Welcome back to Lune's Loving & Living with your Blog series. Last week's post was about Embracing your Individuality through blogging. This time around I'm going to focus on the visuals which make blogs so enticing, and how we choose to share our experiences through them.
To understand the importance of images, first think of what a great photo accomplishes. I break my photo selecting process down to two requirements. A strong photo evokes emotion. Secondly a strong photo provides the reader with clear information. This is what I've personally observed of my favorite blog photographers, and what I try to achieve here on Lune.
A strong photo evokes emotion.
The pictures that are "non-portrait" are the most successful at invoking emotional response in their audience. They bring the viewer into the moment because the images are alive, in movement, and happening. Teach yourself to look for those outtakes rather than those in which everyone and everything is ready for the camera. Even a captured laugh can bring true personality into an otherwise staged photo. Bring a camera with you daily in your bag or pocket, even if it isn't your best one with the fancy lenses. Even our phones can take great pictures these days! The point is, have a camera handy. Once you're prepared, practice how to catch the moment in unexpected and interesting ways.
Your natural eye level provides one point of view, but since it's so familiar, it can easily feel flat and unimaginative. Make it a habit to take photos from different levels. For example, the eye level of a child provides a visual from their world. Try capturing the view from over their shoulder, or up from their point of view. What you see will surprise you.
A view looking down from up high captures the scene as though the viewer is looking into a diorama of your world. Yes, standing on a stool or chair may be involved in this view which can be a bit strange, but face it. If you want interesting photos, you will have to put yourself (or a tripod) in interesting positions.
Close ups often revel easily missed details like texture and color which give the observer ghost sense stimulation of touch, smell and sound. Arouse as many senses as possible and bring your reader there into the moment with you.
Movement blur isn't always a negative in a frame. When parts of the photo are in focus, and the others in a blur of action, the photo comes alive.
Hands, feet, eyes. Just a slice leads the imagination to form a full picture, and through it's creation evokes emotion. This is the type of successful imagery that all blogs benefit from.
Light and shadow are magic makers in photos. The intensity of both can be enhanced through editing, but it's your job to capture instances of these contrasts in action. Work with the light in your environment, or lack thereof. I found as I learned how to use my camera I was able to take photos at all times of the day. Take the time to learn about the settings of your camera. This last point can truly make or break a photo.
A strong photo provides information.
There should be no question as to the intention of an image when it appears on your blog. It should be relevant to the post, relating to other photos in the set yet strong on its own.
The photo in the header of this post is a close up of Luke's hand. Grains of wet sand stick to his fingers which are pinked with a late summer chill and cold water at the shoreline. The information the viewer can get from this picture is that it's cool day, overcast, and calm. The crayfish claws, wet sand and smells of the beach are easily associated. The placement of his hand, fingers proudly spread to show his treasures express his excitement. Although only such a small portion of the scene is shown, it tells a tale of the entire afternoon. When choosing photos for your own blog, think of how each one is giving your reader information that is relevant to your post.
A word on style.
Many blogs choose to develop a style of photography and to stay consistent in every post they create. Experiment with your photography style until you discover something you love. It's wonderful to build that visual connection with readers. Many blog readers don't often visit actual blog pages, instead reading feeds through a variety of readers or through stripped down mobile versions of your site. This means the beautiful layout you worked so hard on may never be seen by a large part of your audience. Developing a specific photography style will help express your vibe without the assistance of graphic layouts and additional descriptions.
The pictures you share sometimes have more impact than what you write. Be thoughtful and above all, employ images that spur your own memories and imagination. A beautifully photographed blog is one that you will treasure for a lifetime. It is essential to Loving and Living with your blog for a long time to come.