6 Ways I Transformed My Blog Photography

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improve blog photography baby family lifestyle blog easy improve blog photography baby family lifestyle blog easy

Improving your photography is something we often expect to happen instantly when we invest in a ‘proper’ camera. Prior to buying mine, my photographic ability started and ended with a snapchat filter. I had no reason to take ‘good’ pictures, that was, until my son was born. I bought my first proper camera – a Canon 700D – only a few weeks after giving birth, and without having any knowledge as to how to actually work it, I snapped away and waited for my pictures to become groundbreaking. They did not become groundbreaking. In fact, they were considerably worse than the pictures I was taking previously on my iPhone. I made it my mission to learn how to use my camera and 6 months later I’ve finally started to see a real difference in the images I’ve been taking, I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have gone through a lot of trial and error up until now, and I thought I’d share the things I’ve learnt that have really made all of the difference.

As a quick note, a proper camera is not required to take good pictures, and this is something I do wish I’d realised earlier. There are plenty of amazing ways to work with an iPhone or a digital camera that can give just as good results, it’s simply a matter of finding the one’s that work for you. Cathryn at Little Paper Swans is the master of making iPhone shots look like they were taken on a professional camera. We can all be so quick to jump to buying the best equipment, when the reality is we just need some guidance and perseverance with what we do have. If though, your like me and couldn’t help but buy the big expensive camera and expect the pictures to fall in your lap, here’s the key things I wish I knew from the beginning.

Keep It Candid (And Sports Mode Helps) Think about the best picture you’ve taken, or the one you’ve had the most compliments on. Chances are, it wasn’t a smiley-face-to-camera-posed picture. If your like me, your favorite images are the moments that were captured candidly, mid laugh, mid movement and without any knowledge of the camera. Ditching posed ideals (as much as possible) was the best thing I’ve ever done for my photos, instead focusing on simply capturing moments. If like me you have a baby who’s candid moments are not in slow-mode – get used to capturing on sports mode with a quick shutter speed, or find the continuous shooting mode on your camera. You may end up with 100 more photos for any one moment, but your almost guaranteed to find a winner in there.

Understand Your Camera Settings This is probably the hardest part of really trying to get to grips with a camera for the first time. Even if it’s not your first camera, chances are you’ve shot in AUTO mode and have had little experience with fiddling with the real settings that can transform an image. Move to Manual, shoot in RAW, and learn about aperature. If there was three single tips I could give for starting with a new camera, it would be those. I am yet to get to grips with the settings on my camera, but I’ve spent a good few nights trawling blogs to understand these three things, and you should too.

If you can, invest in a lens I bought my first additional lens after 5 or so months with my proper canon. I bought a 50mm 1.8-f/mm on Rachel’s recommendation, and I am still yet to even come close to mastering it. It’s a fixed lens, meaning there is no ability to zoom in or out, so I do need to stand a solid 6 feet away from my child while I photograph him. This can be slightly unrealistic with a baby, so it’s yet to transform my pictures. What it has done has shown me the amazing difference even changing a lens can make. I can stand in the same position, with the same lighting and the same subject – but suddenly I have a blurry background, a brighter image and what would previously have looked flat and uninspiring, suddenly looks intentionally brilliant.

Colour, Texture and Random Objects One of the misconceptions I had when I first bought my camera was that to take the best pictures I needed my baby in front of a plain white wall. In part, this was because I was limited with what I could do outside, but mainly it was because I was scared colour, harsh details, or texture would take away from a picture. I was very much still in this mindset until very recently, but after an almost accidental experiment with out of focus flowers in the forefront of a shot, I fell in love with experimenting with different layers of a photo – it’s amazing what a bit of dimension can do. Colour is another thing I’ve often been reluctant to use within a photograph: I’ve been so caught up in Instagram themes and keeping everything white and bright that the thought of color or scenic backgrounds has been a no-go for me. Only when I began to introduce extremely bright clothes or props did I realise how important vibrancy really is. Kaye from Hello Archie wrote a brilliant post on taking good pictures in crap light, and one of her points was to take advantage of colour, something I’m aiming to do more over the next few months.

Lighting Is Everything Lighting can be the make or break factor when it comes to photos, and sometimes that is completely outwith our control. I read guide after guide about improving photography, and almost everyone cited shooting in natural daylight, or failing that, using a light box. I live in Scotland, a country renowned for the grey skies and depressing lack of light, although I have a slightly larger window of time now during summer, in the Winter, there is very little ‘day’ light to shoot with.  Google told me that the yellow tinge of the pictures taken indoors was due to may bedroom lights, and I could combat this with the artificial lighting boxes raved about by every blogger under the sun.  I don’t do product photography – if I do, it’s involving a baby, and therefore it’s counterproductive to stick him in front of an extremely large, extremely shiny distracting object. Since buying my lightbox, I’ve used it once and was face with overexposed pictures and the faff of tidying them up, and the reality is that it made absolutely no difference to my photography. The real difference has come from learning how to work with natural light. Indoors, setting up directly in front of the window with no lights on has the best results, if outside, finding a spot out of direct sunlight and in bright shade is the ideal. I used to think sunlight was a godsend for pictures, now I am very aware of the harsh light and the over exposure it causes when editing. Shooting early in the morning is the easiest way to achieve this, but not always possible.  One thing I’m yet to try is the elusive ‘Golden Hour’ – one hour before sunset, or one hour after sunrise the sun is so low in the sky that the light is soft and glowy, something we all aim for at one point. The best tip I’ve came across is to use surroundings as a natural reflector: shooting opposite a light wall or building is the perfect light reflector, no equipment necessary.

Expect shitty photos, and learn from them It’s almost inevitable that when you start to change the way you take pictures, things will get worse before they get better. It’s so easy to throw in the towel when nothing seems to be working, but getting to know your way around a camera takes time and effort, and only after a year can I consistently capture pictures that are actually in focus. Read blogs, watch videos and play with your camera until everything starts to make a little bit more sense. Amber, Hannah and Sarah are among some of my favorites for both photography inspiration and I’ve learnt a lot from trawling their posts and trying to emulate the quality if their images. One of the biggest factors in my improvement has been the inspiration from others, and I like to think this will continue.

I am no expert, but I have improved immensely and it’s all been down to trial and error. These things do take time, but with such a large amount of information available to us now at the hands of google, it doesn’t need to take quite as much time. I’ve linked a few of my favorite bloggers and resources throughout this post, but I’m always looking for more, so please do let me know your favorites too.

improve blog photography baby family lifestyle blog easy Improve Blog Photography baby family lifestyle blog easy



  • Leanne says:

    You can avoid the yellow tinged photos by setting your white balance to tungsten when shooting indoors ?

    • cuf4x says:

      Something google never told me – this would have saved me a fortune on that bloody light box thats gathering dust in my garage! But it should make a difference as we come into the Winter (i.e. next week in Scotland) and any chance of daylight goes! Thanks Leanne!

      • No problem, obviously natural light is the best and this isn’t 100% perfect but you will (hopefully!) see an improvement!

  • Right. You’ve inspired me. I will
    Hunt out my camera instructions tonight and get snapping 🙂

  • sarah says:

    some of my favorite photos ive taken are the natural ones, that i have slightly enhanced the lighting in Lightroom, which is a brilliant investment, I have a Nikon D60, and I am looking at getting a slightly newer DLSR too so I can use the bluetooth option to transfer images onto my phone as I use my phone for most of the blogging haha..

    learning how to use apps to their full potential is also a brilliant piece of advice given to me..

    great post

  • Emma says:

    Awww, these are such lovely photos and fab tips! I’ve picked up so many great tips by watching videos and tutorials online. I love playing about my camera and have found practising with wildlife photography has really helped when capturing my children. I’ve picked up so many great tips by watching videos and tutorials online.

  • Amazing post! This is just what I have been looking for!! Zoe x

  • Maisie says:

    Such an informative post! Your photos are always so lovely! Jack bought me an Olympus for my birthday and I’m still learning! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to nail it!

  • Some brilliant tips. Photography is a huge love of mine and a good photo really makes a good blog post great!

  • Anne haggerty says:

    Brilliant tips how to get better pictures.keep them coming.

  • Alice says:

    I enjoy photography so much, I get it from my dad who’s a professional photographer I think xx

  • Amber says:

    I think your work is really lovely and that your improvement over the course of this year has been quite startling – you are GOOD at this! Thank you so much for linking to me as an inspiration; I am really honoured. x

  • sarah says:

    Learning how to use the software is a must too!

  • I am honestly useless when it comes to cameras, this was so helpful. I really need to up my game with my photography x

  • Candid photos are my favourite ones. I use the burst feature on my phone all the time when taking photos hoping that one will help. I need to get to grip with my dslr – I find the manual focus the worst part as it takes me ages to change it and by then the moment has gone. I love our 24mm lens, it’s not as expensive as a 35mm and I love it for when there’s no room to step back like with the 50mm. Although it only goes down to 2.8 f-stop.

    I really need to just practise with the dslr and stop using my phone all the time. I’ll never learn otherwise.

  • Rebecca says:

    I love this post! It’s exactly what I needed to read, photography isn’t my strong point, I love taking pictures but I always feel under par compared to other bloggers. Will definitely be taking note of your tips. x

  • Sophia says:

    Really interesting and helpful post, I need all the photography tips and tricks I can get! xo

  • Good tips! Another thing I’ve found really useful is to use semi automatic settings – so using S or perhaps A instead of auto. Then it means you just have to faff with one setting and the camera deals with the rest 🙂

  • I’m an auto girl and need to get out of the habit!!

  • natalie says:

    I am going to bookmark this page. I need to learn the settings on my camera I just never have the time (there is always so much to do!!) Great post x

  • Laura dove says:

    Great tips! I’ve just got into photography this year and I agree with all of them. So many people have these big fancy cameras and just shoot in auto, getting to grips with your camera is the first step!

  • lucie says:

    I love these photos! My 50mm lens is my baby. I love it so much! I do feel like I could read a bit more about my camera and learn all the other things I can do with it and learn from most of the shitty photos I do take! Trying to take more candid photos too! Fingers crossed it works out!


  • Great tips Kirsty! You’re right about natural photos, for the first time yesterday I wasn’t stressing about getting the perfect photo and they were some of the best I’ve taken!

  • Georgina says:

    I need to stop reading this as everytime I do I want to give myself a massive kick up the photography arse!!

  • sammy Postlethwaite says:

    Great tips, you always have lovely photos! And candid photos are definitely the best. I use my camera for vlogging but always seem to take pictures on my phone. I need to start learning how to work the camera and actually use it! xx

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