I’ll say it before, and I’ll say it again–photography is the biggest thing I struggle with when it comes to blogging!
It’s definitely a constant learning curve, and it comes a lot easier to other people than it does for me! It’s something I’m always working on, but also something I really love to do!
Today, I’m sharing 5 tips I’ve picked up along the way (some of them from Blair!) that really make a HUGE difference in taking your photos to the next level.
(Wanna know what they are? Keep on scrollin’!)
Adjust your focal points manually
Have you ever been trying to photograph small details–a bracelet on your hand, a logo on a product, adorable little baby toes, for example–but you just can’t get your camera to focus on the spot you want? There’s an easy solution–you can set your focal point manually!
To do this, all you have to do is select the AF Point Selection button on your camera (see below!) Then look on your screen–you’ll see view of all your focal points OR look through the viewfinder –you’ll see all of your focal points light up in red.
Then, use the dial on the top of your camera to set the focal point (the same one you’d use to adjust your manual settings!) Turn the dial–you’ll see each individual focal point light up. Select the one closest to what you’re trying to focus on–someone’s eyes, the petal of a flower, etc! When you’re done, make sure to return the focal point back to the center back to automatic–where you’ll see ALL focal points highlight again. That’s how you know it’s back in automatic focal point selection!
Use the “hand trick”
Sometimes figuring out the correct lighting can be one of the hardest parts of photography! To determine the most flattering lighting, you need to first know where the light is coming from. An easy way to do this is to hold your hand out in front of you, and take note of where the light and shadows are. Now, move it from side to side–do you see how the shadows change? That’s how you know how they’ll look on your subject, and it will be easier to figure out the most flattering way to shoot from!
For example, using the scenario above, I would know to position my subject facing the window if I wanted bright, even lighting (i.e. for a beauty tutorial) But if I wanted, say, an artsy, moody portrait, I would know to position the subject facing the side, so the light was streaming in from the left side, creating dramatic shadows.
Reflect light with a poster board or a pillow
Depending on certain lighting situations, you might find that you have harsh shadows on your subject, which isn’t always flattering. To prevent this, you can don’t need an expensive reflector–you can use a 99 cent white poster board from Walgreens, or even a light colored pillow to bounce the light and soften the lighting for your photos!
Shoot in RAW
There are two ways you can shoot in manual mode–JPEG, or RAW. Shooting in RAW will give you a LOT more editing control, so we’d highly recommend it!
What does shooting in RAW mean?
Essentially, It’s a bigger file, with a whole lot more information packed into it. Because there’s so much more information, edits look much smoother and more natural. You don’t have as much flexibility when editing a JPEG file, and the quality is never quite as good! For example, if you accidentally overexposed your images, you would easily be able to fix this with a RAW file, but with a JPEG, you’d likely be out of luck.
(For a tutorial on how to set your camera to shoot in RAW, see this post!)
One important thing to note: you should only be shooting in RAW if you use Lightroom to edit your photos! Photoshop and other basic photo editors do not read RAW files. I repeat, only shoot in RAW if you have Lightroom!
Which brings me to our next point…
Use a Lightroom preset
Lightroom isn’t free, but it’s very affordable, and a tool that we recommend ALL bloggers use if they take their own photos! (The “Photography” package from Adobe is only about $10/month and it includes Photoshop, too!)
Using Lightroom presets not only saves us HOURS of editing time, but it’s also a really easy way to take your photos to another level, and add a unique look and feel to your photos. Think of presets as a “template” of sorts that act as a shortcut to make your photos look the same way each time!
We recently just released three of our own BFK Lightroom presets–colorful, vintage, and moody! They’re $25 in our BFK blog shop, but if you’re a new subscriber to our Better Your Blog Mini Course (totally free!) you can get 20% off anything in the shop–so if you haven’t joined, hop on the list right here! We’ll email you one new video lesson each day–one of them focuses on how to apply your own edits in Lightroom, too!