Setting the Stage: 7 Blog Photography Tips

Hola, amigas! It’s that time of the month – time for New Year, New Blog numero uno for June. (My español is just en pointe this morning, eh?) In case you’re new to these parts – welcome! New Year, New Blog (or NYNB for short) is a year-long blog project going on here and A Cup of Tay. Each month is themed and contains two posts around said theme to try and help you take your own blog or brand to the next level. June’s theme? PHOTOGRAPHY. Woo, woo! (You can also opt into becoming an NYNB VIP, with a whole slue of perks and 4 eBooks for 2015 – at just the cost of four lattes. Seriously. Read more about that and sign up here).

7 blog photography tips


Now, to set the stage. Did you ever take an art class back in the high school days? I distinctly remember my fine arts class, where the teacher had us trying to draw still life set-ups in charcoals and call it art. (Newsflash: Mine definitely wasn’t art.) But the whole “still life” concept stuck with me. She would carefully arrange things atop one another and create these beautifully articulated sculptures of stuff that people would draw. I’m definitely no photography expert, but I’ve gathered a few tips along the way to hopefully help a sistah out!

  • Follow the Rule of Thirds.

From what I’ve gathered, this goes for photography, other art, and basically life in general. It might sound sorta trippy and Aristotle-esque, but I swear it’s digestable with the help of a little Wikipedia GIF.

wikipedia rule of thirds

The image on the left does n o t utilize the Rule of Thirds. The focal point is central, just kinda hanging out in the middle of the photo and hogging up perspective. The image on the right, though, d o e s use Rule of Thirds. The essence is that each mini square within the image flows into the next, drawing the viewer’s eye around the whole photo. See how the big rock on the right is on the leftmost vertical line, making your eye follow up the entire left side of the picture? Then the cloud streaks probably take you rightwards and then down and back around. #Magic #NotReally #ItsTheRuleOfThirds

  • Balance is key.

This comes right off of the Rule of Thirds! If you’re setting something up with Instagram in mind, remember to set up your shot in a balanced way that visually flows in a sortof circle or square shape. Try not to leave any spaces awkwardly bare or too-full, or it’ll be underwhelming/overwhelming to the eye.

Sneak peak of what’s hitting the blog in a few! Any guesses? ⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️⚫️ #cominguproses ?

A photo posted by Erica | Coming Up Roses (@ericaligenza) on


Besides balancing spatially, consider balancing colors, too, to get a final product that’s just beaaaautiful to look at. Coordinate through complementary colors, type of product, and sizes until you’ve got your perfect set-up. Especially since black and white can be on the harsher side, it’s probably good to mix it up and add some brighter, pastel additions to soften the overall look. Here, coral nail polish works to balance out the rhinestone studded flats! And the overall aesthetic of the image (hopefully) takes your eyes around in a never-ending circleish shape.

  • Think of the Big Picture. 

It’s important to have that end goal in mind throughout your entire photoshoot, or you’re liable to be left with random shots that don’t do your vision justice. Consider where blank spaces might be. Is there crap all around your feet in that overhead outfit shot? Does your hand look humungo in your #manicuremonday? Is the bland concrete sidewalk taking up most of the shot in your shoe pic? Even if your focal point is present, make sure the entire photo is in tip top shape and really exuding the vibe you’re hoping it does. You probably don’t want people seeing it and thinking, “I don’t get it.” Call out your inner artiste (that’s French) and tell a compelling story with your pictures.

  • Pick a focal point.

These tips all relate, can you tell? But there’s gotta be something in focus here, people. This ties directly into making sure everything is nice and balanced, coordinating space, yadda yadda yadda. But it’s really important. Your focal point doesn’t have to be front and center…it just has to be present.

suns out buns out #30PhotosInBetween #chasingthelight

A photo posted by Erica | Coming Up Roses (@ericaligenza) on


Hint hint: this BIGBUTT BURGER is most definitely what we’re focusing on presently. Can it be happy hour yet?

And going along with the focal point…

  • Make it relevant.

I totally think that with everything in life, ya gotta have a purpose. Except with watching Pretty Little Liars. Because I’m sure three more seasons will come around and we STILL won’t know who A is, so clearly no purposes there. This isn’t saying all of your shots need to be branded accordingly; it just means keep your overall goal there. If you’re looking to take some outfit shots, check out styles of fashion photography and poses from other sources first and foremost. Figure out your own creative vision for the photoshoot, blog post…whatever these are being used for, even if it’s just to hang on your wall! Is there a focal point to your outfit itself? Maybe you’re looking to emphasize your shoes, or your new pleather jacket? Maybe this is obvious, but if your goal is to show off your shoes, use photos that are closer up and focused on your shoes. This isn’t the time for a faraway street style shot where your shoes are barely there and your viewers are left squinting.

  • Make it juuuuust enough un-staged.

You’ve gotta mess things up just enough to keep things looking semi-au naturale. Because let’s be real. Your shot of your desk with a glorious donut, three bottles of Essie, an untouched latte and an inspirational notebook isn’t fooling anyone. We know you couldn’t WAIT to scarf down that sprinkled sucker and that latte lasted three seconds without being sipped. Keep it real to showcase the cool, relatable, down-to-earth chica that you are! Totally loving Olivia’s casual shot here – posed, but still chill enough that you feel like she’s really just hanging out reading her magazine and having a cuppa joe!


  • Mix up perspective.

Close-up and center or off to the side and zoomed out a bit? Your imagery might risk getting borrrrrrr-ing if you keep everything all the same all the time. For funsies, consider these lippies:

lipsticks lipsticks1

Obviously the viewpoint is sliiiiiightly different in each. Which you prefer is totally up to you and your taste. But…which of these do you like best, and why? (Sound off in a comment below!)

How do you organize and shoot your still blog photography? What’re the best tips you’ve ever found and learned for it?

We hope your week has been pretty stinkin’ stellar. And we hope your weekend is going to be AWESOME. Go buy someone Starbucks and have a beautiful Friday.