Blog Photos. You can buy them, get them from free sites, or take them yourselves (don't steal photos! That is rude). Over the past couple years I have been teaching myself new ways to take, edit, and stage photos for my blog and Instagram all with my iPhone. There are tons of tutorials for smartphone photography out there and you can get inspiration for staging from other peoples photos (especially on Instagram). I've been asked a few times what I keep on hand for my photos, so today I'm going to share my must haves with you!
1. White Foam Board
This is essential for flat lays if you don't already have a desirable surface that can be moved into the natural light. I get mine from the Dollar Tree, so when they start looking shabby, or the cats decide to claw it up, it's easily replaceable.
2. Trifold White Poster Board
Also from the Dollar Tree. These are good for using as a light reflector as well as a backdrop for smaller item photos.
3. Cute Office Supplies
Paperclips, pencils, pens, notepads, etc. I have a couple of different color sets that I got from the Target dollar section. They always have new stuff for each season. Dollar Tree also has some basics too, although they don't always the cute matching colors.
For 2016 I got a clipboard calendar from Target. And this year I have a spiral one from the Dollar Tree. I use these (usually with seasonal items) for my first of the month photos on Instagram and have used them here on the blog as well for "currently" posts.
5. Fake Flowers/plants
Why spend money on real ones all the time? Especially if you have allergies or a super black thumb. For lots of my photos I have fake flowers and plants in them. The secret is to get ones that look more real than others. You know what I mean, some fake flowers actually look really fake, while others don't. What's great about them is you can store them and use them for several years. I get some from the Dollar Tree (you get lucky when they get in the new shipments) and some from Target, JoAnn's, or other craft supply stores.
Most of you probably have candles around the house already. Pull the ones you already have that match your color palette or season. Or you can get cheap ones at, you guessed it, the Dollar Tree. Walmart also has a nice selection that isn't terrible expensive either.
We all have mugs because we all can't go without coffee or tea, amiright? These are a staple in blog and Instagram photos. They don't always have to be cute or have a nice saying on them. I have some plain white ones my mom gave me that I use a lot of the time. OR you can always save your Starbucks cup and use it for photos a few more times.
8. White or Light colored fuzzy blanket.
This is a new one for me, but I've been wanting one for a LONG time (I got one for Christmas). They are great for beauty product shots because the bottles won't roll away like they do on hard surfaces. I've seen them used a lot for those sitting-with-a-mug-and-computer/book shots. You know the ones. Check TJMaxx, Ross, and other discount stores for the fake fur rugs and blankets. Walmart and Target have the fleece blankets that have the cream/white fuzzy side like the one I have.
I like to grab little things I have around my house to use in photos as well. Like my elephants figurines, books, eye glasses, jewelry, tchotchkes, etc. Raid your house to find items that go with the theme of the photo you want. Did you buy apples at the grocery store this week? Put some in your photo! Have a giant bag of skittles (just me? ok... #pregnancycravings)? Pop them in a bowl and put it in your photo! Made popcorn for snack? Use it!
I also use my laptop and iPad in photos as well (and sometimes I use my iPhone and take the photo with my iPad). Use what you have already! You don't have to spend a fortune to get good photos.
I always try to use natural lighting when possible. It gives the clearest and brightest images and makes editing easier. And my favorite apps for editing on my phone are Afterlight (it's def worth the $.99) and a free app called Color Story. I use PicMonkey (they now have a phone app!) and Canva to make graphics for my blog. Both are free to use, but have paid upgrades you can purchase.
What do you keep on hand for photos?