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Learning from the Pros

January 25, 2012
by thenestinggame

There were so many awesome sessions at Alt—and some scary ones where they mentioned lawyers and trademarks and Google Webmaster. But the one I was most excited about was called “The Ins and Outs of Design Blogging.” The panel featured 3 of my favorite bloggers and a fourth who’s blog I can’t wait to dig into.

Kirsten from Simply Grove and Jenny from Little Green Notebook shared some enlightening tips for networking, building readership, defining your voice and staying inspired to blog. (If you’d like to know what they said, just leave a comment and I’ll be happy to share.) But I thought Emily and Morgan’s portion of the panel would be the most interesting to blog about.

Emily (Style by Emily Henderson) talked about—what else—styling. First tip: Your photos should have a sense that a real person lives there.

Your vignettes should crest and recede. Avoid high peaks and low valleys.

There are 3 elements to a great vignette. Something solid and horizontal (like a book). Something vertical with height (like branches or taper candles). And something sculptural with an organic shape (like a round vase, flowers or a sculpture).

If you’re going to show clothing or accessories, make sure they are unique pieces. (Not a dress from the Gap.)

Open flowers look the best. Ask the florist for day-old flowers from the back. (You might even get ‘em cheap!)

If you haven’t been to Morgan Satterfield’s blog The Brick House, you are missing out. She lives in California near Palm Springs and I LOVE her mid-century desert style. And her giant amazing photos. Oh. And she’s hilarious. She shared some of her tips for taking great pictures.

Shoot in natural light. And turn your lamps OFF.

Get below eye level. This is something Taylor has taught me as well. It makes you feel like you’re sitting in the room as opposed to looking down on it.

Cheat objects so they look good in the frame. So move items forward or backward, from side-to-side, or out of the frame completely.

I can’t say for sure that Morgan scooched anything around in this picture, but it’s possible she moved the table toward camera a smidge so you’d see the entire firebox, even if in real life the table is a bit further back. Or the chair to the right? Or the table on the far right into the frame just-so? You get the idea.

Post-production is your friend. Morgan ups her brightness, contrast and saturation.

Some good tips here, right? Which one(s) will help you out the most? You can be like me and answer “all of the above.”

Thanks to the awesome panel for sharing their design smarts. And if you missed my interview with Emily Henderson, check it out here.

Kirsten Grove, Jenny Komenda, Emily Henderson, Morgan Satterfield

Emily’s photos via her blog. Morgan’s photos via hers.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 11:44 am

    I WISH I could shoot in natural light. But alas the dungeon (aka my apartment) is too dark. Good tips otherwise though. I think your photos are already great. And now I’m excited to see them get better.

  2. Taylor permalink
    January 25, 2012 11:47 am

    All good tips. Looking forward to your future photos.

  3. January 25, 2012 5:46 pm

    Oh, please share with me!
    As for what’s most helpful–I like the first tip best. I always prefer rooms that look real. Really concur on post-production, and I think the one about cheating objects is the same as/similar to the rule of thirds? I think of it as putting the main object anywhere but smack in the middle of the frame.

    Would love to go to a conference like this–so appreciate your posts sharing the wealth of information.

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      January 30, 2012 7:34 pm

      Rita, here are some of the tips Kirsten and Jenny shared with us:

      Kirsten
      1. Be strategic with your social networking. Find out where you community is (FB, twitter, Pinterest) and hang out there.
      2. Network with like-minded bloggers online.
      3. Pitch your projects to big blogs personally and concisely.
      4. Original content is the most important thing to have.

      Jenny
      1. Bloggers want to know what YOU think. Have a personality and use it.
      2. That said, ask your readers what they think and welcome their opinion.
      3. Stay organized. Jenny recommended the Teux Deux app.

      • January 30, 2012 7:42 pm

        Thanks Molly! And about that other thing–notification of your reply here DID come to my inbox. What’s up with that? I’ll let you know if I get a message telling me about your next post.

  4. January 31, 2012 12:55 am

    Thanks, Molly, for all of the wonderful tips. I so need them. My pics need them. So bummed I missed Alt, but I won’t make that mistake next year. Thanks again.

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