Hopefully you have already read my thoughts about how important a good title for your blog is, and what it can do for your SEO vs. Social Media Traffic, but now lets talk about how to take better pictures for your blog. Why is this important?
Pictures and titles are the top contenders for things that you want to “nail” when you are trying to attract traffic to your website. Have you ever got on to Pinterest and saw a gooey chocolate ganache filled cupcake that was made in the microwave? The picture looked so tasty that you clicked right over to get the recipe, then later you stuffed your face with it that very same day? Just me? OK, but I hope you get what I am talking about. There is powerful persuasion in a simple photograph. Often without even reading your title, people will click over to your blog because of your picture.
If it is a picture of food, your goal is to make them taste it. If it is a landscape, you want them to feel the cool mountain mist on their cheeks. Now, I am no photographer, which for you is a good thing. You can get some real advice from someone who won’t go on about the aperture and shutter speed. I want to tell you the do’s and don’ts of taking good blog images that you can even do with your iPhone. Yes, as your business progresses get that fancy Nikon with a fancy lens that is crazy-good for food photography, but for now just focus on setting up the shot. The best lens in the world can’t give you a quality image if you don’t grasp the simple shot.
Because I have leftover rolls from Christmas, let’s shoot rolls on an iPhone to keep it simple. I will add some more before and afters using my fancy camera at a later time, but lets stick with the basics for now.
What is the difference?
Before I am using indoor lights, using top and front lit lighting, no props, unclean surface and using the ugliest roll in the pan.
After, I stacked the rolls using the prettiest and most browned on the top. Added some props and texture, used natural side lighting from a window and used the focus. The indoor lights were completely off at the time and it looks brighter. These rolls are two or three days old and are dry as heck, but the After Picture makes them look edible. If they were fresh baked I would rub butter on top for a shine and make sure to include a stretching/ripping the roll image to show the flakey goodness.
Here are my do’s and don’ts:
Take Better Pictures For Your Blog
- Use natural light. Go to a well sun-lit room, turn off your indoor lights, park near a window to get a perfectly lit shot. No filter needed. If your light is too dark, you can even go outside in non-direct sun.
- Get it in focus. It only takes a second to set the focus on the specific part of the photo that you want to highlight. On a phone, you simply tap the screen to focus.
- Set the stage Use textures, different backgrounds and props to add variety to your blog images. Colored foam boards, faux backgrounds are a fun touch. You could take your cake pictures on the ground near some french doors if you have the right props.
- Be selective. Do you notice the dents in the first roll photo? Did you notice it wasn’t fully browned like the others? Instead of grabbing the roll that is closest to you, take a look at the pan. Which one looks the best? Whether it is food, dumbell or a blouse, choose the best object that is in the best condition.
- Give it a good ol’ spit shine. If there is a scuff, sticker residue, or tag give it a once over and get it prepped properly. Notice the eyelash on the plate in the before picture, wipe that away.
- Nothing is perfect, and photographs love to prove it. Photos show all flaws and sometimes enhance them. Try to minimize the appearance of the flaw by angling the camera in a way that masks it. For example. These rolls were not as tall as I like them so I used my camera angle to hide how flat they really are.
- Show multiple camera angles through the post to keep the reader engaged. Portrait, Landscape, Birds Eye and Close Up are 4 excellent ways to show something off (see IAmBaker to see perfect examples).
- Use odd numbers. Odd numbers of objects look more aesthetically pleasing than even numbers.
Take Better Pictures: Especially For Food
- Let it brown a bit more than you normally would.
- Add a garnish. A mint leaf, some parsley, fresh ground pepper, whipped cream or fresh berries can go a long ways. Choose an appropriate garnish for your dish. (Check out TriedANDTasty to see how she uses garnish to add the perfect touch to her photos)
- Never mix it up. LAYER LAYER LAYER. If you have the best salad with strawberries, walnuts and a vinegarette, don’t toss the salad. Set out an extra plate and layer it. This always looks better in photos and shows the reader exactly what is in it.
- Use props. Decorative plates, napkins, and fresh versions of the flavor can make your photo stand out. For example, when photographing an Orange Zest Bunt Cake, Have some orange peel in the background or some zest spilled off on the plate as a garnish.
- Not front lit, not back lit, but side light food looks best. To achieve this, place your plate next to a window and take the picture from the side. You can use a white foam board on the opposite side of the food from the window to rebound the light back onto the plate if one side looks too dark or is causing shadows.
What has helped you to take better pictures for your blog? Any more tips in the comments would be great!