Scrolling through Instagram or your favorite bloggers latest post, it’s easy to start comparing your photos to others. How did they get such great lighting? Where did they buy those props? Do they really have marble counter tops all over their home? I’m here to answer all of your photography questions and let you in on five tips that will improve your own photos in no time!

Use Natural Lighting

Unless you have studio lighting (and know how to use it) natural light is your best friend when it comes to taking photos. Unfortunately this means that the weather plays a deciding factor into when you take your photos, but it’s worth it. Harsh overhead lighting will leave your pictures looking yellow and with a lot of shadows. Shooting in low light will make your photos look so grainy that no amount of luminance will be able to fix them. Your ideal situation is going to be shooting on a sunny or overcast day right in front of a window.

When you’re shooting in natural light make sure you turn your flash off as well. The flash, whether it’s on your phone or a camera, will just add weird shadows and harsh light.

Contact Paper Is Your Best Friend

One of my favorite discoveries as a blogger is contact paper. You know, that stuff you line shelves with or cover an old table top with? Seriously, my mind was blown when I learned that not every blogger has marble countertops. When it’s time to take photos you just roll out the contact paper, whether that’s on the floor or on a table. When you’re done you roll it back up and tuck it away. Simple!

Each roll will only set you back about $20, so it’s a much cheaper option than purchasing a marble or wood table. My favorite rolls of contact paper are this marble one and this wood grain one.

Buy Props In The Same Color Scheme

Props are what add interest to a photo. A photo of an eyeshadow instantly becomes prettier when you add some flowers, a few makeup brushes, a pretty necklace and a candle burning in the background.

I tend to walk into Target or Michaels and think about how every item I see could make a great prop in a photo. While it’s easy to get caught up in all the cute items, it’s a good idea to stick to a color scheme or theme for your props. This way you can grab a few props and they’ll work together with little thought on your part! Having a color scheme will also make maintaining an Instagram theme a lot easier if that’s your thing.

My favorite props:

  • Candles
  • Fake (or real) flowers
  • Jewlery
  • Magazines
  • Makeup brushes
  • Mugs
  • Ribbon

Find A Good Editing Software

I’m a firm believer that you don’t need a fancy camera to take good photos. The camera on your phone will work just fine! However, I’m also a firm believer that good editing software can drastically improve the look of your photos. Granted, you have to know how to use the software, but that’s what YouTube videos are for!

Canva and PicMonkey are great for creating Pinterest and other branding images, but when it comes to the photos on your blog and Instagram you need something more heavy duty. Those free programs just don’t have the options and abilities that paid programs have.

My go to software for editing photos is Adobe Lightroom. The program take some getting used to, but once you fiddle around for a bit it’s easy to find your way around. The editing options are endless and your photos will look professional! My favorite features are the ability to create custom filters and the option to add a watermark to your photos.

If you’re feeling a bit intimidated, this five part series will teach you everything you need to get started with Lightroom.

When In Doubt, Flatlay It Out

A type of photo that’s very “in” right now is the flatlay. You’ve seen them all over bloggers websites and Instagram. They look something like this and this and are used often by beauty bloggers and for stock photos. They’re great for displaying lots of products and creating a lot of interest in a photo.

When I don’t know how to display products are what angle would look best, I’ll usually decide to set up a flatlay. My favorite thing to do is to take the main subject of my photo (i.e. an eyeshadow palette, or  pair of shoes) and lay it on my contact paper. I then choose a bunch of props and lay them out around the subject until I find a look that I like.

Once that’s done I’ll either stand on a chair or just right above the subject of the shot and start snapping away! I play around with my zoom, going in and out getting different shots. This way when I go to edit the photos I have a lot of options to choose from. I’ll also play around with the props, adding or taking away items as I see fit. You never know how a photo is going to look until a take a few shots first. Play around with it and have fun! After all, that’s what taking photos is all about!

I hope you feel confident in your ability to take great photos after reading this post! Like any skill, photography takes practice and patience.

If you’re looking for some photos to use while you’re working on your own, I’ll send you five for free! Just enter your name and email and I’ll send them your way.


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