So much to consider with Images
I don’t usually do ‘how to blog‘ posts, because it’s an area I’m constantly learning about. With all the experts out there, it’s forgiving to feel somewhat inadequate about the extent of my knowledge in the blogging world. However, I do have to remember that I have been doing this for almost ten years now. In that time I have learned a thing or two – the biggest being that things change all the time. In fact, to quote Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “The Only Thing That is Constant is Change”.
One thing that hasn’t changed though is the need for images on your blog posts. The images might vary according to the style of the blog or what you are trying to achieve from your photo. But then that comes down to what you are photographing and how you edit it.
Photos as well as graphics or videos make blog posts visually appealing and are a way of sharing your post on social media. They can be pretty powerful, so a bit of thought and forward planning can go a long way.
When I started writing online, I would have a million ideas in my head of what I wanted to write about. I would sit down and write an article or post after spending time researching the subject. But once it was done, I’d realise the one thing I just hadn’t considered were the images to go with it. These are what readers will see and what makes the post attractive. Images play a part in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as well. The Alt text and image description should be appropriately filled out. Search engines can then read this, which helps with optimisation. It needs to be a brief description relevant to the image.
Back then, I did the writing first then thought about the photos second. But I can find it frustrating when I’m all set to publish a blog post but the images just aren’t there to complete it. Now most of the time I do my photos first.
I like to have original photographs that I took myself. I do have the occasional photo on my blog that my husband has taken, but actually the majority are all taken by me. Even the ones that I’m in! Yes, having a good camera and tripod can make all the difference when you are ready for the perfect shot, but there’s no-one around to help you out.
We got a tripod from eBay which was compatible with our DSLR. I have figured out how to use the settings and timer. Plus I know the best places in the house (and garden) to take my ‘selfies’ if I’m the one in the shot.
I also have a version of a Gorillapod for my smartphone. It’s a mini tripod that not only stands alone, but the legs bend so it can attach or hook onto things. Great if you’re in the garden or park and have a fence or tree to attach it to. Mine is also magnetic and sticks to the fridge! Perfect for posing in the kitchen if you’re doing a cookery write up.
If you have an ‘Insta’ partner in the form of a boyfriend, wife, mate etc then all the better. My husband does get mildly hacked off with me though when I make him take a thousand photos and I hate every one of them. Not only does his patience wear thin, but he thinks I’m insulting his photography skills.
I also get a bit embarrassed to keep asking. I’m not a model, I’m just trying to make the picture relevant to the content.
How to Get Inspired
Thanks to my obsession with Instagram, I’m constantly thinking now about taking photos. I have a smartphone with a decent camera on it (I have a Huawei P20 Pro purely for the camera). Great when I haven’t got the DSLR with me and I’m out and about and spot a photo opportunity.
So I’m always looking at things in a creative way. Can this be part of a story, would it look good on my Insta grid or would it make an arty image for my blog? Everywhere I look, I’m thinking like a photographer! Obviously I have had to learn a few photography tricks. Considering what is in the background, the lighting if the object is central and looks balanced.
Being quite creative, I like anything arty or different. I also like different effects such as flat lay photos. I’m still learning and more than happy to play around.
Create a Catalogue
This is what I do sometimes. I’ll spend a day on photography. I’ll play around with various flat lay ideas – some with clothes, some with objects such as a plant, a book and a laptop or food. I’ve even tried flat lays that involve the cat – but she’s not the easiest model to work with!
Also, when I cook a meal or bake a cake I’ll take good quality pictures as I go along. Then a good one of the end result. That way, when I’m ready to blog (it could be a recipe or just a need for a particular image) I have some pictures ready.
There’s nothing worse than wanting to do a recipe post and having to cook the whole thing again just for the blog. All because I forgot to take photo’s when I cooked it first time around! How many times has that happened?
The biggest mistake I’ve made is forgetting to take blog-worthy photo’s on holiday. I see so many bloggers with fab beach shots (without loads of other families in the background) or sitting outside a cafe with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background. I just don’t have these sorts of photos which is frustrating after a road trip through Italy! You just have to think ‘blog’ all the time!
When I do have my collection of photos, everything is saved and ready to be used if I need it. Some photos I never use because they were not relevant to anything. But that’s fine. I’ve made too many ‘missed opportunity’ mistakes that now I’d rather have way too many than not enough!
There are many ways to edit (there should be one or several blog posts on this subject alone). But I tend to sharpen and brighten images using Adobe Lightroom. I also use the Snapseed app on the smartphone with is free, but of course there are so many apps to choose from. Some add effects such as twinkly lights (Glixel Photo Effects is one example). I also love Enlight Pixaloop for animated elements. Or you could go for more complex editing or overlays with Photoshop.
And don’t forget the lovely Canva, which is my favourite editing tool available on desktop or app. You can create an image any size you wish (there are templates as well) and use the images, overlays, fancy text and backgrounds. The royalty free photos on there are also gorgeous for blog posts, social media or anything you like. I think it’s worth a play to become familiar with it, although there are plenty of online tutorials if need be.
I recommend paying for Canva pro (£10.99 a month) for the additional features. I personally find it easier to use the desktop version rather than the app for more complex designs.
Whatever you use, make sure you don’t get carried away! There are plenty of tutorials out there to help get the colour balance and exposure right.
And like I said, I’m still learning about photography and editing. I find it fun and really gain inspiration from others. But everything is unique when it’s your own creation!