It’s not what you’ve got it’s how you use it!



I was delighted to be ask to say a few words at BloggerConf – our topic was ‘JUST ONE THING’ – mine is about photography. I’m not an expert by any means but here are a few tips.

I’ve often heard bloggers being told they need DSLR cameras for good quality images. You really don’t. I’ve seen people with the most expensive of cameras take awful photos. Hence it’s not what you’ve got it’s how you use it. I’m pretty sure Jamie Oliver could make a good meal on a camping stove if you get my drift. All the photos on this post were taken with a phone.


Photography” literally means “writing or drawing with light.” So it’s all about good lighting. I think lighting can make or break a photo. I’m not a fan of flash photography at the best of times so where possible try to use natural light.

Snowy Sligo

Keep an eye on your background. You don’t want someone to look like they have a tree growing out of their head. You also don’t want to have a load of rubbish in the background either. So when you are looking through your screen look at the whole picture. It’s easier to get things right when you take the image than afterwards in editing.

Dromore West


Hold the camera or your phone steady. If you don’t have a tripod or you are like me and can’t be bothered to carry one with you keep your legs slightly apart – o’er missus – and keep your arms in close to your body. It will help with camera shake. Leaning on walls, bins or anything else to steady yourself will help too.


Try not to over-process photos. I know we are all fans of filters and that’s great but sometimes less is more. I’ve seen landscape photos posted that are so saturated with colour they don’t look natural at all. I’m adding the original photo above and over processed below. You’d be amazed how many people actually prefer the one below – but I’m not one of them πŸ˜‰

Sligo - over processed

Keep your focal point in mind. If you are taking a landscape photo, having an animal, person or object in the image can really make a difference and turn it from a fairly dull photo into something interesting. There’s the whole rule of thirds too but that’ll turn this blog post into a book.


Try different angles and different directions. Digital doesn’t cost anything, it’s not like the days of film thankfully. So try the same shot from a different perspective, you might surprise yourself with the result.


Snapseed. I’m a big fan of this for editing phone photos, even just for straightening photos or cropping, it’s a really handy app.

Most importantly have fun! Photography started as a hobby for me and turned into an obsession. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do – except blogging and eating cake! πŸ˜‰



10 thoughts on “It’s not what you’ve got it’s how you use it!

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  1. Lovely, brilliant. I seem to recall some years ago David Bailey putting on an exhibition of photos he took with the old disposable snapshot cameras. Same philosophy as yourself πŸ™‚

  2. Fab tips Val, sorry I missed the conference today. I always feel I’m cheating by using my phone for most of my photos, but you know what it’s always with me and I catch more moments with it for that. Amazing phone photos you have there, can’t believe your snow one is a phone photo. Super job!

  3. The problems with SLR… Size and time. some of the best photo’s need to be taken in an instant not planned and set. I tend to use my point and shoot more than my bridge but even the bridge is default set to point and shoot. Waste of time using fancy setting that might be awful when you get the pic on a big screen.
    Of course forget all the above if taking what I call specialised photos.

    1. I agree Tony. I find the phone is a lot less conspicuous for taking things like street shots. I also find the DSLR is causing my back a bit of damage due to the weight of it. Phone cameras are improving all the time. My S6 has a lot of manual settings on it too – the only downfall is the zoom – but there’s no one perfect camera out there.

  4. Pingback: BloggerConf

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