How I Create Clear Bright Photos
For My Blog
I still remember my very first flatlay. I was so proud of myself! I'd spent hours arranging my props in different ways, changing backgrounds, and shooting some more.
Once I saw them side by side with other flatlays on Pinterest, I came to a horrible realization. My photos were…grey. They weren't light and bright and airy like all of the beautiful ones on Pinterest. Big bummer.
As time went on and I got more and more experience setting up flatlay work boards, my photos steadily improved. They no longer had shadows, dark spots, or an overall grey tone. I cracked the code, and now I want to share my secrets with you!
#1. Use A Light Box
My first and biggest tip for creating bright white photos is to use a light box. A light box is essentially a large white box that encases your props to eliminate shadows and brighten every angle of your photo.
You can buy professional light boxes, or you can simply use three or four pieces of white foam board and tape them together to create an open faced box. Foam board will only run you a buck or two a piece, so it's a super cheap and effective way to get great lighting in your photos.
Shoot In Natural Light
Okay, I lied. This one is actually my biggest tip! There really is no substitute for shooting in natural light. It's simply the best for combating that yellow color that you get from indoor photos.
That being said, you really want to avoid direct sunlight. Harsh sunlight will not only wash out your props, but it will create intense shadows as well.
Overcast days are pretty much the cream of the crop when it comes to lighting. That perfectly gray sky creates a completely even white light from every direction.
Of course, I live in the Pacific Northwest where we have many overcast days, so this works for me. If you live somewhere that is primarily sunny, try setting up your photo shoot inside a doorway or next to a bright window where the light is filtered through.
Use Light Stands to Boost the Brightness
If you want to get those crystal clear, perfectly bright white photos, it's a great idea to add some stage lights if you have them.
I bought these light stands from Amazon and I found that they are good for adding a little extra boost and light. However, they aren't powerful enough to light up a dark room on their own, so I use them in addition to natural light.
Use A DSLR Camera
Tons of bloggers will tell you that the camera on your smartphone is perfectly good enough for taking blog photos.
I'll be honest with you though. If you truly want your business and brand to stand out online, a camera phone just isn't going to cut it anymore. A few years ago, it would have.
But now that everyone and their mother is using their smartphone to take blog photos, it's become the standard. Your smartphone will take good enough photos, but it's not going to create those scroll stopping images that grab your clients and make them desperate to work with you.
So if you already have a good DSLR, or you know someone who might lend you theirs, use it! With thousands of new blogs going up every single day, visual branding is becoming more important every single day. And you can create some fantastic photos with a good DSLR and the right lighting.
I could write an entire manual on how to use your camera to take the right photos, but for brevity's sake I'll give you my top tips here.
Keep your ISO setting below 500. Anything above that will create grainy photos when you zoom in.
Use a tripod. Even if you have a steady hand, a tripod is going to create those perfectly crystal clear in focus images you're dying to have.
Try to keep your shutter speed above 1/100 of a second. If you must go lower than that, make absolutely sure you are using a tripod or you will definitely have blurry photos.
Brighten Them Up in Post Editing
My last and favorite tip is to brighten them up in post! There are both free and paid editing softwares you can use to create gorgeous photos. I use PicMonkey to do a lighter editing (and it's free!), and Lightroom to do the heavy lifting.
Keep in mind however, post process editing isn't going to fix a crappy photo. I always do my best to get my camera settings and lighting as good as possible when I'm actually shooting, and then use post-editing to spruce them up a little bit more.
How to Make Time to Shoot Your Own Blog Photos
Let's be real. Shooting blog photos takes a lot of time! From rounding up your props to styling them to shooting different variations and then editing them, it can take days to get one batch of great flatlays.
Here are a few tips to help you make the best of the time you have. And if you'd rather save yourself a few hours this week, make sure to grab my free pack of 10 gorgeous flatlays at the bottom of this post!
Tip #1. Batch your photos
The absolute best way to get the most photos out of each shooting session is to batch them! Try to go in with a plan in mind of which props you will use for each style of photo, and then try to shoot as many variations as you can in a one or two hour time period.
I also recommend that you batch the editing! Instead of editing each single photo as you need it, give yourself a few hours to edit all of them at once and save them to your desktop for future use.
Tip #2. Round up all of your props before you get started.
The worst thing you can do for your creativity is stare at a blank work board and wonder what to put on it.
Before you start shooting, gather up every single prop you want to use and put it on a table next to your work space. I promise this will save you a ton of time and sanity when you can quickly and easily grab the props you need.
Tip #3. Save yourself the hassle and get a styled stock membership instead.
Yep, here's my shameless plug.
If you already have a million things on your to-do list and not enough time to do it all, consider joining a styled stock collection instead! For less than the cost of a prop or two, you can get 40+ professionally done styled stock images sent to your inbox each month. Perfect for your blog posts, headers, social media, content upgrades, and everything in between.