Location: Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii
One of the most frequent comments I get after each blog post is how beautiful my photos are (thank you so much for those lovely comments!) and for awhile people would ask me if I travel with a photographer. I wish! Seriously, I can't tell you how much this makes me happy because my husband (the other half behind the lens) and I are self-taught in this department. I took a basic Groupon class to learn how to use my DSLR camera, taught him and went from there. In our world with so many social platforms where beautiful photos are accessible and easily shared, bad, grainy and low resolution photos are just not going to cut it, at least if you want your readers to be engaged, subscribe to your blog, and gain followers and likes. For me personally, photographs serve as an inspiration, whether I am researching for my next travel destination, looking for a recipe to try or simply perusing for an outfit or craft idea. Having that said, I usually skip on blogs and blog post with uninspiring photos for those reasons mentioned above. So here are my top 10!
TIP 1. Know your gear. Whether that is a DSLR camera or an I phone or both, get familiarized with them. For those who have a DSLR camera collecting dust, this is the time to get your hands on it. Sure, you won't have perfect pictures right away, some may even be under or overexposed, some out of focused, but it is a start. You will only get better from there and I am pretty sure your pictures will be superior over the photos taken with an I phone. A couple years ago, I visited Santorini, Greece and finally delved in to using my DSLR camera. Sadly, I didn't get the blurry background shots I really wanted because I was lacking the technical skills and the know hows of operating a DSLR camera, but looking at these photos I think they still turned out beautifully. See it here. Hands down my gear of choice will always be my DSLR camera over an I phone. There is just no comparison to the quality of photos taken. So whatever your choice of gear is, just make sure you invest the time to learn everything you can with your camera of choice to improve on your photography.
TIP 2. Know what kind of photography you like. For me that means photos with blurry backgrounds also known as short or shallow depth of field. This kind of photography creates a dream like quality that I am really drawn to. Learn more about it here. Because my blog is travel focused with a sprinkle of fashion added to it, I like to mix blurry backgrounds photos with clear backgrounds as well. After all, I want my readers to have a good picture of the locale I am in as if they were there walking along with me. Another reason I favor this type of photography is because more often than not, I am sharing the same spot with other people when I am taking photographs. The last time I visited the Louvre, it was swarmed with tourists and I couldn't get a single picture of the subject (me) with one of the pyramids without them. The ability to blur them out takes a ho-hum, "tourist" picture to something a tad more artistic. Unless of course you are trying to capture the tourists to perhaps show how truly busy the Louvre could get, then that would be a different story. See that picture here. When I do want to show a photo showing all the details in a clear manner, this is where I think my I phone comes in very handy. I do this quite often, saving me from bringing along another lens. You see the difference?
TIP 3. Allot some time to edit your photos. Believe it or not, almost all photos you see are edited, some better than others. If you do not, you should too. The idea is to take a beautiful photo, slightly enhance or correct it, but never the other way, meaning taking a bad photo and crossing your fingers hoping photoshop or other editing tools could fix it. My most favorite editing program is Adobe Lightroom here. For I phones I use the Photoshop Express app. I really like it because it has the feature "noise" which means you can edit the graininess you see in photos taken in low lighting conditions. Fixing the noise instantly makes pictures more professional looking and tremendously improves its quality. While we are on the subject of editing, editing is really a personal choice. While others tend to edit with lots of whites and beautiful may I add like seen in fellow Dallas blogger So Then They Say Blog Instagram feed here, I tend to edit my photos according to the colors the way I remember seeing it. When I took the photo below, the sky had a beautiful display of violet and lilac colors. I added a bit of white and a tint of purple to slightly enhance it and left it pretty much the same to keep the integrity of the photo. While none of these photos had a filter on it, should you decide to use one, just remember to choose your filter wisely and consider the mood you want to evoke when using them.
TIP 4. Go for optimal lighting conditions. Nothing like photography in natural light, it is beautiful to say the least. The golden or magic hours are an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. Try to avoid the midday sun. In my experience, these photos are always the hardest to edit because the sun causes harsh shadows that are really difficult to fix. When the sun is high up I find the subjects often squinting. If you don't have a choice, try placing the subject with the sun behind. While on the subject of lighting, weather almost go hand in hand with this. While blogging this post, it is currently raining here in Dallas. I can't tell you how disappointed I am because I had plans on going on a short road trip to see the bluebonnets that are blooming here in north Texas. While the rain normally wouldn't stop me from doing so, lightning storms are just a different story. You may ask why go when it is raining? Well, that is because dark clouds are mysterious, moody and quite photogenic. Nothing like a blown sky to render a blah photo. See more examples here.
TIP 5: Get up close! Ok, when you are my age you really don't want anything that close unless you are under a wide brimmed hat (wink). Seriously, get close, even closer than the photo below. Go ahead, snap a picture of the wide-tooth grin if you are shooting portraits, show off details of that beautiful Louboutin shoes. Found a fossilized rock? Snap a shot of it!
This hat for only $37!
TIP 6: Add perspective. Get down on your knees, on your belly, stand on a chair, or shoot from above. You'll be amazed how perspective can change your photography. Also, look for some depth, perhaps a row of umbrellas and lounge chairs backed with a canopy of coconut trees.
TIP 7. Always toward the view. If you are thinking everything in Maui is a view, you are right! This sounds like common sense, but I sometimes forget about it. If lighting permits, remember, always place your subject towards a view. More importantly, share that view with your readers. So if you are gazing at something, or facing a certain direction, share with them what you are looking at. This tip can be easily applied to any subject. Cooked up a meal? Photograph it with your beautiful kitchen as the background, or perhaps next to a beautiful place setting.
Romper 40% off and is under $50 here.
TIP 8: Take detailed photos. My husband jokes around and tells me that this is my most favorite types of photos. I think he is right. Don't forget to take images that will remind of you of the trip. Remember, sometimes it is the small things that count!
TIP 9: Have fun! My best photos are the ones the came organically. When your are relaxed you best bet your subjects will be too. Remember, gone are the days when film was used to capture images. If your pictures don't turn out quite right, just keep snapping away until you get that perfect shot.
TIP 10: Tell a story with your photography. They say a picture is a worth a million words. Hopefully without having to narrate my experience here, I was able to convey my morning walk at Wailea beach with you.
So, that is it. Easy tips for better photography that every blogger and non-blogger could use. Please let me know if you have other tips and questions. I would love to hear them.
Thank you for reading!