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If there’s one thing I’m really proud of, it’s how far my blog photography has come in the last year or two. I still don’t think photos are my strongest skill, but I’m working on it and I’m MUCH more confident than I was with my photos, even just six months ago! If you’re not a blogger but you take photos regularly, hopefully this post is still helpful for you! I promise this isn’t going to turn into a “how to blog” blog, this is just a one time thing 🙂
For most of my blog career, I’ve worked with photographers or dealt with sub-par photos edited by me. Things have turned around for me, thanks to Stephanie Drenka for convincing me to get Lightroom and for creating beautiful presets! I explain the whole process in the video so make sure to watch that if you’re interested. Beautiful photos are probably easier than you think!!!
Here’s what I use to take and edit my photos:
- Sony A5000 camera – Earlier this year I traded in my Canon Rebel t3i for a point and shoot. Yep. Getting rid of a DSLR for a point and shoot felt crazy, but I was confident that the A5000 would be better for me for video recording. It turns out, it’s way better for my photos too! With the t3i, I was constantly missing focus – I would say only about half of my images were in focus. HALF! Now I lose maaaaaybe 1 out of every 100 photos to focus issues.
- 50 1.8 lens – The lens that comes with the A5000 just isn’t going to cut it if you’re looking for bokeh (aka blurry background) in your photos. It’s a bummer it’s an extra expense but without it, this camera won’t get you the dreamy “bloggy” photos you’re looking for.
- Adobe Lightroom – I have the Creative Cloud Photography Subscription, which is $9.99/month. Since I use Lightroom for almost every blog post I write, it’s totally worth it. Plus you always have the newest, best version of Photoshop and Lightroom with the subscription.
- Macbook Pro – Pretty much any new(ish) computer will work perfectly fine! You can always check and see if your computer/operating system is compatible with Lightroom.
- Stephanie Drenka Moody Blues Preset – THIS is where the magic happens, y’all! Without these presets I was just randomly editing by hand in photoshop. It took FOREVER and the photos never looked professional. Now with literally a few clicks, my photos are beautiful and cohesive. If you’re not into the moody/grungey look, she also has a preset called Blockbuster that was made specifically for fashion and travel bloggers! Everything is bright and beautiful – soooo good.
And here’s what I do!
This will probably make the most sense if you also watch the video above but I’ll do my very best to explain it here in case you can’t watch!
- Shoot your photos in RAW. This method works for jpegs too, but not as well. When you shoot in RAW, you maintain a lot more of the photo’s data so it’s easier to edit. With jpegs, slight adjustments look WAY more extreme and it’s a lot more difficult. If you’re a photographer, please don’t judge my definition of RAW…thank you.
- Import your photos into Lightroom. Honestly I’m not going to go into how to open Lightroom and all that jazz – it would take too long but I promise it’s not that hard.
- Go into Develop mode (in the top right hand corner). The first photo you imported should be large on your screen now.
- Adjust the white balance and exposure. Usually my white balance is fine so I just tweak the exposure. I prefer to shoot my photos underexposed a tad so I almost always have to increase the exposure. If you need the photo to be brighter, increase the exposure – darker, decrease the exposure. Easy!
- Select the preset you want to use on the left hand side. I usually just click through and see which one works best for that particular set of photos. For my blog, I always use one of the Moody Blues presets so everything is really consistent.
- Once you’ve applied the preset, look at your photo again and adjust things as necessary. Occasionally I might have to tweak the exposure again – usually I don’t take the time to mess with anything else.
- Click the next photo, and then hit “Previous” – that’s going to apply what you did on the first photo to the second one. Then move on to the next photo and repeat until you’re done!
I use this same method for photos of my niece and nephew and product photos too! Works like a charm!
Sooooo what do you think? Are you ready to take your own photos yet?! I was terrified to take the leap (and honestly at times I really wish I worked with a photographer) but it saves me a LOT of money and it keeps me from having to schedule time with a photographer. Even if you usually work with someone, it never hurts to have a backup plan!
ps If you liked this post, I would LOVE it if you pinned it!