a couple years ago to show the evolution of your talent. gives me hope!! although we aren’t getting any younger – what lighting is best to hide wrinkles :) kidding – sort of.
    anyway – i digress. loved the post. you guys seem very cool.
    xx.
    rachel

  43. Arta says:

    I really love this post! This is something I am struggling with a LOT as a new blogger! My boyfriend has been such a good sport about taking my pictures, but it seems like sometimes we just cant get it right! We’re a lot more in the 2013 shot phase. I will definitely have him look into youtube and photographing a bit better.

    There are times though, that he is busy and I wish I could take my own pics. Do you have any suggestions for this? For bloggers who dont always necessarily have someone around to snap their image!

    Love all your work, esp all the blogging tips lately!!

    Also, I live in San Diego and love that you guys came down here for your mini get away – have so much fun!!

    http://www.theartafacts.com

  44. Komal Chawla says:

    Thanks for the tips, really helpful.

  45. Thank you very much, it’s very helpful. I’m a new blogger and I really wanted to post nice photos. But so many people do the same thing, I didn’t know where to start. Thanks to your article, I’ve learned interesting tips. I hope you will keep blogging for a long time, you are very inspiring XOXO https://marionraynal.wordpress.com

  46. An excellent article! I am a professional photographer but I have not been blogging anything like as much as I should.

    I intend to put that right immediately.

  47. Thanks so much for all the useful information! I am just starting my blog and my husband will be taking all the photos with our T3i. My question is, how do you resize the “professional” blog photos for Instagram use? Thanks!

    • Brittany says:

      My husband used Photoshop to resize all his images. But there are a variety of other iphone apps that you can use to crop for Instagram such as VSCO and Snapseed.

  48. Julia Rose says:

    I’m curious to know if you use your Iphone to post Instagram photos, or if you have a log of photos you’ve taken from your camera? Thank you so much!

    http://www.xojuliarose.com

  49. Really professional, nice work.

  50. Kelsey Hilliard says:

    Love these tips, thank you for sharing! I’m from Seattle and being that it is grey and rainy most of the time, getting natural lighting is the hardest part for me. Often times, we shoot inside because of the rain (though sometimes rainy shoots are fun). Any recommendations on better ways to get better lighting inside if it’s not super bright out? Flash, reflectors, ect?

  51. Julie says:

    Thank you so very much for the awesome info. I love taking pictures and I do have a question for you.I am taking photos with my phone. Do you know how to get the distance and lighting better without editing. I am kind of new to taking photos and I do use my own camera but I like my phone better. What do you use when you take your photos. They are beautiful.I will keep returning to your blog.

  52. Ashley Lentz says:

    This post was so helpful! Have been looking into upgrading my lens from the stock one I received with my DSLR and now I know which one to get. Thank you so much!

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