Beyond Basics: Steps To Creating Vibrant Photos

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What’s more important: The camera or the person behind it? We think that a great piece of equipment can only get you so far – it’s going to be your creative eye, your vision and your ability to use said equipment that produces truly vibrant photographs.

We’ve talked extensively on IFB about the best photography tips for bloggers, and you can find a catalog of most of those posts here. The basics are great – but what’s next?

Once you’re a master of the DSLR (especially in manual mode) it’s time to turn those skills into art. Here are IFB’s steps for creating gorgeous images that are so beyond basic.


When using your camera starts to feel like second nature, you can focus more on your own point-of-view and what you want to portray based on what you see through the viewfinder. Do you love close-up, detail shots? Do you love to see clothes in motion? Do you love soft, golden hour light on quiet city streets? Finding your style is essential in taking your photography to the next level.

1. Try new angles or a different framing: The golden ratio and the rule of thirds are only jumping-off points to discover how to make a unique and interesting photograph. Lay on the ground. Crouch down. Stand on a ladder. Think outside of your normal range to find a new point of view – you may find a new perspective to be refreshing and inspiring.

2. Experiment with your manual settings: What does a slow or fast shutter speed do to your photo? What about a deeper or more shallow depth of field? Have you adjusted the white balance? The beauty of digital photography is the ability to try, try, and try again until we get what we want — without wasting any film. If you stick to your safe, standard settings, you never know what you could be missing.

3. Try to mimic what pleases you aesthetically, then put your own spin on it: Look at the work of photographers you admire. Browse magazines for inspiring editorials. Go to a museum and take in a whole range of artistic mediums and genres. To go beyond basic, think beyond what’s expected.

4. Hone in on your “voice.” What is it that you want your reader want to see, think, and feel? Ask yourself: what am I trying to say with my photos? Before you pick up the camera, have a vision of what you want to portray.


Once you’re done shooting, playing with your photo edits can really elevate your work. Crop, lighten, darken, filter and edit your shots to make your photos the best they can be. Great editing has the ability to evoke emotions in the viewer and create a whole new mood.

1. Try Photoshop actions: Using actions and presets can speed up the editing process and achieve a desired look or a series of improvements without too much legwork.

2. Use filters: Whether it’s in Instagram, iPhoto, or an in-browser editing tool like PicMonkey, adding a pre-created filter to your images can give them fantastic, dreamy qualities that bring the scene or subject to life. This is also an excellent (and silent) method of storytelling.

3. Innovate and be deliberate: When telling a story through photos, you may want to deliberately enhance it’s mood by altering the color filter, it’s sharpness, and/or contrast. If you want to highlight bold shadows, for instance, amping up the contrast may make them appear more vivid.

Going beyond the basics with your blog’s photography is all about presenting something unique and unexpected to your audience. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, but you can give it a fresh new spin. Digital cameras and advanced editing software allow us to do more with photography (especially as publishers) than ever before, giving us the opportunity to innovate and advance our platform to amazing new places. That old saying reminds us that a picture is worth 1000 words, and we like to think that holds especially true for blogs.


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