Four Free or Cheap Photography Tricks To Make Your Blog Stand Out

by Elizabeth Petersen

Four Free or Cheap Photography Tricks To Make Your Blog Stand OutI bet you couldn’t guess that I used my smartphone to take the picture to the left! But I did, and I used 4 tricks, which I will teach you today, to make sure that the photo was blog worthy!

When I first started blogging, at Elizabeth Ave, I didn’t know the first thing about good blog photography or that I could achieve it with tools I already had. But with three years of practice and a few shear dumb ah-ha moments, I have learned a few tricks. I’ve also learned that, while stock photos are beautiful, they aren’t your original content. By taking your own photos, you instantly give the Internet world something that has never been seen before. Give these tips a try today, and start giving your readers beautiful visual interest that is straight from YOU!


1st: Time of Day

Using natural lighting is the best way to get good photography. When we moved to a new house this summer, one of the first things I did was mentally take notes on the lighting in different rooms and outside our house too. I was then able to plan my blog photography around it. There are many different times of day that are good for different photography, so let me explain a few ways to use time of day to your advantage.

Morning Sunrise: You can use this early morning light to take outdoor photos, for outfits or nature shots that you don’t want brilliant sunlight to wash out.

Mid-Morning: The sun will be coming from the East, so if you have a rooms inside your home facing East, you can use this time of day to set up a photo shoot near a window and use the natural lighting without the harsh shadows you would get outside.

Midday on a Sunny Day: You can really get good photos near most windows of your house at this time of day. Though I avoid outside shots, because the brightness of the sun will wash out the color and contrast of photos.

Midday on an Overcast Day: This is probably my favorite time to take photos outside for outfits or outdoor lifestyle photography, because the overcast lighting is PERFECT for great color and contrast!

Mid-afternoon: Like mid-morning above, this is a great time for indoor photography in a room that has West facing windows.

Evening Just before Sunset: Like sunrise, you can use the evening lighting to get great photography outside. This is my second choice for outfit photography and one that I can count on because it’s consistent unlike overcast weather. I know the exact time of evening when my sidewalk is perfectly shaded for great photos.

I suggest you start to learn your home, outdoor space, and town so that you can capture the moments you need to for your blog at the perfect time of day. Not only that, but for all those bloggers who have a day job too, this list should help you find times of day that can work with your work schedule!


2nd: Lighting

I recently wrote a post on my blog about Taking Your Own Baby Announcement Photos. In it, I shared one of my best secrets to good lighting in my indoor photography. The trick: simply cover the window that you’re photographing near with a thin white sheet. This softens the light and reduces shadows, while maintaining the brightness of natural sunlight. This and the steps above to find the right lighting for a photo shoot, will greatly improve your photos without even upgrading your camera!


3rd: The White Poster Board

I’ll admit this one was completely unknown to me, yet so obvious and simple only a year or so ago! This trick is for photographing small items like products that you’re featuring, purse contents, makeup, food, fabric or steps to doing a craft. Believe it or not, you probably can use this trick for just about any type of blog, which is why I’m including it.

Simply set up a white poster board or two in a well-lit area, and then place objects on the board to photograph. The result is a fabulous white backdrop that could rival a white light box, but costs much less. I love pulling out my poster board for Instagram smartphone photography too.


4th: Photo Editing Tools

You don’t have to have the whole Adobe Photoshop Suite to edit your photos well either! I’m a cheapskate, truthfully! I have found that if I follow those first three tips above, then all I need to do is basic photo editing like cropping and a little bit of lightening and contrast, then I’m done! Try using Gimp, which is my go to for editing and adding text, or online options such as Pixlr, or a simpler one PicMonkey. Just by doing a few key edits you’ll have a polished photo, ready for your blog.

I hope these tips were helpful to you! I know I’ve only scratched the surface. I didn’t even touch on phone photography and apps, which are a whole world of their own. Feel free to share your own free or cheap photography tips in the comments and spread the wealth!


Elizabeth-Ave-Profile-PictureAbout the Author:
I’m Elizabeth Petersen, the creator of Elizabeth Ave, a blog about all things creative, crafty and stylish. Being the wife of a very manly man and mom to two boys, I often say that someone has to bring some girly and stylish living into our home. That someone is me! I love finding ways to make our home and lifestyle beautiful but on a budget, therefore you can find me DIYing nearly everything. And then blogging about it over on my Ave.

Connect with Elizabeth!


  1. Thanks for the tips -I’m going to be trying the white poster board soon!

  2. Elizabeth, thank you for these tips. I have been playing around with my new iPad and will be taking and sharingsome of my own images on my website!

  3. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing your photo skills! Stacie xo

  4. I liked these simple tips and tricks! Watch out for better and original photos on my blog and Instagram account now, thanks to your article!

  5. The white posters are a great idea!

  6. My husband just bought me a Nikon big girl camera for Christmas and I can’t wait to start playing with real objects! Thanks for these great tips PLUS I pinned it to remind me for later! #bloggingboost

  7. I’m always looking for new photo tips so really thanks for this! I hadn’t thought of the white sheet trick before but for my next beauty post you can bet I’m going to be doing that!

    Also I’m totally sharing this with my photographer. <3


Leave a Reply to Elizabeth Petersen Cancel reply