At this very moment, I have 3126 photos on my phone and over 800 on the memory card of my camera. That, to put it lightly, is a shit ton of pictures. I’ve always had a love of photo taking, though I am by no means overly skilled at it. But I am also 100% that person that
needs loves to document as much of life as possible. In the past few years we have done a lot of traveling, been to some great concerts, eaten some incredible meals, and then, of course, there is the blog. All of these things need to be captured! And yes, I do go back and look at my photos. Constantly.
When it came to the blog, I started out by using stock photos thinking that I might hire a professional to take certain shots for me, and then quickly realized my budget was better spent on myself — purchasing and learning how to use the right equipment to get the original photos I wanted. Here are 4 key things that I have tried out in the past 2 years that have seriously upped my photo game:
1- Upgrade to a DSLR
Consider upgrading from a point-and-shoot or SLR to a DSLR to allow for more personalization and control over your photos. Granted, you are unlikely to upgrade and then become an instant pro due to an overwhelming amount of settings and options, but there are so many great online courses you can take to get a handle on basic settings to get frame-worthy pics, there’s really no excuse 😉 Do NOT upgrade to a DSLR and then keep your settings on the run-of-the-mill automatic; you will be doing yourself a huge disservice. I have been a Canon gal, myself. For no reason other than that’s what I learned on. Nikon also has some great options. I currently use the Canon EOS 80D (because it is my dad’s and I am basically “borrowing” it permanently, lol) but have my eye on a newer Canon Rebel with the ability to wirelessly transfer pics between my camera, phone, and computer.
2- Try out a Prime Lens
Do you love those Instagram photos with a clear focused subject and blurry background (otherwise known as depth of field)? Test out a prime lens, like a classic 50mm (also known as the nifty fifty). Prime lenses are super fun to shoot with and require you to move closer or further from your subject, unlike the auto zoom functions on other lenses. Think of the iPhone portrait mode… it’s basically an idiot-proof prime lens because it tells you to move where is ideal for the photo. The only drawback is that it can be too tight of a range for certain subjects. Amazing for people and portraits. If you want to save a few bucks and learn the ins and outs of the style of lens, I recommend trying the Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens listed below. It is a good learning substitute, though the pictures are noticeably clearer with a higher-end lens like the Canon 50mm f/1.8.
3- Consider your Lighting Source
Your light source and position change everything. It has the ability to elevate an otherwise questionable shot or to ruin a gorgeous setup. If you are a lighting beginner, do a test with your phone. Open up your front camera (gasp! beware front camera face!) and do a 360 watching how the angle of your face and the natural light changes as you rotate. It’s not that one angle is wrong, per se, it completely depends on what kind of look you are going for. Some bloggers are all about the ring light, but I personally like using continuous softbox lighting for different effects. I would recommend to try out a single light first before branching out into a whole set. They are super easy to setup and allow you more flexibility for angles, intensity, and effect.
4- Stock up on Portable Phone Accessories
Let’s face it, the cameras on mobile phones are now ALL better than most digital point-and-shoots. With the breakthrough of offering mirrored lenses (again, think iPhone portrait mode) we are able to photograph at a level higher than ever before. I use my phone for 75% of my photos and video. I have had some creative setups, let me tell you. Duct taping my phone onto the vacuum handle, setting a timer, and running into my spot was a highlight in my early blogging career. Now, I have a phone stand that comes up about 40″ with a remote. Game. Changed. I own both stands listed below, and both are useful. The octopus style stand can attach to anything, and the monopod breaks off into a selfie stick (if anyone uses those anymore) but has 3 different heights as well as attachments for a GoPro and small video camera.
Let me know if you end up trying any of these, and what you think! Have some other photo accessory recommendations for me? Share with me in the comments 🙂
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