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Photo editing tips and resources for beginning blog photographers

So I don't know about you, but I really respect it when a blogger has really nice photos. And more than that, I love it when bloggers have unique and creative photos with their own characteristic style. After all, there are only so many perfectly white flat lays with fake flowers and marble backgrounds that you can see before they all start to blend together.

So we all want to have awesome photos (duh), but as an amateur photographer that is definitely easier said than done. There are just so many things, especially when it comes to editing, that we don't know how to do yet. Where the heck are we supposed to start?

Well, here.

Let's start here.

This post is comprised of two lists: a list of photography and editing tips that I am in the process of figuring out on my amateur photographer journey (and wish I had learned earlier), and a list of a few super great photography resources to help you learn all the stuff you don't know yet.

Ready, set, go!


1. Use natural light for flat lays 

 Turn off the artificial (yellowish) light, go set your stuff in front of a window (either during morning or evening-- not when there will be a bunch of direct sunlight and shadows), and use a reflector (aka big piece of white paper or aluminum foil) if you're short on light. More info here.

2. Have your flat lays overflow the frame.

 I got this tip from one of the Mango Street videos listed below, so check it out for a more comprehensive explanation. When I was first starting to blog, I was always annoyed at how amateur my still-life photos looked. And I soon figured out.. it was because I wasn't overflowing the frame! (well, that's partially why. Still trying to figure out the other reasons).

3. Don't limit yourself to flat lays/ still life photography. 

Despite what you may see on Instagram, flat lay and still life photography of pretty things are not the only photo options for bloggers. In fact, I am instantly more interested in a blog if it features a variety and of more unique images. You could take photos of yourself, your friends, whip up some cool Photoshop special effects, get some landscapes, gifs, who knows!

4. Use Lightroom. Seriously. I know it costs $10 a month, but it's totally worth it. 

Lightroom makes having a distinct editing style for your photos waaay easier. You can adjust the tones and colors of everything to create a characteristic look (I've been trying to be more blue-and-de-saturated lately in my photos), and you can make your own presets to make sure all of your photos match your ~aesthetic~ even when you're in a pinch for time. Check out some of the links I've listed below for a more comprehensive understanding of Lightroom features.

5. Research and pay attention to the editing styles of different photographers. 

This is certainly something I have learned a lot from. Spend some time surfing Instagram, find some photographers you really love, and then try to figure out what you love about them. Are their photos more warm or cold? Are they more vintage-y or vibrant? How are their photos normally composed/ how is the space used? Next, hop into Lightroom and play around, drawing inspiration from their editing style. Here's a good video example on how to do this

6. Not all photos need to be super bright and you don't need to always crank the highlights.

This is something I'm still trying to wrap my head around. I know that a characteristic of blog photography is super white, bright photos. This is definitely an appealing look, but not all your photos may work out that way. This doesn't mean they're bad, in fact photos with more shadows and contrast are often more interesting and unique. And boosting the highlights too much can cause you to lose detail in certain parts of the photo. So try to take and edit photos in a variety of ways! Shadowy/ darker photos are cool, too. Just check out these awesome Instagram accounts for proof: Helena Moore | Johanna | littlevestigen

9. Get a book about your camera. And read it. 

When you get your hands on a dslr for the first time, it's easy to think "I'll just start shooting and figure it out!" Well, let me know how that goes. For me, it was kinda hard to figure out all the settings, and it definitely wasn't as intuitive as I expected (especially since I have little to no background knowledge in photography). So get a book, and read it. You'll be glad that you did.

10. Take a million photos. And bring your camera everywhere.

Some people might say to slow down and shoot with intention, but as a beginner photographer, I often don't even know what my intentions are yet. Yes, think about what you're shooting before you take a picture, but also just keep shooting. That's the best way to learn, I think. I take my photo everywhere and take photos all the time (mostly of my friends) and the process of continuously taking photos in different conditions and environments has taught me a lot. Trial and error, man, trial and error.


1. Mango Street youtube channel 

Mango Street is a fairly new Youtube channel, but they are probably my absolute favorite photography resource. All of their videos are super helpful, to the point, and unbelievably concise. They do not waste your time. At the same time, they have tons of personality and are really heckin cute to watch whether you're a photographer or not.

2. Peter McKinnon youtube channel 

Peter McKinnon is a more well known photography Youtube channel (with an equally stylish aesthetic).  He does short and sweet videos as well, but still does more long videos than Mango Street. So if you're looking for a slightly more all-inclusive guide to figure out how to use Lightroom or Photoshop, he's your guy. I've linked a few of his most helpful videos below.

3. Digital Photography School website

This is the website I stumbled upon when I was 100% lost and googling 'what is aperture?'. Basically, this is a basic Photography 101 guide in an online form. If you know nothing about photography, an understanding of exposure, composition, etc, is vital before you start seriously shooting. So if you're brand new and don't know where to start, look here! Not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the guys listed above, but is it informative when nothing else makes sense? Yup.
Anyways, these are the things that have been helping me on my amateur photography quest! There is still a long way to go and a lot more to figure out, but you've gotta start somewhere. Leave your own photography wisdom and resources in the comments!

♡ Julia


  1. This is such an informative and helpful post!
    I am definitely a beginner when it comes to photography and that's what I struggle most with when it comes to posts. I see other peoples incredible photos and automatically put my own down (which is really bad).
    I read every bit of this post! Thank you for sharing lovely, have a wonderful weekend xo

    Liz | LotsofLoveLiz

    1. I do that too, Liz! It's tough. But you've just gotta remember that everybody has different skills and learns things at different rates. So don't be too hard on yourself! :)

  2. I love this!! I've been looking into making photography a serious hobby of mine, but I never knew where/how to start. This is a great jumping off point, and I'm excited to take these tips & improve my photography skills!
    - kat

    1. I'm excited for you, Kat! Photography is a hobby of mine too. And that's what's most important, after all-- doing what you like because you like it, not just to be perfect. Thanks for reading!

  3. Ohmy thank you so much for this interesting post! So many great tips. I got a Sony alpha 5100a two years ago, and I must admit: I don't have a clue what I'm doing. Same goes for Lightroom, where do I even start? It's such a shame! I would love to learn photography. I bookmarked Mango Street on Youtube, the tutorials seem great! And you're right, I really must pick up a book about it. Do you have any recommendations?

    Love, Layla Rosita |

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Layla and I'm glad you found my post helpful! I am in the same boat as you, haha. I honestly just searched on Amazon for a book that was specifically about my camera. (I have just have a Nikon D3300) So you can find one there, I'm sure! Best of luck <3

  4. I love Mango Street and Peter McKinnon! They are soo helpful. I think I've watched all their videos, hehe. Btw, if you are still in school, you might get a better discount with Lightroom and the rest of Adobe's products. I got it for free as a student!

    Simply Lovebirds

    1. Oh my gosh, I didn't know that! Thanks so much for telling me Kim, I'll have to look into that.
      Thank for reading, girl!

  5. Ooh, I love your overflowing flat lay tip, it's something I think I knew deep down, but just forgot... I'll have to work on it now! Xx

    Kez |

    1. Same, girl. Stuff like that can be tough to remember.
      Anyways, thanks so much for reading!

  6. Yes, natural light for everything! I really do prefer it over the few studio lights I own, though they sometimes come in handy when it's cloudy outside. The most annoying part of it is that it takes up so much space and time to set up properly! I think I'm just going to go with an office when I move out that has these kinds of lights permenantly installed, hahaha.

    Speaking of flat lays, even though I sometimes do them, I'm kind of sick of em haha. The best piece of photography advice so far is to shoot in raw! I've learned about it in school and even took a class that was all about shooting and editing in raw, but I only did it for that class and went right back to jpg for a year and a half. It makes a WORLD of difference when it comes to editing!

    becky @ star violet

  7. Hi, I'm new to your blog and I'm so happy I found it. Love the tips! I normally use photoshop, but you really caught my attention talking about Lightroom, so I will definitely try it and get back at you. I just followed you on bloglovin' so I never miss a post!
    Indie Suns | Bloglovin' | Instagram

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About me

About me
I’m a 19-year old college student who’s still very much “in bluhm” (heh) but I’m figuring it out as I go, laptop in hand.
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