Photography equipment can be very pricey. But you don't need to splash out to improve your photographs. You can upgrade the quality of your blog photos for free, with items you already have at home, or by using items that are inexpensive and easy to find. I've been using these tricks in my blog photos for years. There are many freebies and samples to be found but even when you need to spend money, these handy tools won't break the bank. It's a good idea to read my original post on blog photography if you're just getting started (there's info on lighting and editing) and then come back to this post for 7 essential and affordable items to have in your kit....
White Poster Board = Reflector
Heavy shadows on your images? A big sheet of white card or board will work. Reduce the shadows and brighten your images by positioning the card on the opposite side to your light source and bouncing the light back onto the subject. You can buy a piece of card from most craft or stationery shops, usually a pound or two depending on size and thickness. (A1 mount board works for me - it has a bit of bend to it which helps when using as a reflector) Get the most for your money and buy a piece that is colourful on one side and plain white on the other. A backdrop and reflector in one!
Colourful Paper = Backdrops & Floordrops
In the same craft or stationery store you'll find A3, A2 and A1 sizes of colourful paper. Super cheap and so long as they are kept wrinkle free they make perfect backdrops for a variety of subjects or floordrops for flat-lay photography.
Wallpaper Samples = Backdrops & Floordrops
Your local wallpaper shop may have a bargain bucket where wallpaper off-cuts can be bought very cheaply. It's also worth asking if you can take a sample from a large roll to take home (they are usually quite generous with the sample sizes, 1 metre or even half a metre is big enough for product photography) I like to use wood and stone effect wallpapers!
Fabric & Clothing = Backdrops & Floordrops
You can use throws, blankets or bedding as a backdrop for your photographs. I have some big fluffy cardigans that I'll lay out and shoot jewellery on. Using fabric adds texture to your images and if you can find new uses for what you already have, even better.
Desk Lamp = Studio Lighting
Use your desk lamp to add extra light to your images on a dull day. Adjustable lamps are the best. Shine the lamp through wax paper, white paper or thin white fabric (be extra careful it doesn't get hot) to diffuse the 'spotlight' effect. And remember adding warm artificial light will effect the colour of your photos so check your white balance is on the best setting to compensate.
Paper or Card for Pop-Up Flash = Flash Diffuser
I don't really like using on-camera flash in my photographs because it can look so harsh. Natural light is the way to go, but if the situation demands it, there are lots of ways to utilise your pop-up flash. You only need to Google 'pop up flash diffuser' and you'll see how using a piece of white paper bent around your flash bounces some of the light upwards and disperses the harsh light that's hitting your subject. You'll reduce those ugly shadows and you'll see your photos improve. Just with a piece of paper!
White Curtains = Reflector Tent
The curtains hanging in your window will very likely be lined with white fabric. Create a light tent by pulling these around yourself, your camera and your subject! The natural daylight, best when diffused by clouds, will bounce off the white fabric and back on to your subject rather than being lost into the room. More light = higher quality photos. This trick is also perfect for taking selfies as it's very flattering to skin.
If you found this post helpful you might like my other blog posts on improving your photography