The title sounds bitchy as hell, doesn’t it? This blog post is nowhere near as bitchy as it sounds like it’s going to be, but I am telling you how it is — the 7 things that ruin your blog and social media photos. And no, I’m not cussing down your photography style. Not at all. I’m just offering some advice as far as attention to detail is concerned.
Are you doing (or not doing) these things?
7 Things That Ruin Your Blog and Social Media Photos
1 – You don’t do the background check
Have you done the background check? Do you know what a background check is? It is, quite simply, the art of checking your photographic background, and let me tell you something: not enough people are doing it.
This is something that pops out at me a lot within the vaping community. A lot of the time it’s because OTHER people have commented on the state of the background in a photo.
Here’s an example: a vaper takes a photo of the vape device and eliquid he’s using that day. He has NOT checked his background and everyone notices the mould growing around the windowsill in the background. It is the ONLY thing that people notice. It’s the only thing that people talk about. They don’t even realise he’s announcing this delightful-tasting eliquid and the new review that’s on his Youtube channel.
People really should find better things to do than judge someone else’s photos (I’ll just say that first and foremost), but there is a lesson to be learned here.
👉🏻 Check. Your. Surroundings. 👈🏻
It is VERY easy to pay so much attention to stuff in the photo that everything around it becomes invisible. Invisible to only you; everyone else will notice it, and they’ll probably comment on it, too.
Before you send that photo into the world, look around the photo subject. Is there someone pulling a wedgie out in the background? Some guy pulling a stupid face in a desperate attempt to photobomb you? Maybe there’s a pile of dirty laundry in the background of that makeup product photo you took? (I did this once.)
If there’s crap in the background, crop it out. Edit it out. Move in closer. Remove the crap from the background of the photo.
2 – You’re not checking the lighting first
Lighting IS important. Why? Well, I can’t tell you the ins and outs of that because I’m not a photographer. (Ha! Have you seen my photos? It’s a learning curve. Repeat again. It’s a learning curve.)
If you take a photo without good lighting, the image will be dull, uninteresting, and uncoloured. If you throw some half-decent lighting into the mix, the image will be bright, eye-catching, and colourful. In some cases, you can fix a crappy image with editing software. I like Adobe Lightroom for that, and it really has made some super-crappy images look Instagrammable for me. Editing software can only work so far, however. Good photos start with good lighting. I don’t know a lot about photography, but I do know that decent lighting makes the world of difference.
This is a good example of bad lighting and no background check. Note the torn, scruffy edge of the backdrop in the right-hand side of the photo 👇🏻
I bought a lighting kit from Amazon for around £30 or so, and it included two lights with the biggest lightbulbs I’ve ever seen in my life. A ring light can help to brighten up those selfies, too.
This is the same photo as the one above, but with the lighting turned on 👇🏻
For more information on lighting and understanding it to take better photos, I found these other bloggers’ posts super helpful:
- Flatlay Props You Already Own
- 11 Tips for Taking Brighter Blog Photos This Winter
- 5 Tips For Mastering The Flatlay
3 – You’re too scared of editing
Hey, if there’s a wire totally ruining that photo, edit it out. There are plenty of tools you can use even if you’re not a Photoshop pro. PicMonkey, for example, has an amazing clone tool that I used to completely remove a cable that appeared on the floor in a photo of my cat once.
There’s a lot of bad press surrounding Photoshopping and editing photos, but there’s nothing wrong with upping the exposure or removing something from a photo that you don’t want to be there. I’ve seen bloggers sharing photos on Twitter where entire crowds have been removed from the background of the photo. Rainy and overcast days made to look like summer. Night made to look like day. It’s amazing what you can do with half an hour and a bit of patience.
I edited the above photo and came up with this one, which I will use on my vaping website: best-ecig.co.uk 👇🏻
4 – You’re not prop-happy enough
Got some new cute makeup brushes? Throw them in the photo. How about a new watch? New jewellery? Some pretty flowers? Fake flowers? It doesn’t matter, throw them in.
Flatlay photography is all the rage right now. I can’t get the hang of it. I think it might be the lighting that screws me up, but I’m currently reading my way through a huge list of bookmarked blog posts, all telling me how to become a flatlay genius. I’ll share the really good posts with you as and when I find them.
Even if you’re not a fan of flatlay photography, props can really make a blog or social media image. This is even more so the case around *those* times of the year — Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc. I just bought the cutest glittery pumpkins for Halloween, and I’ve started collecting pine cones to add a more autumnal feel to my images, too. Pine cones, acorns, leaves and twigs make GREAT autumnal blog props and won’t cost you a damn penny!
(P.S. Tag me or share your images with me if this blog post inspired you. I want to see what you create!)
5 – You never experiment
Some of the best photos I’ve ever taken have been absolutely by accident. I accidentally pressed the button when I cleaned the front flash part of my camera once and took the best close-up face shot. Absolutely by accident, totally the best photo of me ever.
Take photos just because you can. Take them from the top, from the bottom, up close, far away, using one setting, change the setting to another one, play around with lighting, flash on, flash off, peeking through leaves or petals, from a weird angle …
The best way to find out what works for you, in your home, and with your equipment, is to play around. Take a bazillion photos and then work out which ones you like the best. I bet you come up with at least one super creative photo that you love and can’t wait to share.
6 – You’re not taking enough photos
Okay, this might one just be MY thing, but I usually need to take about five million photos to eventually come up with seven or eight fully edited, high-quality, clear, eye-catching images that I can use on my blog.
The more photos you take, the more chance you have of taking photos you can actually use. Professional photographers take hundreds of photos before using only a few of them, and it’s an approach that has definitely helped me. My “proper” photo is never good enough — the one I actually plan to use. It’s always the photos I take before and after that “proper” one that look best.
7 – You’re being WAY too critical
My boyfriend says this to me ALL. THE. TIME.
“Your photos are fine, Kim. What are you worried about?”
“Nope. No. You just don’t understand. Even if they were fine — which they are NOT by the way — fine isn’t good enough.”
I was so critical of the photos I took for a while (about a year) that I didn’t blog or post to social media at all. I’m still really critical of my photos, because they just don’t look like the best bloggers’ photos do, but I’m trying not to give myself too much of a hard time. It’s all cool. I’m learning. Not fast enough for my liking sometimes, but I’m still learning.
You might want to give yourself a bit of an easier time, too. You’ll be surprised by how fast your social media accounts and blogs grow when you actually start sharing stuff on them …
There is no RIGHT or WRONG way to take photos for your blog or social media, but these are little things that people like me notice. My boyfriend is a sucker for that kind of detail, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard: “‘Ere, look at these dirty fingernails!”
What have YOU noticed in other people’s photos on blogs and social media platforms? If you could give advice to bloggers or businesses, from a reader/consumers perspective, what would you want to say? I’m interested to learn more. There’s a space for all of your thoughts and comments below 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻
Thanks so much for reading today, folks. I hope the rest of your day is bloomin’ marvellous!
Further resources + reading:
- Are You Using Your Blog Posts for Social Media Content?
- 66+ Halloween Blog Post Ideas
- 4 Things You Definitely Shouldn’t Do With Your SEO Blog Keywords