The Ultimate Guide To Beautiful Blog Photography


Crafting gorgeous photos is my absolute favourite thing about being a blogger. I recently stumbled across some photos from 2015 when I first started blogging, and was so shocked at how awful they were that I made a twitter thread showcasing the difference two years had made. From that thread, I received loads of requests to share my 'secrets' and how I had improved my photos to the quality that they are now, so I decided to put together this ultimate guide to beautiful blog photography.


No time to read now? Pin me for later!


Part One: Setting the scene and styling images


Setting up my photos is actually one of the parts I find the most difficult. As I don't have any studio lights I have to pick the best time of day to take them, which varies a huge amount throughout the months. Currently I find the best time to be around 11:45 am, however in Winter this can be as early as 8 am to try and catch the morning sun.

Here's a little behind the scenes photos of my set-up. It is far from glamorous, however works perfectly for what I want to do. I basically dump my pillows, cuddly toys and duvet on the floor, then unroll my white sticky-back plastic against my headboard for a makeshift studio. It works well as my bed is a double and is right against the window, so when I open my curtains I have a lot of space and light to work with.


Other good places to set up a studio are on the floor or at a desk / makeup vanity, anywhere you have space to arrange your props and have a plain background.

No backdrop? No problem...

If you don't have a large white piece of furniture, such as an IKEA desk or bed, it's really easy to make your own temporary backdrop with fluffy rugs, tablecloths, bedsheets or even just large pieces of plain card. For months I used a white cakeboard which I picked up from Homebargains for a pound! I painted one side white and covered the other side in marble plastic so I had a choice of two backdrops.

Establish your focus piece

In these photos it's the camera, which I'm sure isn't hard to figure out. This is always best placed right in the centre of your layout in order to draw the most attention, with props that should be accentuating it. Think of your focus piece as the lead soloist and your props as backing singers - you shouldn't notice them individually, but they bring the whole piece together.

Take one prop away (you'll thank me later.)

I know the temptation to use ALL THE PROPS is real, but to prevent your photos looking cluttered, always remove one prop from your layout. You don't have to use every prop in your collection and keeping it simple is usually the best way to go. I hate seeing photos on my feed that are so full you can't tell what the focus product is!

No idea what props to use? Check out this list of 50 Photo Prop Ideas For Beauty & Lifestyle Bloggers...

Look to your faves for inspiration

Know a blogger whose photos are always incredible? Check out how they style your photos and take inspiration from their shots. Note that I don't mean copy them outright, but if you love a certain prop they've used, ask where they got it from.

Create your theme

It's so satisfying to come across a blog or Instagram feed with a gorgeous, structured theme! There's been a lot of hate on themes recently, but they're actually really easy to maintain if all your photos follow the same 'rules'. For example, I try to always have something pink in my photos along with a white background, then I'm free to do what I like with the rest of my props.

Store all your props together

I keep all my prop books and trinket dishes in a little woven basket along the side of my bed. It means they're always easily accessible and I'm not having to hunt around for a specific prop in the middle of taking photos.


Part Two: Capturing your beautiful blog photos

Before you even begin, bear this in mind - you are going to take more than one photo. If all this time you've been taking one singular photo then using it in your post, it's probably not the best it could possibly be.



Pick the most flattering angle (eg, you wouldn't take a selfie from below your chin.)


When capturing images, you want the position of your subject to flow with the rest of the photo. In the example above, the photo on the left looks wrong because the angle of the camera is facing away from where your eye naturally leads. As the notebook is positioned straight, the camera should have been facing forwards to compliment the lines and contours of the rest of the image. The focus point should be the camera lense, however this is off centre.

The photo on the right is far better, as the focus point is directly in the centre of the image. If I was to draw a line down the middle of the photo, the lense and the corners of the notebook would both be in line, creating a linear focus point. Both the camera and the notebook props are also angled in the same direction, which adds to the appeal of the photo and you don't find your attention being drawn elsewhere.

Flood your shot with light

Natural lighting is absolutely everything when it comes to blog photos and learning to make the most of it will really enhance yur images. Before I take my photo I make sure I have my light reflectors placed at the most effective angles for what I want to brighten to 'cheat' the natural lighting if it isn't as bright as I would like. I also turn my camera's (Olympus Pen Epl-7) in built brightness setting up to just one or two below the absolute maximum, to minimise the work I will have to do during editing.

I would also recommend researching a little into aperture settings on your camera. This is controlled by the f-stop. The smaller the f-stop setting, the wider the aperture opening and the more light that is let through the lens. My aperture is usually on about f/2.5 which I find works best for me. Turning up the ISO on the camera also adds light and brightness, but can also make your photo grainy.

Don't breathe

As scary as it sounds, just before you press the shutter, hold your breath to minimise any shakiness and blurring of the image. Do take care of yourself when taking photos and keep drinks and sugary snacks on hand in case this results in any dizziness. I'm not trying to kill you I promise, this just works really well for me. If this sounds way too scary and you want to use a tripod instead, switch it onto a self-timer mode of about 2 seconds.

Get down and dirty

You're not going to take the best photos by being comfortable. I usually end up laying flat on my stomach or on my knees with my bum in the air trying to get my perfect shot. For flatlays I'm usually stood up with my set up on the ground, bent at such an angle that I become out of breath. I completely understand that not everyone is able to get into these kind of positions, so if you are in the situation where you are struggling or simply unable, have a friend, parent or fellow blogger on hand to take the photo for you.


Part Three: Editing your blog photos to perfection


Now this is my absolute favourite part, although it does tend to stress me out a little bit if my photos don't go exactly right.

Choosing which photos to edit

As I mentioned in the last stage, you're going to be taking a lot of photos and you most certainly will end up not using around 90% of them. So how do you decide which ones are the best of the bunch?

Below is a snapshot of my camera roll after taking the photos for this post. At first glance, some of the photos look almost identical, but it's the tiny differences that decide whether or not a photo makes the 'cut' and goes to the editing stage. This is how I start out with taking over forty photos and ending up with maybe three in my final post.

Be super choosy. Look for tiny details that single out one photo from the next. After taking one of my photos, I realised I had a bookmark sticking out in the corner of the photo. - count out any photos that have annoying details such as this!

My editing steps...

This is exactly how I edit my blog photos and the order I do it in. It takes a lot of trial and error to exactly figure out what 'look' you want to give your edited photos, but for me if I can get the background to be pure white, that's usually a winner.

The editing software I currently use is Serif PhotoPlus X7, which you will probably remember from secondary school. No shame here, I absolutely love it, but I have also heard amazing things about Adobe Lightroom which will be my next big blog-related purchase on payday.


Brightening the photo


Exposure - I pop the exposure up by literally one mark. Any more than that and some details in the photos will be removed.

Brightness - To lighten the whole photo I usually turn this up around 12% - 15%.

Contrast - To give the black shades more depth and add a little shine to the image I pop this up to about 5%. Any more and the images start to look like pop-art posters.

Dodge - I will then use the dodge tool to physically 'paint' over any dark spots or shadows on my background. I'm not satisfied until the colour dropper tool shows my background to be pure white. This part usually takes the longest and I have to be careful not to slip and dodge my photo subjects.

Adjusting colour


Saturation - I will only ever turn the basic saturation up a tiny amount, if any at all. I instead use this tool to remove any hated yellow tones from my images by selecting the yellow colour channel and turning the saturation down. I sometimes also do this for blue tones (my original header image had some annoying purple tones showing up on my grey blanket) or to even out any redness in skintones.

Vibrance - As all the brightening can often wash my photos out, I love using the vibrance tool to add a little more 'life' back into my photos. It gives more natural results than upping the saturation.

To finish, I usually up the brightness once more then resize my images to 1000px wide and name them something sassy and SEO friendly like 'guide-to-blog-photography' (never use spaces in image names!)


Phew! That was the most exhausting post I have ever written, but hopefully it will be one of the most rewarding? I would absolutely love if you'd tweet me your before and after photos from following these steps over at @daintyaliceblog!

What tip was your favourite?

36 comments

  1. I definitely needed this! Thank you for the very informative post!

    xx, The Makeup Feed

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  2. You have some amazing tips! I must say I have been blogging for over 2 years ad my photography could use some work. It has improved crazy amounts since first starting but it still needs a lot of improvement haha. -xo

    chloedanielle.co.uk

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  3. Fantastic tips and very detail. For sure it will help for bloggers who really need this kind of tips and trick.
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    Kintan xo,
    http://kintanfashion.blogspot.com

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  4. This is such great advice! I've been wanting to step up my photo game lately!

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  5. Hi, these are great tips that is for sharing. I need to improve my pictures so this will help me, Chloe.

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  6. Changing the exposure helps with a lot of photography and especially for food photography, natural, but not direct sunlight works wonders!

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  7. Ah thank you for sharing this! I've been trying to find a theme for my blog pictures lately - it's still a work in progress though, I'm trying to go for something timeless you know :-)

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  8. Your editing is so on point! My Editing sucks SO BAD. Honestly terrible, you put me to shame. I need to up my game big time!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  9. This is amazing post, enjoyed reding the tips. Thanks for sharing xo

    www.theninebyivana.blogspot.com

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  10. I am definitely going to be using some of these tips in future!!!

    Lauren :) x

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  11. My favorite tips are set up! I am so lazy when it comes to this, I tend to shoot things for my blog like without anything else in the photo. For my latest blog post I add some roses and magazines and it was way better!
    B, xx | http://www.queenbsdiary.com/

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  12. Such an informative blog post! I cringe so heavily at my old photos haa! I have my own lights, and use a white table for my photos but I think I'll need to invest in a piece of which card for a back drop xx

    Jasmine || http://www.blogsallbeautyy.blogspot.co.uk

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  13. And i thought i was the only one that don't breath while shooting, ha ha. Love your tips, i ll pin the post to come back again later!

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  14. I actually used some of your editing tips today and I'm really happy with the picture compared to my usual method! Thank youuu O:)

    Paris x
    www.71featherstreet.com/

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  15. You've got some great tips here. I have been slacking with my photography and loosing the motivation as I just can't think of good compositions. I have definitely been cluttering up my beauty post photography and I need to take out some of the products, it just looks messy.
    Lois x
    www.lifeasloismay.wordpress.com

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  16. These tips are fabulous Alice, you know I am a huge fan of them and your blog! :) Great post x

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  17. Lol. This is great. It's always so good to hear that you're not the only individual contorting your body to get solid blog photos.

    I don't have a backdrop but going to the dollar store for a cheaper white board or cloth to get started is a great idea! Thank you!

    Your photos are beautiful and the post was great and helpful!

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  18. This is such a nice post! I especially like how simple you made it, good photography doesn't need studio lights at all, you could get great photographs if you work for them :D

    the-emo-wolverine-writes.blogspot.com

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  19. Great post! Love all the tips! This was so interesting to read, will put these tips to good use next time I take photos :) x

    Kirsty
    www.corinneandkirsty.com

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  20. So many helpful tips here! I love blog posts that's fill of information!
    Panda x | thealienb4by.wordpress.com

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  21. This is such a good post! I have been blogging for nearly two months now and it's been trial and error with my photos. I think that I am getting better at it, my photos definitely look brighter and prettier than when I started so there's still hope for me! I take so many photos every time I write a post that it takes ages to find the perfect ones, but editing them is one of my favourite parts. So satysfying to see the difference!

    Julia xx
    theglassofclass.com

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  22. This is such a helpful post and it will help so many people 💖🍵 I wish I had , had a post like this to come to when I first started 💖🍵

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  23. I really needed this post! Been trying to step up my photography game but it's harder than expected haha! Thanks for sharing ^_^

    xxx Nele | http://www.kayleighzaraa.com/

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  24. Your post was so helpful! thank you so much!

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  25. Some great advice - book marked for my next photo shoot for my blog!!

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  26. Great post! Lighting is so important but not the only thing everyone should be concerned with.

    Holly x
    www.ldnmuse.com

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  27. Some great tips there, definitely going to take some on board for my future posts!

    Ellyn x | Life Of A Beauty Nerd

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  28. I love all of your tips, they were all so useful! I always use the exposure and brightening for all of my photos, because it literally makes the photo pop! Thank you for sharing!

    Jenny x

    www.theconfessionsofanonlineshopaholic.com

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  29. You are amazingly brilliant! Thanks for the tips, especially the one a out angles and the way your eyes natural flow when viewing pictures 🤗

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  30. These are some amazing tips girl! I agree with taking a ton of photography because sometimes a variety of composition helps you work out which is the best x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿www.kayleighzaraa.com

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  31. Thank you so much, this was so helpful! I will definitely use those tips! x

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  32. Thank you so much, this was so helpful! I will definitely use those tips! x

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  33. Very interesting to see how different your way of taking photos to mine! xo

    Hanney | www.blogabouthanney.com

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  34. I definitely needed this! Some absolutely fantastic tips :)
    For all I used to study photography, I was that artsy person who took weird angle shots of architectural detail. Not really so good for blogs.
    Cora ❤ http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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  35. Detailed, helpful and stunning images as a result!

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  36. Ahh thank you so much, my photos for my blog are so bad they're laughable but I never knew what to do to make them better! Hopefully my next blog post they will all be much nicer!
    With love, Chloe x
    www.whatchloewrites.blogspot.co.uk

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Every single comment means so much to me, thanks for making me smile! :)