Today I’m sharing Photography Tips and how to cheat with the auto setting to look like you know what you’re doing!
Recently I was asked to share my photography tips with other DIY bloggers. (To see that post, you can click HERE.) Besides being incredibly honored, I was also incredibly embarrassed. I would have to admit that I use AUTO when I take pictures. Obviously, someone who shoots in auto is not a professional. However, the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I didn’t need to hang my head in shame. Instead, I’m embracing auto and sharing how you can cheat and get beautiful photos. Now, if you have the ability and brains to shoot in manual, I applaud you. I took a photography class for an entire semester in college, and yet I still went right back to shooting in auto after that class.
Years later when I began blogging, I took a photography course from an amazing photographer. I was determined to say goodbye to auto. Unfortunately, I continued shooting in auto. All those F-stops and shutter speeds make my head hurt. I’m just not wired to shoot manually. So, I realize there are much better ways to take beautiful photos. However, if you’re like me and have the inability to shoot manually, then continue reading on! Let’s embrace our inadequacy and make the best of it! So if you’re a manual mode idiot like me, I am going to share a few tips for shooting in auto as professionally as you can!
Here are my, “if you’re going to shoot in auto, here’s what you need to do for professional-looking photos” tips:
First off, a nice DSLR camera is important if you’re a blogger. I use a Nikon D3100 for all my photos, so it’s not crazy nice, but it’s a lot nicer than using my phone camera. Also, I have the option to change out lenses, and I did splurge for a telephoto lens. This lens is amazing. Since I’m shooting in auto, it’s how I get that beautifully blurred background that professionals achieve by adjusting F-stops in manual mode. This photo was taken in my home with my telephoto lens. I was able to easily focus on the mason jar planter, and the background was blurred. This was shot in auto mode with no flash.
Speaking of not using a flash, that is my second tip for good photos. Turn OFF that flash! I also try to not use lamps or lights in the room when I take photos. Use only natural light whenever possible. To make this happen, I often have to plan my tutorials so I’m working on them while it’s still light out. Most of my smaller craft tutorials are completed at my kitchen table since there are two walls of windows nearby. Also, winter is SO hard for me with photoshoots. I live in Indiana, and we can go days without seeing the sun in the colder months. I remember last year I had to wait a week to shoot my Christmas home tour because it was just too dark in my house without the sunshine. There’s no controlling the weather, so the key is to be patient and intentional – finding natural light will be worth it. Finally, if you can’t find a good space inside, don’t be afraid to take your work outside!
My third tip is to always consider your background. When I’m shooting a small project, my little secret is to set my objects on wrapping paper. Sometimes I prefer plain white paper and other times I want a bold pattern. Regardless, I’m always on the lookout for fun wrapping paper.
Another tip is to take lots of photos and from lots of angles and distances – it makes it really interesting!
Do not forget to edit your photos. Cropping and brightening photos can make good photos amazing photos. I use Photoshop to edit my photos, but there are lots of other great photo editing software available. I crop my photos to make them interesting, and I almost always lighten/brighten photos.
Finally, don’t be afraid to call in an expert if needed. I’ve had several times where I called in a photographer friend. Once I was doing a post on mascara. I couldn’t figure out how to take a good pic of myself, so I called in a photographer friend for help. This is the photo taken by my daughter (notice my wrapping paper background):
And the shot taken by my photographer friend (using my camera).
Two final thoughts: I consistently size all my photos at 550 pixels (this is the size of photos that best work on my theme) – horizontal and vertical. Your theme could drive you to pick a different size, the point is to stay consistent. I also always try to have a great vertical shot for each post. Vertical shots are a must for Pinterest! You’ll be amazed at how much beautiful photography can help with the success of your blog. Use these tips and keep practicing – that’s what I’m doing! Maybe someday, I’ll shut off auto. But until then, I’ll work hard to make my auto photos as beautiful as possible!
Go create something!