How to Improve Blog Photos

With the popularity of Pinterest it’s more vital than ever to have great looking blog photos…especially if you’re a food blogger.  I’ll admit, photography was never my strong suite….but by doing these 3 simple things I was able to transform my blog photos from blah to VOILA!  Here’s 3 simple steps for how to improve blog photos.

How to Improve Blog Photos

How to Improve Blog Photos

Take Your Photography from Blah to Voila!

When I started out blogging I thought it was all about the story and the recipes….little did I know…once Pinterest arrived it became ALL about the photos!  Over the years I slowly improved my blog photos but never thought of them as WOW….they were good enough.  In fact, I’m super embarrassed by my early days photos and am working on replacing them gradually.

With the emergence of Pinterest I noticed that a majority of my traffic comes directly from there and the pins with my best photos have the highest page views.  Every conference I go to talks about the importance of photos….I mean a photo is worth a thousand words…right?!  I mean, if you saw my earliest photos (just look at any posts from 2012) you would have 1,000 words but I’m pretty sure none of them would be “oh I have to try that”!

For Example:

These white lasagna rolls are super delicious but the picture makes them look pretty disgusting.  I’m completely horrified that I’m actually showing you this!

white lasagne roll ups

Now, over the years I’ve read different tips and tricks for improving blog photos and they gradually started looking better.  I started following tips like using natural light, styling dishes, and using a DSLR camera.  There was nothing over the top awesome about them….but they were definitely improving.

For Example:

This OMG Crock Pot Chicken is my #1 post of all time….it’s be repinned over 14,000 times on Pinterest!  And it looks so much better than my previous photos!  It’s good….it’s not professional good….although at least now it looks edible!

OMG The BEST Crockpot Chicken Ever

Well, a few months ago I decided that I wanted to start working on an e-cookbook and for cookbooks you HAVE to have beautiful photos….thus began my journey on learning how to improve blog photos.  By spending less than $100 I was able to take my photos to over the top AWESOME!  Now, I’m still learning and implementing new techniques….but I’ll just let the picture speak for itself!

Best Beef Stew Recipe Ever

So much better!  Don’t you just want to grab a spoon and eat this yummy Beef Stew?  I mean it is the BEST Beef Stew Recipe ever and it kinda looks like it too. 🙂  I REALLY impressed myself with this photo….I never thought I would be able to take gorgeous photographs like all the BIG food bloggers do….but I’m definitely on the right track! 🙂

Alright, ready for the 3 simple steps you need to take to improve blog photos? Here ya go….

1. Pinch of Yum’s Tasty Food Photography E-Book

Tasty-Food-Photography-on-an-iPad

Lindsay’s book is fabulous for helping you learn about your camera, lighting, composition, styling, etc.  I love that it’s so affordable and written to easily understand.  She includes lots of photos showing you the differences that changing just one thing can make.  If you invest in just one photography book…this is definitely the one to get!

2. CowboyStudio’s  3 Piece Light Kit

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I bought this light kit a little over a month ago from Amazon….and I LOVE it!  First off, it was SUPER affordable at less than $60 for all 3 lights! I found CowboyStudios by recommendation from Jaden Hair writer of The SteamyKitchen (a cookbook you MUST get if you love Asian food as much as I do), and one of the founders of Food Blog Forum.  I figure she definitely knows what she’s talking about so I ordered them right away….which was the BEST decision ever.

When these lights arrived I could not wait to open them up and start snapping pictures.  I’ve always heard that natural light is best to improve blog photos but with 2 kids under 5 most of my photographing takes place late at night with ZERO natural light.  Plus my kitchen doesn’t get very good natural light so I knew I needed something…and these are PERFECT!  They’re completely adjustable so I’m easily able to get any angle, they’re lightweight so I can easily move them around the house as needed, and they collapse super small so they’re easy to store.  Not to mention they come with a nice carrying case….I can even keep all my backdrops in the carrying case as well.

Now I refuse to take any pictures without using these lights….the difference they make is incredible!  We even used them when a photographer friend of mine came over to take Miss Jellybean’s newborn photos….they are fantastic!

3.  Swanky Prints Backdrops

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These backdrops are fantastic!  I’m limited on space so I can’t really build those real wood backdrops that many other food photographers have but these vinyl backdrops are perfect!  They look so real in the pictures, they clean up super easy– just wipe down, and they roll up perfectly for storing.

To tell you how addicted I am I started out with 2 prints and now I’m up to 6 and I keep shopping for more!  They are definitely worth the $40 investment…I think they make a huge difference in my pictures.  Although I will say…I thought the chalkboard one would be awesome but I never use it….I definitely suggest sticking with the wood backgrounds….they look beautiful in blog photos!

3

So there you have it….the 3 simple steps I took to improve my blog photos.  I hope this helps you on your blogging journey!  Make sure you also check out my compiled list of “National Days” it’s the perfect tool to use when making your editorial calendar….you’ll always know what special day is coming up next.

Have you been following along with the How to Build a Successful Blog series

I’m at a point now where I feel like Serendipity and Spice officially qualifies as a successful blog.  I’ve replaced my full time income as a retail manager and it keeps growing every month!  Now this has taken 3 years of devotion and dedication….there were many times where I just felt like quitting because I wasn’t seeing the return I wanted but then as if a light switch was flipped….everything changed and Serendipity and Spice just exploded into a successful blog!  Seriously, I felt like overnight it just took off….so just keep plugging away and one day it will happen!

Over the past few months I’ve been asked over and over again from friends, family, and readers “how do I start a blog?”.  Make sure you check out the  how to build a successful blog series….it’ll walk you through all of the important steps to take!

What else would you like to learn about blogging? Share in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your photos are just spot on! I will be checking into the ebook in a sec. and the other 2 wonderful resources as well. I blog for fun, not for mun, pun intended, lol. Maybe one day will kick it up a notch. So very happy to hear your having great success with your blog! I truly enjoyed my visit! Kim

  2. Cydnee says

    Great tips that I apprec very much. Thank you very much for joining in the celebration of #purebloglove, we enjoy having you each week. I hope to see you on Thursday at 8PM, EST through Sunday night. ~Cydnee

  3. says

    OMG I so need those lights. I had no idea they would be so affordable. I was thinking that equipment like that would be hundreds of dollars. My house is like a cave and I am taking most of my photos during the evening/night hours as well because I work during the day. Thanks so much for these tips. I like to use scrapbook paper for my back grounds but sometimes it is not quite big enough.

    • says

      I was shocked at how affordable they are and how well they work….I was a little skeptical when I ordered them but now I’m beyond impressed!

  4. Susan says

    I’ve been working on my photography and your beef stew photo looks so real I think I can smell the aroma. Thanks for sharing at the This Is How We Roll Link Party on Organized 31,

  5. says

    Hi! My name is Ashley and I found your site through Snippets of Inspiration’s link party. I’m brand new to blogging and have been looking for ways to improve my pictures because I noticed the pics from my first few posts weren’t great. #3 was a brand new tip to me! I’ve always though about have different backdrops in my pics but everything in my house has a clean and modern feel, so I don’t have anything to use if I wanted a rustic background. Thank you so much for sharing that tip! I’ve pinned your post to share with others.
    Ashley | http://www.ashandcrafts.com

  6. says

    Been wanting to buy a lighting kit for so looong because I usually bake at night after work therefore, there’s no more natural light by then. I’ll check out that one that you recommend and check if it’s small enough for our home 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    -Jan
    janmloves.blogspot.com

    • says

      I was amazed at the difference that the light kit made. I love this particular set because it’s so compact. I have very limited space to store my blog props but these fold down and have a great storage case that fits perfectly in the hall closet. Thanks so much for coming by…make sure you subscribe to my weekly emails…I have several tutorials on the way.

      • says

        Do you think it’l work for indoor outfit blog photos too? I’m curious as
        too how much use I could get out of them if I decide to get them 🙂
        And I’ve subscribed to your list 🙂

  7. says

    Two things: First ~ My photos are still in the early stages like yours were. But you give me great hope! I have some embarrassing ones out there. : | Yikes.
    Second ~ Would you recommend the light kit for someone who doesn’t have a nice camera. I have a $300.ish Fujifilm and it’s just awful. Photography is on my list of researching and improving on. [I honestly feel like I’m always in survival mode with having a baby and no childcare. I only work during naps or at night!] Sigh. I need to get on this and you’ve inspired me, Thanks!

    • says

      Oh my first photos are so embarrassing! I really need to get around to replacing them…I’m slowly working on it! 🙂 My camera is just the basic Nikon D3000 I think it was like $350…it’s okay but I do want to upgrade eventually. I really recommend these lights from Cowboy Studios http://amzn.to/1FFwS4n they are fantastic and for the price they just can’t be beat! When you use these you just turn off all the other lights in the room and it will look dark but your camera should pick up the light beautifully. I also love that these lights are so easy to adjust and move around so you get the right angle of light and they store so easily.

      I know all about being in survival mode with 2 kids at home. My 3 year old son ALWAYS wants to mess with whatever I’m trying to photograph…I have to do my pics after he goes to bed at night.

  8. says

    I think these are really important. I’m not quite sold on the backdrops, but the pictures look wonderful. These are some great tips. Thanks for linking up with Turn it Up Tuesday.

  9. says

    I often feel my pictures don’t do my recipes justice. This is something I need to work on, thank you for the helpful tips 🙂 Pinned! Saying Hello from Create and Share Party.

  10. says

    One of my blogging goals this year is to majorly improve my photography skills. We have a DSLR camera but I barely know how to use it beyond the “auto” setting. Sometimes I feel like I get better pictures from my old point and shoot! Thanks for these tips and resources 🙂

    • says

      I know exactly how you feel…I used to prefer my phone over my DSLR because I was intimidated by all of the settings! I highly recommend Pinch of Yum’s book…she shows you the difference that different settings make in a photo. Plus, she writes so clearly that it’s really easy to follow along and understand!

  11. says

    Thanks so much for the tips! I am new to blogging, but knew I needed better pictures. I’ve taken one photography class already, and I will definitely be adding these tips to my book. I am visiting from Moonlight and Mason Jars Link Party.

    • says

      I’m glad you liked these tips! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! Just doing these 3 things made a HUGE difference in my photos!

  12. says

    Thanks for all the suggestions…I was wondering about the ebook. I just ordered Plate to Pixel on Amazon, but I was curious about that one. Thanks!

    • says

      I LOVE the Pinch of Yum book and am constantly going back to it for refreshers and ideas. It’s nice because she shows you how the slightest changes can make such an impact. I’m a very visual person and her book it packed full of pictures showing what to do.

  13. says

    Bad lighting has definitely been my biggest struggle for my blog photos. I only have north-facing windows (duplex) so I pretty much have to take photos outside. That can get silly sometimes…

    • says

      I know how you feel. The lighting in my house is horrible but these lights are fantastic because they make it look like natural lighting. The key is to turn off all the lights and just have these lights on….it makes such a huge difference!

    • says

      Yesssss bad lighting is the cause of so many problems for me. I’m in a condo so we only have windows on one side. We face east, so if I want photos of my dinner with natural light, I have to take them first thing in the morning! We’re trying some lighting hacks so that I can start taking better photos that don’t make my food or anything else look sickly.

      • says

        Oh yeah…I totally remember having to save a plate of dinner so I could take pics in the morning! The nice thing about these lights is that they have a special wattage and color that really mimics natural light. I take my photos late at night- after the kids go to bed. I’ll set everything up the way I want it…turn on my studio light and then shut off all of the other lights. When you look at the table it looks super dark but once I click the photo it looks like perfect daylight on the screen! Plus, the price is awesome for 3 lights and a storage bag!

  14. says

    I struggle with my photos constantly. I though that I was starting to improve until I saw your bowl of stew. It looks delicious! I have a mini light set. But I still don’t get good photos. Need something tall like your. and live those backdrops. Thanks for the tips, I will have to look into these.

    • says

      The Cowboy Studios lights are the best! The wattage is perfect for making the light look natural. I’ve found that shooting in total darkness with just the 1 light makes the best photos!

  15. says

    I recently started blogging and even though I am on Pinterest all the time I never thought about how much pictures affect your blog. I assumed that if I could write and had good content, I was set. Thank you for this information! I have been looking at backgrounds. I don’t think I am ready for lighting yet. For some reason lighting scares…baby steps.

    • says

      Oh I totally understand…I was terrified of lighting too! But to tell you the truth…I now prefer to take my photos at night because they look so much better and I have so much control…lighting made a HUGE difference in my pics!

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