take great blog photos

Archetype Novel by M.D. Waters

If you’re new to blogging and not a photographer, eye-catching photos may be one of the things you’re most worried about.

I definitely stressed about it, because I didn’t want to be yet another book blogger who just used the Amazon photo of a book cover. I wanted original, beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a fancy camera (or even a super fancy phone) and I was pretty sure good photos weren’t going to happen for me.

BUT. I did a tonnnnn of research in the form of looking at, at minimum, nine million photos. And I have since tested my theory. And here’s what I came up with. You need three things for your blog photos:

  1. Great Lighting
  2. Great Styling
  3. Great Editing

These things will get you beautiful photos, even if you don’t have great equipment.

I’m going to take you through my process with a few sets of photos for recent posts.

Step 1 – Great Lighting

This is possibly the most important part. I live in a dungeon. I mean, not really. But seriously. There is zero adequate lighting in my home. Which means I grab all my stuff and head out to my driveway at 5:30 in the morning, when the sun is rising.

If you’re lucky enough to not live in a dungeon, your hours are considerably less limited. I do it so early because the sun is rising, but hasn’t risen. This cuts down dramatically on shadows. For a good portion of the day, the sun is directly overhead and makes intense shadows everywhere, and it’s just more work for your editing process.

So this is basically what my initial set up looks like:

Blog Photo Set up

Yeah, seriously. (Pay no mind to my filthy driveway.) I got my background pieces at Office Max, FOR FREE because they were no longer using them for a display and they were about to be thrown out. Because they’re so lightly colored, they work really well for almost anything I set up against them.

So I take a variety of photos, to make sure I have options when I choose which ones I want. I take some horizontally, and some vertically, because different social media sites like different things.

How to: Blog Photo Styling  How to: Blog Photo Styling How to: Blog Photo Styling


I also change up the styling. Which brings me to

Step 2 – Great Styling

I’m sure you can see that I have a ton of props. I try to use props that work with the subject matter of the book. Sometimes it’s things you’d only get if you read the book.

For instance, for the Archetype Shoot, I used the book, some paintbrushes/tubes, and a sign that says “Bring me to the beach.” I used these things because they were relevant to the plot of the book.

I also move things around a ton, trying to decide where I like things best.

Blog Photo Styling Blog Photo Styling Blog Photo Styling

Step 3 – Great Editing

This is where the magic happens

Archetype Novel by M.D. Waters Various chick lit The Novel Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler The Novel Fates by Lanie Bross

Here are the final products! If you’d like to see my editing process, here’s a post on how I use PicMonkey to edit photos.

11 thoughts on “How to Take Great Blog Photos (Without Expensive Equipment)

  1. Um. I’ve been so proud of myself for those “Amazon” pictures of book covers, because when I started blogging I didn’t use pictures at all . . . (smiling) I guess it’s time for me to branch into something more creative and interesting. Thanks for the gentle push.

  2. Savanah, unfortunately I wake up at 5:30 or even earlier every day, so I could do this! I love that you “suffer for your art.” Thanks for the tips.

    1. Savanah says:

      Well I’m sorry you have to be up so early, but glad I could provide you with a silver lining 😀

      Thank you so much for looking!

  3. Evelina says:

    5.30 in the morning, holy crap 😀 I’m not awake till it’s 9 xD are you one of the early birds?

    1. Savanah says:

      I am not naturally an early bird. I suffer for my art XD

      1. Evelina says:

        Dang, that makes it all the more impressive 😀

        1. Savanah says:

          You’re too kind!

  4. Jessi says:

    Yes great tips! Thanks for linking up with #TurnitupTuesday

    1. Savanah says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Savanah says:

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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