Whether you’re a food blogger, a crafting blogger, or a party planning blogger, chances are you know the pains of trying to take good blog photos within the walls of your own home. Not all homes are designed for great photography, after all (especially rentals), and as bloggers we often have to make a photo shooting session work in less-than-ideal conditions. If this description speaks to you, here are some tips for taking better photos for your blog inside your home.
Use natural sunlight.
There truly is no substitute for natural sunlight in photos taken indoors, and many great bloggers will plan their indoor photo shoots around when natural sunlight will be streaming in through their windows. This can be tricky, as the sun travels throughout the day, and it might require you to study how sunlight travels through your home throughout the day. A kitchen window that sees a lot of sunlight in the morning, for example, might be relatively dark come late afternoon. Locate areas in your home that see a great deal of sunlight and determine when the best hours to shoot in those locations are. And whatever you do, avoid the temptation to supplement natural sunlight with indoor lighting. Incandescent lighting tends to give off an overly warm hue—and fluorescent lighting a green one—so it will only throw off your white balance. Instead of flipping on that light switch, up the ISO as needed.
Don’t be afraid to move furniture.
Subsequently, you might need to move furniture around in order to have the right surface to shoot on when sunlight is hitting a certain window in your home. Maybe, for example, the sunlight hitting your living room window at 4 p.m. is perfect for doing some food photography, but the area immediately next to that window is largely empty. Go ahead and move the coffee table over and shoot on that. You may feel silly doing it, but you’d be surprised at what bloggers will do just to get the right photo.
...or to take photos in a weird location.
On a similar note, don’t be afraid to take photos in a location that seemingly doesn’t make sense. If you’re a food blogger, for example, don’t feel confined to taking photos in your kitchen. Some kitchens, after all, simply don’t get good lighting. Even if your bedroom, of all places, sees the best sunlight in your home, don’t be afraid to create a little setup next to your bedroom window using a small coffee table and a backdrop.
Use mobile backdrops.
You may be wondering with all of this shooting in odd locations how exactly you can keep your photos looking professional. The key here is working with mobile backdrops. It’s a good idea to have some go-to materials that you can always lay out over a flat surface and photograph on. If you were to lay out some kraft paper over a coffee table, for example, and photograph a few cupcakes on that, no one would know just by looking at the photo that you actually took the photo in your living room. Here are a few examples of great backdrops:
- A roll of kraft paper
- A chalkboard table runner
- Large poster boards (like Canson art boards)
- Faux marble contact paper
- A large slab of marble (yes, food bloggers own these)
- Faux wood planks
Trick the viewer with framing.
With the odd-location and mobile-backdrop tips in mind, this next tip is key: you can trick the viewer with how you frame the photo. Simply put, if you zoom in enough so that all edges of your backdrop lie outside of the photo’s frame, no one is going to know whether you took the photo in a kitchen, in a bedroom, or in a bathroom.
Set up a studio if you need to.
If studio-style photography is more your forté when it comes to photos for your blog, then you might benefit from setting up a small studio somewhere in your home. A great photo studio doesn’t need a lot of fancy equipment, either. You might, for example, only need a white muslin backdrop, a couple of light stands for off-camera flashes, and some umbrellas to diffuse the light. You can set a studio up in your basement or in a spare bedroom—or even in your garage, as this post mentions.