It’s no secret that the world of blogging is becoming more and more visual. There are content creators out there that can literally make their entire career and income solely from Instagram (lucky buggers), with minimal writing required. There’s no escaping the fact that the visual side of blogging is super important, maybe just as important as the writing content in a post. But what is the best route to take in order to achieve those Insta worthy snaps? Hire a photographer? Rope your boyfriend in to help you, or just whack your camera on a tripod and hope for the best? There are so many avenues you can take when it comes to photography for your blog, it’s really up to you to decide what you think is the best option for you.
When I started out with my blog and my Instagram I took all my photos on my phone. My phone is absolute crap by the way, but it was a start. I would spend my weekend mornings dragging our little white draws from our bathroom to the kitchen, plonking them in front of the window in an attempt to get some decent lighting and try the whole ‘flat lay’ thing. To be honest these pictures didn’t come out too bad, not amazing, but not awful. They served a purpose. If I wasn’t doing this, I was stood under the bedroom curtain (for light/white backdrop purposes of course) in an attempt to take a decent picture of my makeup. Again, not easy with a crappy phone with a crappy camera (by the way, using your phone to take pictures for Insta may not be the worst idea ever, but we’ll get onto that later). 9 times out of 10 of me doing this Kenny would walk in like ‘What are you doing?!’ err nothing….
Reach out to fellow local bloggers
As I started to get more and more into fashion blogging, I realised I was probably going to need some assistance. With no camera or a tripod, outfit pictures are tricky to get. I do have a lovely boyfriend but he has no interest in photography and wasn’t prepared to give up valuable time at the weekend to take pictures of me oh so candidly, and I’m not sure I blame him to be honest. I know plenty of bloggers whose husbands/boyfriends are happy to help with blog photography but it just isn’t up Kenny’s street, and that’s totally fine. So unless I was going to start asking strangers in the street to take pictures of me, (which to be honest, wasn’t an idea I was crazy about), I knew I was going to have to seek some help.
I thought it would be best to reach out to a like-minded blogger gal, who would know what kind of shots I wanted and who would be willing to help me out. I take their pictures and they take mine kinda deal. I had been following Sophie on Insta for a while by this point, and even though we had never met we were both based in Norwich and from exchanging comments on each other’s posts I knew she was bloody lovely, so I decided to reach out to her and see if she was interested in helping each other out in taking a few snaps for Insta, blog etc. To my relief, she didn’t think I was a weirdo stalker and she said she’d love to, and that was how my fashion blogging ‘journey’ started really. We would meet up at the weekends when we both had a few spare hours and take a few pictures, and on top of that, it was great to have someone to talk to about blogging as I didn’t have any other blogger pals to discuss these kinds of topics with.
I would say this is a great place to start if you’re stuck on how to get some pictures for your blog, as scary as it is, there will always be other bloggers in your area just like you wanting to buddy up with someone to take some snaps. It’s a great way to make new blogger friends in your area and you both gain from the content from a couple of hours shooting so it’s a win-win situation! Sophie was the first blogger friend I made, and we still meet up now to shoot from time to time and see what each other is up to on our blogs and what we have coming up etc. I think blogging can feel like a bit of an embarrassing thing to talk about with people who don’t also have a blog, so it’s great to be able to talk so freely about it to someone who gets it.
Work with a professional photographer
For a while, the pictures I took with Sophie made up the majority of my content, and I was perfectly happy with is. However, where I lacked was in direction – where to look, how to stand etc (I ain’t no model), also photo editing is not my forte so this was where I thought working with a photographer could be useful. I knew Katie before I asked her if she would help me with blog photography, as I had worked as a makeup artist on shoots with her in the past. I knew I loved her work and that we got on like a house on fire, and these were 2 very important things for me. When working with a professional photographer, it’s really important that you’re confident you and the photographer can work well together. I know for me, having my picture taken has never been an easy thing. I have never felt confident in front of a camera, so when I decided to work with a photographer I knew it would have to be someone I felt comfortable with and who would make me feel at ease.
I was lucky I already knew a few local photographers from working in makeup, but if you’re someone who would be meeting a photographer for the first time, I would recommend asking to meet them for a coffee before your first shoot. If you’re paying for their services, you can then let them know what you’re hoping to get out of the shoot, and what your expectations are. Also make sure you agree on the rate, how many hours you plan on shooting for and how many photos you are able to have at the end. Some professional photographers may also ask you to sign a contract, which is totally normal, just make sure you read through it all and don’t be afraid to query anything you’re unsure of. Contracts aren’t there to catch you out, they’re there as security for both you and the photographer!
If you are working with a photographer on an unpaid basis (sometimes known as tfp basis) then it might be the case that photographer may also want to have a say on how the pictures look, as they might want to use the images for their own portfolios, but this again is something you should agree upon before the shoot. The main thing when working with a photographer whether you’re paying them or not, is that you need to be happy and comfortable. If after one shoot with a photographer you’re unsure about it or you didn’t enjoy it, then don’t waste your time or your money on another shoot. The pictures aren’t worth it if you don’t enjoy taking them! Shooting should be a fun process in creating content for your blog or Instagram, not something to dread.
I think the main benefit to working with a photographer is the consistency it provides. Most photographers will have their way of doing things, whether it’s an editing style or a certain angle they like to capture, and this can help your Instagram feed look a bit more uniform, even if you’re like me and don’t particularly have a theme, everything will flow a bit better if all your pictures are the same kinda style.
Photographers have a good eye for locations and backdrops for pictures, and like I touched on before they are great for giving direction if you’re like me and feel awkward AF in front of a camera, working with the right photographer can really put you at ease. They’re not going to care if someone walks past, so you start to not care either. Yes, it’s fucking weird when you start out, standing in the street with someone pointing a camera at you while you try to master the ‘oh are you taking a picture of me? I had no idea’ pose, but you learn to get used to it.
Go it alone
I was surprised to learn recently actually how many bloggers do entirely their own photography, and you would never know. If you own a tripod and you’re confident enough to go out with it then it’s totally possible that you can take all your own pictures, and they can look bloody amazing. I recently spent a bit of money on buying my own camera, with the intention of taking more of my own pictures in my flat, more product shots etc. I basically wanted something that was a step up from my phone camera (have I mentioned my phone camera is crap?). I have tried to take a couple of snaps of myself in my flat, and the result wasn’t terrible, it might have been better if I learnt how to use the settings outside of auto, but for now auto is fine until I have the patience to learn the settings in detail (ISO, aperture?? What do these things mean?!)
To be honest with you, owning a fancy camera is not even necessary in order to get great photos, especially for Instagram. Fashion blogger Sophie Milner recently discussed on an episode if Keeping It Candid (if you’re not familiar then get familiar!) that she only posts pictures on her Instagram that are taken on a phone, and she now has over 100k followers so the chick must be doing something right! My point is don’t feel disheartened if you don’t own a ‘proper’ camera, phone cameras these days are bloody fantastic so there’s no reason why you can’t gain a following on Instagram just with phone pictures, as according to Sophie posting phone only photos to Instagram is a credit to her success on that platform.
I really don’t think there is a right or wrong way to go about getting great photos for your blog. There are countless ways you can achieve great content, it’s all about finding which method works best for you! How do you take photos for your blog? I would love to hear how you go about your blog photography!
Thanks for reading!
Photography Katie Jade Photography