Let’s be honest here. The first thing that you notice when you discover a new blog, are the photos. Content is great, but the quality of your blog photos is what catches the eye and determines whether or not a reader stays or goes. You’re probably thinking, “well duh, hence why I went out and bought a nice camera”.
However, the key to good blog photos doesn’t only come down to having an expensive DSLR. There are a couple additional accessories that you can purchase to help improve blog photos that don’t cost a ton of money. It wasn’t until I bought the following two accessories that I started to see an improvement in my blog photos that I took with my DSLR camera.
What is it you ask?
a tripod and a remote.
I remember the very first time I put my brand new DSLR to work and shot my first blog photo and surprise, surprise… the photos came out blurry and dark. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why my photos weren’t coming out like magic; instead they were quite unappealing, nothing like how I pictured they would turn out and then… I purchased a tripod and a remote.
So what’s so magical about owning a tripod and a remote? Well, to get to the point, both items prevent camera shake, which in some cases cause blurry photos. Camera shake occurs when the camera isn’t stabilized by the time the shutter releases. The reason why having a tripod and a remote helps increase the sharpness of photos, is simply because the camera remains still. A tripod keeps the camera in place and the remote provides the ability to shoot the photo from a distance, without having to physically touch the camera.
When It comes to finding the right tripod for you, the first step is realizing how much money you would like to spend. My first tripod was $16 from Target, and got the job done. Tripods range from about $10-$10k, so there is bound to be one within your budget.
Next, step would be to determine the actual weight of your camera since some tripods can only hold so much because I’m almost positive the last thing you would want is your tripod to tumble over and your camera break. Then you’ll be worried less about blurry photos and more about how you’re going to deal with that, so let’s not even think about it!
If you’re not ready to make an investment for a tripod, that’s okay; I have a trick for you. The purpose of the tripod and remote, that I mentioned above, is to reduce camera shake. You can get a similar result by placing your DSLR on a sturdy surface, like a table or even a stack of books, and then set a timer. The camera may still shake, but much less than if you were to hold the camera in your hand.
As for remotes, I have a Nikon DSLR camera and unfortunately they do not come with software where you can control the shutter and other settings through your laptop like some Canon DSLRs do. Nikon does however, have an app you can download for free called NIKON WMU that allows you to set off the shutter and snap pictures from your smartphone. I started off using this since it was free (kinda; if you have an older Nikon camera that doesn’t come with built in wifi, you need to buy a wireless adapter which can be anywhere from 30-50 bucks). I prefer just using an actual remote because the remote responds quicker than the iPhone app and I feel like it’s more reliable. My first remote I had for well over 9 months and didn’t have to change the battery, but of course I lost it. I loved that remote and paid less than $5 for it and when I went back to the store to get another one, I couldn’t find that brand again. Now I currently have a remote from the brand Insignia, which was $20 that gets the job done.
If you don’t want to purchase a remote, you can easily set a timer on your camera for free. Most DSLRs come with the option to set a timer that takes the picture after about 10 seconds once the shutter release button is pressed. I recommend using the 10 second timer option to give yourself enough time to move away from the camera and get a good shot.
Purchasing a tripod and a remote was two of the least expensive accessories I’ve purchased that have made a world of different in the quality of my photos. Even though this week focused on how to improve the quality of photos taken with a DSLR, if you don’t have a DSLR, check out last week’s post about how to take great photos on your camera phone.