How to Create Stunning Styled Photos for Your Blog for Under $10
Surely you’ve heard how important branding is. If you really want to make a living from your blog or online business, you need to be professional and recognizable. A key part of blog branding is having your own style of photos that represents your brand. While many people are out spending hundreds of dollars on professional shoots, you can be learning how to create stunning styled photos for your blog for under $10.
What You’ll Need
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There are just a handful of items that you will need for this photo shoot. I’m assuming everyone has a roll of wrapping paper or a white sheet laying around somewhere, so I didn’t include these in the purchase list. Either one will make a great background for your photos. If not, add a roll of wrapping paper from the Dollar Tree to your list, and you’ll still be under $11.
Most of the styled photos in this post were taken using ONLY the purchased items for under $10, and some free paint chips. I added my iPhone to one just for fun, to show you that you can really expand your options IF you have some extra props laying around. It is not necessary – just an option!
So let’s take a look at the list of purchased items I used for these styled photos, and then I will give you a few ideas for some extra props that you can add if you want to get more creative.
3 Apple Barrel 2 oz Paints ($0.50 each at Walmart = $1.50)
2 Baby Food Jars ($0.60 each at Walmart = $1.20)
1 Small Glass Vase ($1.00 at Dollar Tree)
1 Bag of Glass Gems ($1.00 at Dollar Tree)
1 Pack of Standard Push Pins ($1.00 at Dollar Tree)
1 Pack of Shaped Push Pins ($1.00 at Dollar Tree)
1 Notebook ($1.00 at Dollar Tree)
1 Mini Clipboard ($0.96 at Walmart)
1 Pack of Small Paint Brushes ($1.00 at Dollar Tree)
Paint Chips (FREE!)
Total = $9.66
Optional Add-Ons (if you have them laying around):
Matching Coffee Cup (or a plain white one)
Office Supplies (if they match)
How to Make Styled Photos
One of the most important things to consider for styled photos is your color palette. Do you already have one? If not, it’s time to choose some colors for your brand!
Choosing Your Brand Colors
There are several ways you can do this, but for our purposes, I’m suggesting that you go look at acrylic paints. You can find Apple Barrel acrylic paints (or other similar brands) at Walmart or any popular craft store. THIS is what they look like, and they are usually cheapest at Walmart.
If you already have your brand colors picked out, that’s fine. Just choose the acrylic paints that are the closest matches. If not, look through the paints and decide on 2-3 colors that you like a LOT and want to use to represent your brand.
Tips for Purchasing Your Items
1) If you cannot find push pins that match your color palette, try to get clear ones. These will fill in the bottom of your jars so you don’t have to paint all of them.
2) The Dollar Tree usually has a great variety of glass gems, sea shells, sand, and small rocks. Choose something that matches your style and brand colors. If they don’t have your colors, use clear glass gems, or small natural seashells. They will still add a nice touch to your styled photos.
3) Pick out your acrylic paints first. Then choose paint chips that match as closely as possible.
4) Find a notebook or planner that matches your color palette.
Painting the Props
Get your acrylic paints and little paint brushes ready now, because this is where they come in. To personalize your photos, you will be using the colors you chose to paint the glass baby food jars, the push pins, and the mini clip board.
There is no exact science to this. If you found push pins that happen to be one of your brand colors, you saved a step! Otherwise, carefully paint about 25-30 of them. They look best if you apply 3-4 coats, waiting about 20-30 minutes in between.
(Note: If you only have 2 colors, use one color for the push pins and the other color for the baby food jars to hold them.)
Next, empty the baby food jars, clean and dry them. Apply 3-4 coats of paint to the outside, allowing it to dry each time. If you want to personalize it further, you can paint a monogram onto the jars with one of the other colors.
If your mini clipboard does not already match, remove the paper pad and apply a few coats of paint to the board.
How to Set up the Styled Photo Shoot
First, roll out several feet of your wrapping paper onto a hard surface with even lighting, blank side up. Fill the vase with glass gems (or a substitute), and fill the jars with push pins, saving the painted ones for the top.
Arrange your notebook/planner, clipboard, jars, and vase on the paper. Drop extra push pins randomly around the scene.
You can add a relevant slogan to a paint chip, or cut a monogram out of one to add your own personal touch.
If you have other items available, feel free to add them to your shoot. A clean smartphone, a laptop, a calendar, a cup of coffee, and writing utensils are some great professional-looking props that can add more value to your styled photos. Be creative…or leave it simple.
Taking and Editing Styled Photos
This is the fun part. You can use your phone, a DSLR, or a point and shoot camera for the photos. I used THIS camera for all of these, to give you an idea of the quality for a reasonable point and shoot model.
If you have the option, increase your exposure a bit, in order to get a brighter white background. Just don’t increase it to the point where it washes out your colors.
For more help on taking photos, check out my post, 5 Tips for Taking Awesome Photos for Your Blog.
To edit your photos for free, use PicMonkey or PhotoScape. They both have a lot of editing options, including filters, color adjustments, adding text, and cropping.
Creating Your Own Styled Photos for Cheap is Easy
You did it! Was that easy or what? As you can see, you really can create stunning styled photos for your blog for under $10. All of the photos here were taken using these exact items and methods. If you are having trouble producing similar results, let me know and I will be glad to help you figure out what is going wrong.
Have you taken your own styled photos using another low-cost method? Feel free to share your ideas with the rest of us! And subscribe to get more great tips like these in your inbox!