People are visual creatures and that means that bloggers really need to be using photos and video if they want to build a decent list of subscribers. As people often say, pics get clicks. So even if you just plan on your blog being a primarily words driven product, good visuals are a great way to lift your blog to a more professional level.
A properly set up workspace is really key to incorporating pictures and video into your blog. This generally means having a small space permanently set aside to take pictures or video. While this is a little bit of initial work, the result will be a space with good, flexible lighting, a great background and an easy functionality. The best part is that you will only need to set it up once and tweak it now and then.
The payoff will be pictures or videos with a streamlined, visual consistency that makes a product recognisable amongst the millions of others out there. Let's not forget that a professional looking blog will also encourage visitors to explore more of your blog, become a subscriber or just wait for a video to load. So keep reading for a few tips to get you started.
The average person greatly underestimates the space needed to take decent photos for a photo blog. For some reason people tend to back up against a wall or object of interest when posing for photos. In fact, you should often do the opposite. Look at this great set up with a cityscape backdrop by Posters.nl. A little space between you and the backdrop will make you much larger than the background and ensure that you are the real focus of attention.
If you are photographing objects, consider the space needed to set up lights. Many people assume you need expensive equipment for basic still photography, but a lot can be done with household lamps. The strength of these ordinary lights can be controlled by setting them up at different distances from the subject. The legs of a tripod will also take up more room than expected. If you are regularly going to take photos, it's also very helpful to have a permanent soft-box set up. This is great for creating even light around small objects and is a cheap DIY project. All you need are cheap spotlights, white tracing paper and a cardboard box with holes cut out.
A tidy workspace for blogging or vlogging will help create a sense of order and professionalism. This is crucial for the home blogger who needs to keep up their self-motivation and avoid any energy draining chaos. A well-organised space will also help you track and focus on your goals. A wall calendar with a list of key objectives, a time-line and goals with concrete dates will really help keep you accountable for the time you spend getting this project up and running. And of course, if you're video blogging, you don't want viewers to see all that mess!
If you're investing in storage furniture, look at something that might work well on camera. It's often good to have a few different backgrounds to available when shooting. Something like these round wall storage tubes by Kisskalt Designs would make a great background for a photo blog.
The aspects of still photography mentioned earlier apply here. But the main difference is that you will probably need even more space for making videos. We're afraid to say that there are few people will want to see your face at that angle and no not that close! Unless you're a swimsuit model or a fashion blogger it's not likely anyone will want to see more than your head and shoulders either. A mirror can be a great way to gauge the distance needed for the perfect framing. After you have found the perfect spot, mark the spots on the floor and start setting up the equipment. Obviously it's best to avoid a walkway where you will need to dismantle and set up the camera repeatedly. So in this room the sofas on the right would be a great spot.
Also, visual consistency is important and it will help create a sense of professionalism and flow in your on-going projects. In the following tips we will cover the issues of light and it will become clear just how having a permanent space set up with cut down on the work to come.
Most people freeze up in front of a camera, so it's always a good idea to give them some comfortable seating. Two comfortable seats angled towards each other will also help you or your interviewer establish a rapport with the subject. It will do wonders in getting your subject to concentrate on the topic and forget about the camera completely. But even if you are just planning on addressing the camera yourself, a sofa will induce a feeling of relaxation while delivering the information and turn it less into a lecture and more into a conversation. As most modern educators know, that's a great way to really connect with the audience.
Have a look at this sofa set up by YurovDesign the sofa fits all the criteria and isn't so soft that people will slouch. It also has a great, abstract background that will add interest without detracting attention from the subjects.
Tip: avoid a high backed chair or sofa that will create a potentially distracting horizontal line behind the person's head.
An extraordinary backdrop will lift a video blog to a glossy, professional level. Obviously it's important to use visuals that support and really work with your viewers and subject. The main thing is to avoid extremely strong patterns or stripes that distract. Simplicity is key, so it's generally good to avoid busy backgrounds. Glossy surfaces can be problematic as well because they often reflect camera equipment. It's also good to avoid oversaturated colours. These tend to throw off the white balance readings on video cameras and you may end up with an ugly cast to your skin tones. If you give enough space between you and your background, the background may fall a tiny bit out of focus and really make your subject the rightful centre of attention.
Laptops may have become slimmer, but the act of video editing tends to accumulate a whole lot of excess cords, an extra monitor, sound equipment, memory drives and uh… countless cups of coffee! So a long, expansive desk space is an absolute asset. Not only will it help you organise your blogging space, it will allow for paper notes and designated areas for different projects. For finishes, you can't beat a wooden desk for comfort. Glass surfaces are increasingly popular for their sleek look. But finally, don't forget that the desk itself may end up being a prop at some point, so find something simple and beautiful. Good luck with your blog!
If you are interested in creating a great home office, you would love this Ideabook Essential guide to creating a well organised office.