The first thing we want to point out is that you do not need to be a professional photographer to be a successful publisher. During Build Your Blog Conference 2016, a speaker was asked what type of camera she used. We were all expecting her to name an expensive Nikon or Canon camera. Instead, she said “The iPhone camera is awesome. People like real life – pictures and videos don’t have to be perfect.” You really don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on expensive equipment to create beautiful pictures.  

In the last few years, photography has become a huge deal in the blogging community. We know publishers have different uses for photography. If you’re a major Instagrammer, you may use a tripod to photograph yourself and your latest fashion trends. Maybe you take photographs of the food you cook or the crafts you create. Or maybe you’re an actual photography blogger. Regardless of what kinds of photos you’re taking, being able to capture beautiful images is a priority in this industry.  

Of course, some this may depend on your brand. If your site is specifically about photography, you’ll probably want to invest in some high-quality equipment. Or if you’re taking detailed pictures of food, you may need something with more megapixels than an iPhone. But if your brand isn’t photography related, you may be fine with just your smartphone.  

Regardless of the camera you’re using, there are some universal principles of photography that everyone can benefit from. There are visual rules that apply to photographs across cultures, gender, and age. Using these guidelines will help you create visually appealing pictures.

Focal Point – First you need to identify your focal point. This is the focus of your photo, the place where a viewer’s eyes will be drawn first. Once you identify your focal point, fill the space around that point to accentuate or highlight the focal point.

Rule of Thirds – Segment your image into thirds with three vertical lines and three horizontal lines, equal distances apart. This leaves you with a grid of nine equal sections. You then want to place the focal point at one of the intersections of the grid. A person’s eye is naturally drawn to these intersecting points. It creates an interesting design and draws the reader’s eye to the focal point.

Visual Triangle – To create visual harmony in an image, you can position objects in a photo as a triangle. This naturally draws the reader’s eye between all three points of the triangle.

Perspective – You can photograph a subject straight-on or you can shoot from the right, left, above, or below. Photographing a person from below can make the subject seem more powerful while photographing from below makes the subject seem more passive. Shooting from the right or left can make a photo appear more natural and less posed.

Lines & Shapes – You can draw a reader’s eyes to certain places in a photograph using lines and shapes. These elements can be easily found in nature. A straight road into the horizon appears like a triangle and naturally draws the eye to the horizon. Fences or roads can serve as lines in landscapes. Think about how to use these natural shapes to frame your photo and draw a reader’s eyes to a focal point.

In addition to these photography principles, you can also use different colors and lighting to accentuate the focal point of your image. Create contrast between light, colors, and textures. Contrast can be created between dark and light. It can also be created between warm and cold colors. Black and white photographs are still popular. This is because black and white photos remove color completely, so it balances the visual intensity of the image. Removing colors also removes the emotional connection we have with colors, as we discussed in Section 1.

When it comes down to it, you really don’t have to be a professional photography to be a successful publisher. But having beautiful images is an important part of website design and social media management. Photography can increase social shares, increase followers, and ultimately increase pageviews. Using these basic principles, you can still create powerful images that will appeal to your readers. (And yes, even using just your iPhone!)

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