Etc. / Tutorials

The Dos and Don’ts of Blogging Photography

Ever feel like you can’t get on schedule with your blog? That’s me lately. Ever since I moved, my life has been pretty chaotic, so I apologize for not sticking to my normal Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule the past few weeks. Anyway, today I wanted write something just for the bloggers: my tips on photographing for your beauty blog.

Taken on an iPhone

Taken on an iPhone

You don’t have to buy an expensive camera. Sometimes when I look at other people’s blogs and the quality of their photography, I get a little bummed. No matter how good of a photographer you are, it’s hard for your iPhone pictures to compete with someone who took their photos on a DSLR. The good news is, you don’t have to compete. I use a mix of iPhone and the digital camera I’ve gotten from 2008 and I’ve still gotten compliments. As long as your pictures are good otherwise, and not in completely flip phone photo quality resolution, readers will forgive you. Which brings me to my other tips for how to take a good picture.

When lighting cooperates

When lighting cooperates

An example of lighting not cooperating

An example of lighting not cooperating

Lighting is key. Above are examples of good and bad lighting, but you probably don’t need the caption to tell you which is which. Lighting has this unique ability to make your pictures look either clear or grainy. In dim light, color fades away and shapes become fuzzy. Ironically, this doesn’t mean that bright sunlight is any better. Bright sunshine can also wash out color. Just imagine taking a selfie on a bright, cloudless day and turning your face directly toward the sun. If you’re like me, your eyebrows will completely disappear on screen. The best lighting, in my experience, has been a sunny day with a few fluffy clouds when indoors, and more fluffy clouds when outdoors. The sun should be high enough in the sky that it doesn’t cast harsh shadows on your face from odd angles. And yes, if you don’t have a professional camera, natural lighting is your friend.

Spring Lip Colors

Keep backgrounds simple. I generally prefer to keep backgrounds completely plain, but due to the lighting situation described above, that’s not always possible. Sometimes catching that great lighting means I can’t photograph against that plain, white wall I want to. It’s not a big deal if you can’t get a completely blank background, as long as you remember not to make the background distracting. We’ve all seen the pictures of the girls on the internet who look super cute, but left a pile of laundry in the corner and made us think “clean your room!” Some people will also use props, but I’m not at that level yet, so if you have experience using props, leave me your tips in the comments below!

colourpop chella swatch

Chella

Products look better on than off. This is a simple one, but it goes far. Chances are, I’ve seen your lipstick in the tube before. If I’m checking out your blog, it’s because I want to see how it looks on you. You don’t have to do full face swatches (I don’t) but I think it’s important to remember that people want to see how the product will look.

Thank you so much for reading! These are my tips so far, but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, so please tell me your tips in the comments below and have a fantastic day!

PS- Check out my other posts on blogging

Beauty Blogging 101

Working With Brands

Blogger Freebie Programs

Should You Do a Giveaway

No, I Will Not Promote Your Product for Free

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51 thoughts on “The Dos and Don’ts of Blogging Photography

  1. Great post! Do you recommend any other lip products? Could you also check out my blog, and follow it if you like it? Thank you, and I love your blog by the way, and will check in to see new post! 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I also have issues with that. Sometimes the photograph will look good too, but I know the colors aren’t true to real life, so I have to shoot it again.

    • Haha, I know that feeling! I just moved from an apartment with great lighting to one without. For now I’m taking my photography outside, but who knows what I’ll do when the weather gets too cold. The struggle is real!

  2. Great advice! I personally prefer full face swatches but I would rather see it on your lips than just in the tube. You’re so on point with everything here!

    • Thanks Kaily. I think a lot of people prefer full face swatches, but it takes me a longgg time to get a good selfie so if I have to swatch more than one lippie, forget it, haha.

      • Bahah, I don’t blame you. That’s why I hardly review lipsticks. But at the end of the day ANY swatch is better than a tube. You had me laughing when you said you’ve probably already seen the lipstick in the tube at the store, lol.

  3. I spent a long time trying to find the perfect place in my tiny 1br apartment to take product photos. I’ve now found it and will be moving in about two weeks. So frustrating!! haha! You’re so right, though. with these tips. Honestly, the fancy DSLR photos are pretty, but I still like non pro photos, too, provided that the lighting is nice and the background works with the product(s).

  4. Lighting is the biggest one. I have a DSLR, but I actually favor my point and shoot more, because it’s easier to use and not so clunky. I take my pictures right next to a big window, so I can catch lots of natural light. I use a display board to keep my background white, and I have another little white board to bounce light back from the side furthest away from the window, to get everything lit evenly.

    Another big one for me is proper focus!! It drives me crazy when I see blurry product pictures! Most point and shoots have a macro function, and for the most part, the automatic mode picks up your subject and focuses on it 9 times out of 10. I have a Canon point and shoot, and there is even a macro tracking feature, for more accuracy.

  5. 🙂 Thank you for this post! I try to keep things simple, but as you said, it’s not always easy. I like good photos, but I’m not willing to shlep a big ole fat camera with me everywhere so I use a little one and hope it does the trick, too.
    Have a very HAPPY day! 🙂

  6. This was very helpful. I’m always on the look out for articles such as this. I need all the help I can get and this gives a ton. Do you have any other posts that discuss tips on good blogging?

    • Yes, they’re linked at the bottom of the post 🙂 I also know other bloggers leave good suggestions in the comments section a lot. Thanks for checking this out and have a great weekend.

  7. Great post! I want a DSLR, both for my blog but also for school, but I can’t afford one right now. I’m half tempted to try my finicky old point and shoot from 2009 instead of my iPhone. I already know how important lighting can be, but it’s so hard! A lot of times I get strong shadows from my windows, though, because the light (even when it’s indirect) is too strong at too low an angle.

    • You should see how your point and shoot works. I have a point and shoot that’s older than yours that I use for most of my pictures. The macro setting works really well for photographing products. 🙂 Isn’t lighting a pain? Someone above suggested using a second white board to bounce the light off of. That might work

  8. Great tips. Yes I love swatches and seeing the products on! Always so helpful. I like to post swatches of things and even things that aren’t as popular or current in the blogging world just because I know so many people search for swatches online and it’s helpful when posts come up 🙂

    • I appreciate that! It seems like some products get swatched to death (Mac lipsticks), but when I search for other products, I turn up nothing. I hope you’re doing well. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you

      • Exactly. Thank you! Yeah I’m usually around on my phone more than the computer but that makes it hard to find certain people just because of the mobile layout…so when I was on the computer yesterday I wanted to find you and stop by 🙂

  9. Pingback: Blogging 101: Building a Fan Base | Say Hello to Gorgeous

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