SBC: Tips for New Bloggers!

TipsNewBloggers

The Summer Blog Challenge prompt for today is to share blogging tips! I love helping other bloggers/small businesses, so this should be fun!

My favorite tip and biggest pet peeve – photos, photos, photos! Not only are photos what capture the attention of readers, but they also make a statement about your blog. First, make sure your biggest, most colorful photo is above the fold. Mine is generally the first thing in a post, just like the photo above. Second, make sure your photos are well-lit, colorful, and creative. In the photo above, the ones on the left are less-than-stellar photos and I wouldn’t use on my blog unless I absolutely needed to. Every once in awhile, I’ll share a ‘bad’ photo simply because it has one of the kids doing something cute and I didn’t have my camera on hand. Most of the time, though, I take the time to take photos like those on the right.

How does one take photos on the right? I’ll post photography tips sometime in the near future but, for now, we’ll stick with the very basics. 1) No flash! Get outside into the light. Make sure you’re in the shade if it’s peak sunlight hours, but early morning or dusk are really the golden hours. The above photos on the right were taken around 7pmEST. If you’re in the shade, try to avoid harsh shadows – this is easier if you’re using golden-hour light as well.  2) No clutter in the background! See how, in the photo of the flower, all you see is the flower? Background objects are distracting, and take the focus off of the subject. Move things around, and use a table with fabric on it if you need to (that’s what I do!). 3) Make sure the photo is in focus. You don’t have to have a fancy camera to take good photos – I managed an Etsy for years with great photos an a basic Canon PowerShot point-and-shoot. Make use of the macro function (it’s the little flower icon) and you can get detailed photos of even the tiniest objects!  4) Use an editing program to remove yellow light, and increase/decrease saturation. I’m all for increasing saturation, but I like bright colors. The saturation on the right photo of me is increased by 3, and it made a huge difference from the original picture. For those without Photoshop (like me), PicMonkey is free and you can also download Paint.NET for free. Paint.NET is my favorite free program because it’s interface is similar to the older Photoshop. PicMonkey is online, but Paint.NET can be used offline…which is great for when you’re without internet but want to work on your blog!

And, lastly, for those of you who think great photos can’t be taken with a point-and-shoot camera, I made this just for you. These were all taken with point-and-shoot cameras – it’s just a matter of playing with your settings, and practice, practice, practice! ♥

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17626883820561291511 Shayla Burks

    I take most of the pics that I use on my blog with my iphone. These are wonderful tips! I’m going to look into pain.net and picmonkey right now!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02283118179291569376 Shai Smith

      I have a Windows 7 phone rather than an iPhone, but I love the pictures it takes as well! I use it a good bit, but only use the photos on my blog occasionally (because I don’t post much about my life when I don’t have a real camera on hand. lol).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06191432509878708171 Hannah Radvanyi

    Awesome :D That’s one thing I really wish I remembered to do more often; add photos to blog posts. Thanks for the pointers, too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15823356995694793410 Shannon

    Great tips! I know this is one area where I really have to work on the pictures I use for my posts. You can read mine here http://housesbyshannon.blogspot.com/2012/08/summer-blogchallenge-august-20-tip-for.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16085380394341703445 Margaux at YoungNesters

    Thanks for sharing this! I LOVE blogs with good photos. Poor photo quality is a total pet peeve of mine too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08322579132408177305 Kelley @ Kelley’s Passion for Nutrition

    Thank you! Taking pictures has been a challenge for me and I love your tips.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02283118179291569376 Shai Smith

      When you have a nutrition blog, taking good photos of food can be super challenging. I live in an apartment, and my kitchen receives zero natural lighting – it’s all from a nasty-hued florescent. When I have to take photos of food, I move the food to a nearby, well-lit window or take it outside and set it up on a table/the balcony floor on a pretty piece of fabric. Looks just like a tablecloth! :D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02178599637352170571 Domestically Seasoned

    Thanks for the advice. I am check out paint.net now.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17502005741803985564 Anna Murphy

    Thanks, I love posting pics on my blog. I’ve started using Picassa, and I find it easy to use with good results.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18026575111937500816 Harvest Moon by Hand

    The collage of photos at the end is stunning! Great tips about photography and how important it is when blogging.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02283118179291569376 Shai Smith

      Aw, thank you! Every single one of those was taken with a Canon PowerShot A510. It was $120…in 2005. lol. It’s been through Hades and back, has been dropped on the beach numerous times, and only has 3.2 megapixels, but I still carry it with me just about everywhere. They don’t even make them anymore. You can get the Powershot A810 (the ‘low-end’ Canon camera), which is the exact same camera but 16megapixels, for under $100. ♥

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01601508671634892864 Vicki

    Thanks for these tips Shai! I used to love photography but I’ve gotten a bit rusty and it’s really great to read this info again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01224359240859771004 TabiDee

    PicMonkey is my friend! I am definitely a Photoshop nerd, but use PicMonkey when I’m feeling lazy or want something done super fast without the distraction of what if I do a little of this, or play with my levels, blah blah.

    Also, I’m jealous. I need a real camera. Woe is me. ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08889560952079413598 Vikki Little

    Thanks for sharing these tips!…Im sure my bookmarks folder gets fuller every time I read a blog!
    From a fellow SBC :-)

  • http://trafficvalue.net/install-wordpress-bloggers-guide/ Install Wordpress

    Photos are very important for any blog post and also add value to the content.