Amanda from Everyday Elements Online returns for the second post of a three-part series on Visual Storytelling. Today we get into the details. In addition, she’s offering Momcomm readers a whopping 35% discount on any of her classes, actions and e-book. That’s a pretty swanky deal. Just use momcomm35 at checkout.
We are still talking about visual storytelling for bloggers. To quickly recap the first visual storytelling post – you want to think like a writer when taking pictures: decide what story you want to tell, write the rough draft/get the pictures, and edit to produce the final draft.
Once you have determined what story you want to tell with your pictures, the next step is to get the story on paper, or in our case, in the camera.
I want to encourage you to try to write the best “rough draft” you possibly can. Starting with a good, clean image makes the editing time so much quicker!
Factors that go into getting a great picture:
- White balance
Having a well exposed image means your image is not too bright and not too dark. If you shoot in auto, then your camera will usually ensure that your image is well exposed because if there isn’t enough light then it will enable the flash (not great). If you are shooting on a DSLR and using manual, then you are in charge of getting the image well exposed.
This seems like a simple concept but time and time again I see bloggers have pictures on their blogs that are dark and hard to see.
This concept is simple and complex at the same time. You want your photos to be in focus, meaning your subject is sharp, not blurry or out-of-focus. If you are shooting in auto then you are allowing your camera to choose the focus points and hope that it gets it right. However, most cameras allow you to take control of the focal points, so you can choose where the focus lands.
Focus settings varies greatly by camera, so I am not going to get into this topic other than to say read your manual.
Have you ever taken a bunch of pictures and later look at them and wonder why they are orange or blue? The reason is that your white balance was wrong.
White balance is the color temperature of the light. Your camera has settings on it to help measure that light, so try out the various in-camera presets it has. Try to get the WB as close to correct as you can in-camera.
You can have all of the above factors perfect but if your image is poorly composed, viewers will not look at the image long. Composition is how the image is “set up” so-to-speak. It is where your subject is in relation to other objects in the image and where your subject falls in the frame.
There are some standard rules or guides you can use to help better compose, but here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Alter positions
- Change point of view
- Think of rule-of-thirds
- Look for leading lines
- Allow negative space
- Sometimes filling the frame
- look for natural framing
Just as a writer would use the best pen and paper, or in today’s time a keyboard and computer, so should you strive to use good equipment. I am not saying go out and buy the biggest and best camera. No, I want to encourage you to rock what you have. Read your camera manual, research, practice. Whether it is a point-and-shoot, camera phone or DSLR, you can take wonderful images if you really try.
- Cameras – Most bloggers would be well served with the Nikon D5200 or D7000 or Canon T3i or 60D
- Smart Phones – Use an app like Camera Plus to allow you to set focus and exposure separately, which allows for a much better image.
- Lenses – Do not bother with a kit lens
- 50mm f1.8 or 35mm f1.8 are great multipurpose lenses to start with
- 60mm f2.8 is an affordable macro, for when you want the CLOSE shots
Stay tuned for part three, when we talk about editing and making your images ready for your blog.
Amanda Padgett is a veteran homeschooler who began blogging in 2008 to keep family updated with her dad’s fight with brain cancer. After his death in 2009 she took up photography as a hobby for therapy and quickly became immersed in it. Now she shares her passion for photography and editing at her blog Everyday Elements.