Photography Tips

Today I’m sharing Photography Tips and how to cheat with the auto setting to look like you know what you’re doing!

Photography Tips for shooting in auto

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:

Photography 6 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.

Planting in Mason Jars

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!

Southern Living Plants*

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.

Coral Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Creative Jar Pin

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.

Subway Tile in Kitchen*

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):

L's Pic

And the shot taken by my photographer friend (using my camera).

Decorate your eyes

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!

Are you new to my blog? Go HERE to see my home tour and HERE to shop for items I use in our home.

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3 thoughts on “Photography Tips

  1. Wow, thought I was the only one who “reverted to auto”. With auto, I can take some pretty darn good shots, and of course PhotoShop just clinches the deal.
    Without auto…nevermind!

  2. You do a terrific job with the lenses you have and the auto mode 🙂

    There are lenses out there that will allow you to shoot in very low light. They are pricey of course. The one I was thinking would be the 50mm F1.2.

    1. I checked out the lens you mentioned, and it looks awesome! I could really use it for all the cloudy days we have here in the midwest. I just wish it wasn’t so pricey! Thanks for taking the time to comment.