Saturday, 18 July 2015

Blogging Without A Camera

Blogging Without A Camera

Okay, the title of this post isn't 100% accurate - obviously, I have pictures on my blog, and therefore I must have a camera, right? Well, yes: I take all of my photos using my Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S phone. Why? Because I don't have an actual camera.

To be a blogger, it might seem like owning a DSLR or a point-and-shoot is an absolute must in order to get those crisp, perfectly focused images. And to some extent, that's true: if you own a successful blog, it would simply be embarrassing if your pictures were anything less than professional.

But when you're just starting to dip your toe into the blogging world, you may find yourself in a situation where you can't afford to buy a camera that would give you blog-worthy photos. Sometimes there are other things that take precedence - for example, that engine checkup you've been putting off for the last two months. It's a disheartening topic to think about, because it's difficult to have a blog people will want to keep coming back to when you have to hold yourself up to the same standards of someone who owns a thousand dollar camera.

Blogging Without A Camera

One word of advice: save up for a good camera.

Any good blog must have a good camera. But if you go back all the way in the archives of most blogs, you'll find that in their early days, a lot of big name bloggers didn't have expensive cameras at their disposal. They started out using whatever they had, and often, that was whatever camera they had lying around.

Personally, I'm at that stage where I'm ready to move on to something better (I've been eyeing the Canon EOS 100D for a while now). I've been using my phone since 2012 - that's three years, and at the rate new phones and tablets are being released nowadays, it's positively ancient. If you look through my posts, you'll notice that some of my photos are blurrier than others: that's because it's very hard to manually control my phone's camera focus while I'm taking photos of my work. Often I won't even be able to tell it's blurry until the photo is blown up on my laptop's screen, and by then it's too late because I didn't have any more pictures of that particular step.

Blogging Without A Camera

But there are things you can do to make sure your photos turn out in the best way possible. I know I'm not the best photographer out there, and I still have a lot to learn, but I love tinkering around with any camera I get my hands on and I've learnt a lot about photography that way. I'm writing this blog post mainly because when I first started out, I couldn't find anything about blogging without a camera. It felt kind of... lonely, and that put me off starting a blog for a long time. But now I know there's no hard and fast rule to blogging - you just need to make your content interesting, and let your photos tell a story. To all those beginner bloggers out there, don't give up! You don't need an expensive camera to write a blog. So here are some tips on photographing I wish someone had told me when I first started.

Blogging Without A Camera

1. This is probably a given, but know your camera inside out. You should know how to adjust the focus, the ISO, the exposure, etc. and if you don't, Google it! Sometimes, I find that changing the exposure before I take a photo makes a massive difference to the quality of my pictures because my phone tends to overexpose.

2. Take advantage of lenses, such as these that attach to your phone by olloclip. They run around $100 but they're certainly more affordable than a DSLR camera. On the other hand, if you're looking for something that won't make a dent in your pocket, try using a magnifying glass in front of your camera for macro shots - they work amazingly well!

3. Edit your photos. If you want to upload photos onto your blog, you must edit your photos! Seriously, the difference between a raw photo and an edited version is like comparing a lump of clay with a sculpture. Most professionals use Photoshop, but I don't have that so I like to use the website Photogramio. I also find Gimpshop to be a great free and open-source alternative to Photoshop with pretty much all of the same functions (the only disadvantage here is that you need to download it). When I edit my photos, I usually adjust the brightness and contrast, curves, spot heal, and perhaps change the tone of the photo to become more red or blue, depending on the look I'm going for. Once again, there are plenty of tutorials online on how to adjust your photos just a Google away.

4. Use the rule of thirds as a guide when taking your photos. If you divide the image into a 3x3 grid, your object of interest should lie in one of the intersections of the lines. This will give your photo more dimension than simply having the subject smack bang in the centre of the picture.

5. One further point - and a very important one - is to make sure your horizon is flat!! It irks me so much when I see a photo that is gorgeous in every way, but the photographer has neglected to straighten up the horizon and now it lies slightly off kilter. If you keep your head straight and look to the horizon, no matter where you're standing, you'll see that the horizon is always a flat line running from left to right. If you don't have a horizon in your photo, use other lines as guidance - the vertical edge of your bookshelf, the edge of your table, the stripes of your floorboards, etc. Try to pick out the lines with your eye as you are taking the photo, and have them line up parallel with the left/right or top/bottom sides. If you look at a magazine spread, you'll find that the horizon or the edge where the wall meets the floor is always parallel to the top and bottom edges of the photo.

And there! Those are the most important tips I can think of for beginner bloggers. As long as you have some way of taking photos (even a webcam will do), you're ready to blog. Don't worry about the fact that the resolution of your pictures aren't that great, or that you can't get it to focus correctly - the point of your blog having photos is to complement your content! Make up for it with your stellar writing or creativity, and most important of all, have fun while doing it!

Blogging Without A Camera


  1. Great tips! I've been saving up for a good camera. For now, I'm working with my old digicam from a few years ago. If not for natural/good lighting, some of my photos would totally not make it to my blog.

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