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  • Nia Strothers

Take Pictures Like a Pro on an Amateur Budget

If you don't have the money to pay for a photographer, and you don't have a friend that would be willing to take pictures for you, I'm here to tell you that there is a way to get around spending tons of money just to get great pictures. For bloggers and small business owners just starting out, developing quality photos is a very important aspect of online branding. Pictures are one of the main ways you will engage users online, and pictures also distinguish you from your competitors. The key to making sales online or increasing traffic on your website is producing high quality photos, which can be very pricey when you look into the costs of hiring a photographer. This can be a burdensome cost, especially when you aren't making much money yet. If you're on a tight budget (like me), and you want to take all of your pictures yourself (like me), then check out my tips below outlining how I take my own pictures, and the gadgets I use to make it happen.

About a year ago I invested in the Sony a5000 Digital Camera. My rationale for buying the camera was that I'd spend double the price of a nice camera on a few photoshoots with a professional photographer. If I have a camera of my own, this allows me unlimited photoshoots forever, so it was a no brainer for me. I got my camera used from for about $350. I know what you're thinking; why would I pay so much for a digital camera when there are DSLR cameras that are a few hundred dollars more expensive? Well, all of the DSLR cameras in my price range were super bulky, and I wanted something that would fit into my purse. Second, this camera has an amazing wifi function that allows me to take pictures, and immediately transfer them to my phone in seconds without any cords or anything which is very convenient. I also love that the screen flips up, so I can always see when I'm in frame. Lastly, the quality of the pictures this camera produces is TOTALLY comparable to a DSLR camera. I'd highly recommend investing in a good quality camera.

The great thing about the camera I purchased is that it has a 'smartphone remote feature.' Basically this means that I can download an app, configure it to my camera, and BOOM my Iphone becomes a handheld remote that I can use to control my camera. If your camera doesn't have this feature, there are plenty of other universal camera remotes you can buy online that will work with most cameras. Having a remote for your camera is the key to taking your own photos. ​There's also the option of using the self timer feature on your camera, but I just prefer having a remote because you can snap pictures back to back without having to run back and fourth to your camera to keep resetting the timer for each picture.

I purchased this universal tripod from Target for around $20. I like it because it is sturdy, and if the wind blows I know my camera wont go toppling over onto the ground. Ok, so here's the fun part! I attach my camera to the tripod, enable the remote feature, and make sure I'm in frame using the flip up screen on my camera. When you start snapping pictures, make sure you choose poses that look natural, but also conceal your remote. I think the hardest part about this is choosing poses that capture my vision for the pictures I'm taking, while making sure the remote can't be seen. Sometimes I want to do certain poses and I can't, so their are some limitations to taking your own pictures, but I think those cons outweigh the pros of the flexibility I have in controlling my own photography sessions.

My favorite part about taking my own pictures is scoping out cute little parks or water front areas to take advantage of scenic views. I live in Charleston, SC where there is endless scenery to explore, but if the area you live in doesn't have many outdoor backdrops, your backyard might be just the place to capture that perfect picture. I try to choose places to take pictures that are quiet, with limited foot traffic so I can avoid people walking by, or nosey strangers asking me what I'm doing. I hope this guide to taking high quality photos on a budget was helpful to you, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to comment below, or shoot me an email.


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