blogging & photography

by | Aug 10, 2011 | Photography, Running a Business | 44 comments

If you take a poll of new DIY bloggers asking what’s on their Christmas list, probably over half would say a nice digital SLR.  It doesn’t take long for a blogger to realize the importance of photography in the blog world.

The above shot is from a recent Cottages and Bungalows photo shoot.
The above picture is from my first blog post.  It’s not bad.  I had taken a photography class years ago, so I knew the basic principles.  It’s just not very dynamic and I didn’t have enough faith in myself to use manual mode.  I thought the camera was smarter than I was.  I knew flash was no good, so I would shoot on the portrait setting and just hold the flash down with my finger.  I also didn’t know anything about the wonders of Photoshop.
The photo above has been edited in Adobe Photoshop Elements.  I used actions from Florabella Actions to sharpen the picture and bring out the colors a bit more.  The one below is straight out of the camera.  The difference is subtle, but actions just make good pictures a little bit better.

Here’s one more example.  Below is the picture with action…

…and without…

The time also came when I finally learned how to use my camera.  It’s so tempting to let your big intimidating digital SLR do everything for you, but I will tell you that the best thing you can do is take control and learn how to use manual mode.  Another area I have grown in is staging.  I’m definitely not an expert, but I’ve learned that it’s worth taking the time to style a photograph.

I still have tons to learn and I’m ignorant about so many things in the photography world, but one thing I know for sure is that it’s a skill worth honing.  If you’re interested in sharpening your photo skills, you can find great series and tutorials on…

My Three Boybarians – 31 Days to a Better Photo
Centsational Girl – Photography
The Pioneer Woman – Photography
My friend Donna also had a great series on taking good pictures with a point and shoot.

Oh and there are so many others, but I just don’t have time to gather them all.

So, what’s my point?  I want to encourage you.  You can be a good photographer and take great pictures.  Just be a willing student and the great thing about a digital camera is you don’t have to fret about wasting film.  Just hit the delete button if you take a bad pictures.  So, dive into those manuals and hit the forums, read up on photography tips and snap away.  And if you don’t have a blog, you’ll be capturing beautiful memories of your family and that’s certainly worth it.

Before I go, I wanted to give a quick update on Albert Crombie.  Julie helped me find his daughter-in-law, grand daughter and great-grand daughter on FaceBook.  I sent them messages and I’m waiting for a reply.  I’ll keep everyone posted!

I’m headed to the gym tomorrow followed by a bowl of divine cream of crab soup with my mother-in-law and a trip to Lucketts to refill my space.


  1. Ambika

    Can't agree more to the importance of good photos to a blog. I find myself never going back to a blog which is all words. Some eye-candy too please 🙂

  2. Rosemary@villabarnes

    Thanks for all the wonderful tips. Photography is something I'm constantly working on. It makes such a huge impact on a post. I'll take a great shot, and not remember how I did it. I'll be checking out these tutorials. Thanks again.

  3. Andrea

    Thanks for the tips. Right before I started my blog, I invested in a nice SLR camera and it makes the world of difference. Now, I just need to take control of that darn camera!

  4. Miss Kitty

    Thanks so much for that information. I did get a DSRL a couple of months after starting my blog and it makes a hugh difference in the quality of my pictures BUT I have such a long way to go. I tried to take a photography class but it strained my brain…I think reading on my own some of the things you have suggested, I could learn at my own pace. Is there a certain Florabella package that you use? I think when I looked at her site before, there were different ones to choose from.

  5. Wendy B.

    your well is never dry. you always have something to share generously. thanks,,, may need to work on something a little more sophisticated than point and shoot.

  6. Lynnie

    Awesome! I just started a photography class and the first thing our teacher said was, "Your camera is dumb."…..we need to be the brains. So true. Can't wait to figure it out!

  7. Laura

    Thanks a lot for this post, the links are just gorgeous.

  8. gertie @ The Old Block House

    Thank you for the links!

    I'm slowly getting better, or so I think. Now to tackle the camera I got for Christmas. I can't even tell you if it's a SLR, but it's better than the one I broke!

    gertie @ The Old Block House

  9. Farmer's Wyfe

    I'd love a SLR, but will have to wait a while for that one. So true though. How magical are your pictures now!! I'll definitely be looking up those sites you mentioned! Thanks for sharing. I have learned a lot just using my point and shoot on manual, though. It's fun to see the progress.

  10. Tee of Vinnord Cottage

    I recently discovered actions…. man have they changed my world!!! Love your blog, always in here for inspiration…

  11. Connie (aka LOU)

    Miss Mustard Seed –

    Are you saying my Nikon pocket camera that fits so nicely in my jeans pocket and goes everywhere with me is not good enough for all the blogs here? The nerve!

    Well you are right. I have been blogging only a short time and I'm feeling totally inadequate and after reading the first comment, apparently I'm wordy too.

    It didn't take me long to figure out my new pocket camera sucks. Have already started thinking about getting something different so these tips will come in handy when the time comes.

    This post made me laugh but thanks for the tips ~ but this comment is probably too long too.


  12. Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys

    I'm big on pictures too. I am almost emberrased to admit but I look through pictures in the blog first and IF they capture me, I read. I feel almost like a little kid that will only look at picture books and not chapter ones. It is what it is.

    As far as an SLR for non-bloggers? I kick myself for mot having had had one when my kids were tiny babies. The speed an SLR has to capture just the right "look" in their faces is immeasurable. Not to mention the quality of the photograph.

  13. Anonymous

    Please tell us what camera you would recommend for an SLR beginner. Is there something in the $250 range that is very good? Please don't give all these tips and not suggest a camera! Many of us are babes in the woods! I love all your photos in your blog posts.


  14. Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs

    I love how those actions enhance the pictures! I went to her amazing website and was wondering which one you have ~ They are all so cool but dang it is hard to decide on which to get 🙂

    Thank you bunches!!

  15. Amy @MaisonDecor

    Reading all about the photo tips, thanks. Hey, glad to hear you found them on facebook, saves me a trip to the old town hall! FB comes in handy doesn't it?

  16. Beth

    I am always in envy of the photos I see out in blogland, and I only have minimal manual options on my camera, but I'm not photoshop savvy either. I haven't found good tutorials on youtube yet. Perhaps I will go check out the ladies' blog's you mentioned for the photography part. I know I need help there too. Thanks for the tips!

    Hope you hear something soon from the family members. Watch it be the DIL that put the item in the garage sale to begin with. That would be awful!

  17. Larrisa Hill Designs

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Your advice could not have come at a better time. As you know, I just started my blog after following you so closely and every time you seem to outdo yourself in sharing your wonderful secrets and words of encouragement. Heather

  18. PigtownDesign

    I do use a point n'shoot camera for my blog… the SLR is too bulky to carry with me always. BUT, and it's a big one… I edit every single picture. Even if it's just tweaking the contrast and brightness, it vastly improves the pictures.

  19. Anonymous

    Since you mentioned Luckette's, I have to say Thank You for introducing it to the rest of us. You inspired several of us to take a day trip to Leesburg last Friday to check it out (I live in the Richmond, VA area), and we all love it! Your space is beautiful, as well as the things you have for sale. We were lucky enough to be able to tour the Design House as well. It was a lovely day, rest assured we will be back to shop for Christmas.
    Lori B.

  20. Cameo

    Thanks MMS for sharing your invaluable experience and insight with the rest of us newbies! You are so inspiring. I'm saving up for my first SLR right now, can't wait 🙂

  21. Vintage Rose

    I have been frustrated with my photos lately so this post is perfect timing. Thanks for the great info. and links

  22. Elaine Cascio

    Can't wait to read your blog on staging, too (hint)!

  23. Darleen

    Your photography post could not have come at a better time, MMS! This has been the hot topic around Case de Places In The Home for the past two weeks. Your staging and pics are wonderful and if you are ignorant, then I am a bumbling idiot in the photo department. I do use my PHD in photography often (push here, dummy)! Seriously though, you never know where encouragement will find you and in sensible, reassuring terms. Thanks for the photography pep talk!


  24. Anonymous

    I tried emailing you a question about a painting job I am doing but it wouldn't go thru 🙁 Could I have your email address in case I typed it in wrong? Thanks!

    Becca Van Hoose

  25. Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home}

    My biggest challenge is to blog daily. The thought of carrying a big camera with me everywhere throws me off the cliff! I will probably get there, but not for a bit. Which comes first? Are my cart and horse butting heads?

  26. Mona Kay at Blissfully Refurbished

    I can't thank you enough, this is SOOO timely!! It's at the top of my list (after making sales calls) to work on, but I wasn't sure where to turn! You are so generous in helping everyone!

  27. Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs

    Hi !!
    I am back after playing with my new Florabella Action set ~ Which one did you use do you remember?
    I love how they came out!!

    Okay back to playing ~


  28. Anonymous

    I love your blog, and I truly appreciate that you give us new information all of the time. Have you ever checked out They have lots of free actions and directions to help us novices start out. It's great not having to pay for these actions in the beginning until you have some time to play around with them.

  29. Cindy

    Thanks Marian, that was helpful, i've been wondering about getting a camera… Lately i've just been using my iphone for photos.


  30. Julia

    Like so many of the above commenters, I TOO am looking for a great SLR camera for beginners. My blog is picking up traffic and someone anonymously commented that my pictures could use some major help. HAHA! So, yeah, I think it is time to upgrade. What would you recommend under $500??

    Julia @ Chris loves Julia

  31. freckled laundry

    I really need to step outside of manual mode. I liked seeing the photo comparisons with the florabella actions…thank you. She has quite a few actions and that I adore. I think it's time for a set. Thanks for the photog links too. Hope your muscles are feeling better!

  32. Katherines Corner

    Great info. I know practically nothing about photoshop. Hugs!

  33. {darlene}

    it has been so long since I participated in your link up! Thanks for hosting, miss mustard seed!!
    – {darlene}
    fieldstone hill design

  34. Dear Lillie

    This was a great post, Marian! It is amazing the different a good photo can make. Yours are always so beautiful!

  35. M and M plus 3

    Thanks for the tips and links. My blog needs LOTS of help right about now with my picture skills. Can you guess what I'm doing this w/e? READING your links!

  36. Barbara@HausDesign

    Great resources – thanks! I can see the difference in the picture comparisons you showed – beautiful patina and more depth – my interest in photography is growing so this is great1

  37. Mitzi Curi

    What a timely post (for me). I just purchased a Canon Rebel and am working really hard to improve my photography, including staging. You are always several steps ahead of me! Thanks for the helpful links, too. I'll be checking them out.

  38. Jenn @ Handmade Homebody

    You speak the truth! I have been blogging since March and I really want a digital SLR now! Thanks for the tips and the links. 🙂

  39. Jessica @ Nuchey's Mommy

    I just found this post from linkin on your recent photo post!I am what you described above…afraid of my camera & thinking it knows more than me 🙂 Well, right now it kinda does 🙂 I am headed to check out the tutorials now! I am going to purchase the adobe photoshop & florabella that you mentioned. You do a great job arranging/staging also!

  40. darcy

    Thanks so much for the shout out, Marian!

    If you’d ever like to guest post about how you use great photos on m3b, I’d love to have you!


  41. lisa

    Hi Nick, you shared me great tips . I think they not only suit for church blogs but also can be use for all kinds of blogs.

  42. lisa

    Glenn: Slate refers to the shape, which is a single piece, as opposed to a convertible or clamshell. Loren Heiny recently declared this the “Year of the Slate,” citing such devices as the Kindle 2, CrunchPad and, yes, the iPhone. It does not imply writing. That said, handwritten input is a major advantage of the iPhone in countries like Japan that rely on character-based languages.



  1. Growing Your Blog – Photography & Styling - [...] Blogging and Photography - There are some links in this post to other great photography series and posts. [...]

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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