How To Take Better Photos For your Blog Using Your Phone + Free Checklist!

How to Take Better Photographs for your blog using your phone

You don’t have to have a fancy camera to take beautiful photographs for your blog. You can use your phone’s built-in camera, and with a few tips, you too can produce pretty photos to take your blog to the next level. Even though I own professional photography gear, sometimes I just want the ease of snapping a shot right in the moment. And a lot of the time when inspiration strikes, I don’t want to be fiddling around with settings and then end up missing the perfect shot. A lot of the images I produce for my blog are styled and I don’t have the time to get my camera, set it up, export the images to my computer, edit and then finally upload them to my blog. I find that using my iPhone and a few, easy-to-use (and free!) apps, I am able to produce pretty pictures that only take a few minutes to put together. Today I want to share with you how you can do the same.

All the images below were taken on my iPhone 4S and edited with VSCOCam to give them a grainy, film-like texture.

1. Clean your Lens


As with any camera, if your lens is dirty, your photographs aren’t going to come out very clear. It’s such a simple tip and yet has made the biggest change on images taken with my phone. Think about where you phone goes, and now think about the last time you wiped your camera lens clean. If this gives you the shivers, like it did to me, then whip out a piece of cloth and get wiping!

2. Natural Light


Wherever possible, use natural light. I take the majority of my photographs (using both my DSLR & my iPhone) during the day and try as much as possible to maximise the soft, natural light that comes through a window. Harsh midday light is just as hard to work with as a flash, whereas natural light, the kind that streams through a window, produces soft, clean images.

3. Click to Focus


On the iPhone camera app (the standard camera app that comes with the iPhone), there is a yellow square that automatically appears when you want to take a photo. This is your focus setting. You can allow the phone to automatically adjust the focus, or you can over-ride this by clicking where you want to focus when you take a photograph. This is especially useful when you want to create a slightly blurry background, with something in the picture in focus. I often use click-to-focus when I am photographing macro-type shots of make-up and stationery.

4. Self-Timer


I only found out about the self-timer feature on my iPhone when I updated my IOS to the latest version. This is especially handy when you want to take a ‘selfie’. Don’t forget to click to focus before you take the shot to ensure that your face is perfectly in focus and not blurry. 

5. Use a Tripod

Using a tripod (or any home-made version of a tripod) will stabilize your camera and help to avoid camera shake. It can be so frustrating when you set up the perfect shot, click to focus, and then bump the phone by accident and the photograph ends up coming out blurry. I often just use a book and wedge a drinks coaster underneath the phone to adjust the angle (and then set up the self-timer to get the perfect shot).

6. Avoid the Zoom


Especially on the iPhone built-in camera, when you use the zoom it decreases the quality of the photograph. Rather use your own built-in zoom (ie. your feet!) and position yourself to be nearer, or further away from your subject. Unless you have a snazzy new phone, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the iPhone 6, I would suggest avoiding all use of the zoom.

7. Background


Using a white background when shooting any product produces beautiful, professional looking shots. The white offsets all other colors and is always complimentary. It looks crisp and clear and really helps to make your subject stand out. Textured backgrounds also work well for product photography, but I find they can also distract from your subject. I have yet to take a photograph on a plain, white background that I didn’t like. 

How to take better photographs for your blog using your phone

8. Angles


Play around with angles. Have fun and go crazy with high and low, close up and far away shots. Use your body to zoom in on particular items if you are styling photographs for you blog. It’s okay to cut off parts of items, and this works particularly well when I shoot make-up or stationery. Consider the two photographs below. The one on the left is the full image, and the one on the right has been cropped therefore removing parts of the image. Can you see the difference? None of the props have been changed and the lighting is the same. The only difference is the angle.

How to take better photos for your blog using your phone

9. Apps


There are so many amazing apps you can use to really make your images pop, from overlaying text to added film effects or textures. My favourite go-to apps are:
– VSCOCam for editing the colour, brightness, cropping, straightening and adding film-like overlays.
– Studio for adding text and graphics.
– ABeautifulMess for hand-drawn overlays and creating collages
– Instagram for connecting with other creatives and sharing my images.
*All of the above apps come in Android and IOS versions.

10. Delete


There really is no point in having 10 of the same image. Be thorough and delete any and all of the ‘extra’ photographs so as to avoid wasting storage space and also to avoid having duplicates. The amount of times I upload the ‘not quite perfect’ image into a blog post and then realise I have to go back and search for the right photo is just annoying. And then I realise I often delete the perfect one and end up having to re-create my images again. Deleting all the nonsense saves you time and will make your life that much easier when it comes to blogging.

How to take better photographs for your blog using your phone

Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Taking photographs should be fun, and with all the great apps out there that are free and easy to use, blogging no longer has to be boring. With just a few minutes of practicing and playing around with your phone, your photographs can look just as good as the pros, and will take your blogging to the next level. I hope you found these tips useful. If you’d like to find out more about the apps I’ve mentioned above you can pop on over to my blog where I have reviewed the Studio App {Click Here} and the ABeautifulMess App {Click Here}.

To help you remember all these tips I've created a FREE printable checklist. It's in my FREE resource library, along with a whole bunch more resources AND free stock photographs just for you. Join the library by clicking the image below:

How to style photographs for your blog

How to style your own photographs for your blog

This post is all about helping you create beautiful photographs for your blog, using tools that you already have around the house. I want to show you that you don't need to have a big, fancy camera to create pretty pictures.  All of these photographs have been shot using an Iphone 4S, and when edited, they have been edited in Instagram.

The most important part of blog posts for me, is the images and photographs that go along with the text. If a blog post has terrible photographs, now matter how good their content is, I tend to move on to the next one and probably won't go back. I am a very visual person, and tend to skim over long, wordy blog posts but if a blog has pretty, creative photographs I can spend hours pouring over the details of the photo's, and I'm always left feeling inspired for my own blog. So this post is going to give you some tips for styling your photographs and making them look beautiful, without the need for any fancy equipment.

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Step 1 {Think}

Think about the type of photograph you want to take. Are you going for soft and whimsical, or clear and bright? The kind of photo you want to create will determine the sorts of props you will need to make it happen. I wanted to create images images for this blog post that made use of the pretty bits if stationery I have. Most of my stationery colours are pastel and so I decided to go for a muted, warm feeling and added a candle for a little extra ambiance. If you want to style photographs for a recipe post, think about bright colours (possibly adding a variety utensils/fruit/bowls/chopping boards to the mix to give it a kitcheny feel). 

Step 2 {Studio Space}

The base for most styled shoots is a white background/surface so as not to distract from the actual content of your photograph. White also reflects light and when paired with natural light (place your products near a big window for the best natural light) creates a beautiful, soft glow and always looks very professional. I used 2 pieces of white foam board from my local stationery store. One piece for the 'table' or rather to cover my horrible green crates that I use for height, and then I used the other for the background in some of my images. When I didn't use the white board for the background I made sure to set up my 'studio' with a simple section of wallpaper in our apartment.

My studio (unedited). As you can see, you really don't need anything fancy. I used these crates instead of the table as I could move them to the big natural light source in our bedroom.

My studio (unedited). As you can see, you really don't need anything fancy. I used these crates instead of the table as I could move them to the big natural light source in our bedroom.

Step 3 {Play}

Now that you've got your space set up you need to play around with your props until you are happy. Try different angles, try playing with height, move objects around. The options are endless. This is the best and the worst part of styling for me. I love making things look pretty, but sometimes it can take up to 20 tries before I am happy with the photo's. 

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Once you feel you've got some great photos, delete the ones you don't like (there's no use having 50 photographs of the same thing when you only need about 5 - 10 good ones). 

Styling your photographs is easy...you don't even need to be a very creative person, just play round with your props and have fun! You can read about more tips and apps for editing your phone pictures by clicking here and here.

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{Studio} My current favorite photo editing app

Studio Favourite App to Add Text To Photos

"What Instagram Did For Photography, This App Will Do For Design" Mashable

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I love how easy it is for me to share pretty content with my readers through my iPhone camera. Of course, the quality is nowhere near as good as my fancy Nikon. But, it's so fast, easy to edit (with fantastic apps like Instagram and A Beautiful Mess…click here for more tips on those apps) and most importantly, it's so easy to share content, that a lot of what I do post here on my blog has been taken and put together with just my phone.

Today I want to share with you my new favorite app. It's called Studio and it's free. You're welcome.

The app has a whole bunch of free 'packs' of text/quote overlays/images/graphics that are organized by theme. You download them right through the app and they appear in your 'Overlay' folder ready for use. There are some really nice ones for purchase too, but all of the above images I created with free overlay graphics.

The app works a little like photoshop in that you work in layers. Your image becomes the base image and you add text, graphics, frames, shapes, textures and a whole lot more on top of your photograph. You can change the colour of each of these elements, as well as swopping between them very easily. A lot of image editing apps don't have an 'undo' button and you have to start over each time you make a mistake. But Studio is super easy to use and make changes when you want to. You can also create really nice graphics (without the need for an image or photograph) very easily. This is really useful if you want to create graphics for your Facebook page or blog.

Studio also works as a social sharing platform, a little like Instagram, and you can 'like' pictures and comment away on anything that takes your fancy. And they are on android too so everyone can make pretty pictures.

Download it here for free!

If you do create something pretty, share it with me on my Facebook Page...I'd love to see what you come up with. 

x

IPhoneography

I recently wrote a guest post for the wonderful lifestyle blog A Bubbly Life written by the very sweet Laurel. In it I wrote all about my favorite two apps for editing photographs on your phone. I wanted to share the post here with all of you, and to tell you that I am going to be introducing you to another fantastic FREE app later on this week. You don't want to miss this one, it's like Instagram & A Beautiful Mess combined…it's beautiful. But for today, here is a quick post on tips for photography using just your phone.

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As a blogger, I have come to really appreciate the true value of good quality photographs, and since getting my first 'proper' camera (the Canon pictured above) a few years ago I can really see the difference the photographs have made to my blog from a professional point of view. But, carrying a big, heavy camera around all day just to capture my coffee dates just get frustrating. And then I have to fiddle and play around with the settings to get the light just right, and never mind the editing that comes afterwards.

But, after getting my first iPhone last year, I cannot tell you how it has revolutionized my blogging. I am able to quickly snap bits of pretty-ness as I walk to work, sit at my desk and especially, while out and about with friends.

I can edit, add text and upload them to my blog in a matter of seconds. AMAZING!

Today I want to share with you my two favourite apps for blogging. I hope you find them useful. I have mentioned them both on numerous occasions on my blog and Facebook page, and that's because I think the are just wonderful.

One of them is only for the iPhone (Instagram) but A Beautiful Mess is for Android users too. If you know of any other great apps that you love to use, please pop me a comment below.

Happy Snapping!

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Instagram has been around for a while, but it is still one of my absolute favourite apps for quick and easy editing on my iPhone. When posting photographs to my instagram feed I try and use the same filter so ensure consistency with my brand. It also looks a lot neater and is easier on the eyes when my photographs have a similar feel to them. But that is completely up to you, you can go wild with the filters and frames available and are only limited by your imagination! Download Instagram for free through Itunes.

Here are some images I've edited using the Valencia filter:

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When you take photographs on your phone, play around with angles and make use of as much natural light as you can. Using a flash really takes away from the natural feel of your photographs and makes the look plain and artificial. Natural light is softer and more forgiving on people and products.

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A Beautiful Mess is a photo editing app designed and developed my one of my favourite blogs...A Beautiful Mess. This app allows you to add backgrounds, make collages, add text, add cute doodles and frames and change the colour of each of those elements. Its super easy to use and the results are pretty amazing. I often get readers asking how I add all these effects to my photos, and it's so simple. This app has also recently been released for Android users. You can download it through the Itunes store for .99c

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All of the photographs above were taken with my iPhone 4S. Nothing too fancy, but with a little bit of time and thought, you can really make your pictures pop! Do you have any other tips for taking great photographs with your phone?

Look out for my new favorite app coming to the blog soon.

How to create beautiful collages in minutes

Creating collages used to be something I dreaded doing. It takes hours of painstaking research to find the exact photograph of a number of different items, source them properly and then to find them all with a white or even better yet, a transparent background is just horrid work. In the blogging world there are collages, and then there are collages. You know the ones I'm talking about, those beautiful, seamless compilations you find on the top fashion and beauty blogs, and then you get the first few I ever made. Chalk and cheese really.

Well I am going to let you in on my secret to creating beautiful collages like this one, using a free site called Polyvore...

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Creating collages using Polyvore

The above collage was created using the very easy to follow (and did I mention free) website Polyvore.

Polyvore works a little like Pinterest in that you are able to create your own online pinboard of images. There are a number of different categories, and from these you can make stunning and professional collages for your blog. Why not make your own gift guides for Christmas? Or how about creating your own wish list to help your friends and family in picking out the perfect gift for you? 

The site is designed to share clickable links to the prices of the items in your creations on the usual social media platforms, so you know the price and where the closest stockist is to you. But as I only want to use the image as a graphic, I simply screenshot the collage and go about inserting it that way.

Here are a few more collages I've created using Polyvore.

I'd love to see yours creations too. Simply upload them to my Facebook Page so I can have a look!

Good luck and happy creating!

x

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I'm back!

Farmboy and I have just settled back into our little apartment after an incredible week in Malaysia. 2 flights, 3 taxis, 2 buses, 1 subway & copious amounts of walking...we finally touched back down on Korean soil this afternoon...what a journey home, I'm shattered!

I can't wait to share the photographs with all of you, and let you know what it was like. Here are a few instagram snaps until I get editing. I hope you are all having a wonderful relaxing weekend.

x

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All of these photographs were taken with my iPhone, and most were edited with the wonderful #ABeautifulMess app. Click here to find out more about more about it.

{A Beautiful Mess} app

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{A Beautiful Mess}

I love following the American lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess which follows the lives of the lovely Elsie & Emma. These creatives recently launched an amazing photo app for download on the Itunes store. The app comes with fourteen cute photo border options, lots of sweet doodles and phrases and a stack of fonts to customize your photographs. Its such a steal at 99c. That covers a lot of the goodies in the app, but to get more options, you need to pay a little extra for each extra set of fonts/borders/doodles.

Here are some of my creations, using original photographs as well as Instagram snaps...I love it! So easy to use and super quick to create gorgeous customized images. 

Have any of you tried this app before?

xxx

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