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Blogging 101: Pictures

by Meghann on December 30, 2008

Let me start off by saying I know I am not in any shape way or form an expert on pictures. I lack the lighting and resources to truly capture anything phenomenal. With that being said this is just a tutorial of what I have seen other bloggers capture and what keeps bringing me back. Because lets face it, beside reading what others have to say, we’re all really in it to see the wonderful pictures everyone takes out there.

For a great tutorial of how to take awesome food pictures I refer to you to ZestyCook’s genius lessons. I have bullet marked below what photo elements I find most important in blogging.

Multiple angles- If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. :) I believe Tina had a great post a while back when she referred to how many times she photographs a single item to get the perfect picture. Well, let me tell you I’m the same way. I take several photos of my food before uploading them onto my computer and selecting which ones are going to make the cut for the blog. It is a practiced art of patience before eating, but it works to get so many options.

I look at Kath for inspiration on how I take photos for the blog. She takes pictures of individual elements as she explains what each one is and then has a group shot at the end. I enjoy how thoroughly she presents the food, so I prefer to do the same thing. I also like to play up the angles of the food, there are only so many ways you can shoot a plate of food before it all starts to look the same. Besides having a dead on shot of your plate, try shooting from the side or angles on top to give the food some depth. Then post your favorite multiple angles.

Lighting – First of all turn that flash off and step away from the camera.

I like to think of the flash as an ‘in case of emergencies’ tool. Granted, my photos turn out yellow because of the awful lighting in my apartment, but at least my food still has depth which the flash tends to take away. With that being said I shall remind you I have a cheap Casio Exilim 8.1 Mega Pixel camera that wouldn’t know good flash lighting if it tried. There are more expensive cameras out there that take wonderful pictures, flash included. Take my cousin, Andrea, for instance has a great camera, I am so jealous of her pictures!

Basically I work with what I have. I hold the camera very still as I try to take indoor pictures and go through a couple of takes before I find one that is presentable. I use a lamp to help light indoor, but until I can afford something stronger I make do. I just always find pictures with improper flash use to be disappointing. :/

Cooking Stages – Again do as I say, not as I do. This is a practice I would love to adapt into my blog, but always forget until I am already done with the meal. It’s an annoying practice but I always love the photographed cooking tutorials on other blogs.

For instance when Melissa was creating her Christmas goodies, she did a great job on photographing the step by step process so I understood how she got to the end process, which is great for baking beginners like my self.

Relevance – Readers LOVE pictures! They love pictures of the food, but they also love pictures of lifestyle elements as well. Even if you are trying to keep your blog relevant to your subject matter as possible, its ok to branch out and add some personal touches. My favorite blog posts always include pictures of fellow blogger’s pets, families, tradition and of course them!

Again pictures are unique for every blog, these are just what I have seen that work’s best on other blogs. :)

I hope you enjoyed this installment of Blogging 101, please tune in next week for the final article. In the mean time please feel free to review the other entries and I would love your feedback on photos. :)

This is Part III of a four part series.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Biz December 30, 2008 at 11:21 am

Thanks for the ideas! My new camera actually has a button that says “what do you want to do?” If I am shooting something with backlight, it will select the right apature, etc.

Still a work in progress though! Happy Tuesday!

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2 VeggieGirl December 30, 2008 at 11:27 am

Fabulous tips and ideas!!

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3 eatingbender December 30, 2008 at 11:33 am

Love pictures! You hit all the key elements – I think taking the flash off is most important. It definitely requires patience and a steady hand!

I usually have at least 4 or 5 shots of each angle of each food item. It takes about 5 minutes (or more) just to sort through the pictures I’m going to post! It may sound nuts to spend that much time on just preparing to start a post, but I definitely agree with you that it’s worth it because it makes for a much more enjoyable read.

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4 Erica December 30, 2008 at 11:39 am

Great post…I stink at taking pictures…for the record ;)

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5 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) December 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Haha, I take so many photos of my food that it’s hilarious! And then I end up only posting one or two! But it’s fun and worth it!

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6 Angela December 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Great post yet again!

I agree that the pictures can make or break a blog. That is why I add so many to each post that I do.

I too end up taking tons of pictures of each thing, and then only add the best. Nobody’s perfect! :)

I am really excited for the marketing post. Can it be umm, now? lol. jk

Angela
http://www.ohsheglows.com

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7 zestycook December 30, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Great Tips Meg! This is a neat post. Definitely I agree with bender… no flash and macro setting if you have it and then if you have photoshop – bring it in there and adjust the levels.

zesty

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8 Megan December 30, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Great tips! I like this Blogging 101 series!

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9 Sharon December 30, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Awesome tips! Definitely a great post!

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10 Rachel December 30, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Awesome, awesome post! I would throw in my own pet peeve – out-of-focus pictures. Seeing an out-of-focus snap of someone’s Larabar wrapper doesn’t do much for me, you know?! A macro setting on the camera definitely helps, but if you don’t have it, I’d say far away is better than close up and blurry.

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11 sarahannmatheny December 30, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for all the ideas…I’ll definitely try to incorporate your ideas. We know now why you are such a success!!!!

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12 sweetandnatural December 30, 2008 at 1:40 pm

I agree photos are the best! I’ve been having a lot of fun playing food photographer for my blog.

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13 Jill December 30, 2008 at 2:50 pm

GREAT ideas! I always feel my pictures look horrible! I am def. no photographer, but I am going to try and put some of these tips to use! Thanks! :)

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14 ksgoodeats December 30, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Once again, great post Meghann!!

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15 Tina December 30, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Excellent post! I love these!!!!!

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16 Andrea [bella eats] December 30, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Great post Meg! Thanks for highlighting me! :) I take so many pictures of all my food to get the perfect shot…and I totally agree that lighting and clarity can make or break a good photo!

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17 Sarah December 30, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Thank you for this series, Meghann!

I JUST started a blog because I got my first-ever digital camera as a Christmas present (don’t know how I survived so long without one!). These photo tips are very helpful, and I can’t wait for your marketing article next week. Thanks again!

Sarah
http://talesofexpansion.wordpress.com/

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18 Heather Eats Almond Butter December 30, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Thanks Meghann. This was helpful as I’m still trying to get the hang of food photography. Turning off the flash helps so much – it took me about a month to figure that out. My breakfast bowls always looked like Casper the Ghost :)

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19 Olga December 30, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Thanks for this post! I agree with everything you say, pictures are vital for the blog!

P.S. You should totally do a “review of 2008,” I’d love to see it! =]

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20 runningwithfood December 31, 2008 at 8:23 am

Love this post!

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21 ttfn300 January 1, 2009 at 10:13 am

great tips! i need a new camera…

happy new year! (i know i’m way behind on my reading :))

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22 Katherina @ Zephyr Runs June 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm

It’d be really beneficial to add the links in to the previous posts, like marketing! Sometimes search isn’t as easy as you’d think :P
Katherina @ Zephyr Runs recently posted..Love for the Diva

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