#HLSBlogPhotog Recap


Looking to take your pictures up to the next level? Learn how to master a few essential photography basics that will make your blog truly stand out. Though this presentation will focus predominantly on DSLR basics, Gretchen Powell of Honey I Shrunk the Gretchen will also cover a few tricks to step up your point & shoot and camera phone photos as well!



  • “Having crisp, clean photos does not have to be time consuming!”
  • The quality between a DSLR and a camera phone IS indeed noticeable.
  • If you want to get serious about improving your photography, get a DSLR and tripod.  Especially for food photography; consider a 50mm lens camera.  It doesn’t zoom, but it’s a perfect start for food photos for your blog.
  • DSLR cameras don’t need to be brand new expensive – look for used cameras, and lenses!, on E-bay.  Most people take really good care of their DSLR cameras, so buying one second hand is usually a good bet.


  • If you do have a DSLR, but you choose to shoot only on auto, you’re wasting your time.  Shooting manual all the time can be a pain, but it’s worth it to take the time to get to know your manual setting!
  • NEVER use your camera’s flash unless it’s an emergency! This is a photography rule we should all commit to PRONTO. Flash washes photos out, and makes them look harsh and unappealing.  Flash highlights moisture and oil and causes reflections in the photo.
  • Use natural lighting if at all possible. It’s the best bet for taking a great photo.


  • Get a Gorillapod to help get a steady shot.  Stability is important because it guarantees a clean, crisp photo.
  • Smart phone photographers: invest in an app to add a 2-second self-timer setting to your camera.
  • A High ISO means more light, but also more of a grainy, noisy look.
  • Aperture is the feature that changes the depth of field; when the focus is on one point or item in the photo, and the background or foreground is blurrier.
    • A wide aperture is a low number, which means lots of light and a shallow depth of field.
    • A shallow aperture is a high number, which means less light and a broad depth of field.  This is the less blurry background.
  • White dishes makes your food standout.  Also use muted colors in your placemats and napkins to keep the focus on the dish.


  • When plating a whole meal, use a rectangular plate and line up the dishes to make a clean scene.
  • Gretchen suggests PicMonkey for online photo editing.  Students and teachers can get big discounts on fancy photo editing software – look into what is available!
  • Gretchen suggests the Camera Plus! app for Iphones – it’s worth the 99 cent splurge!
  • Hold your iPhone camera horizontal more often!


Gretchen Powell is the blogger behind the weight loss blog “Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!“. She began her blog in August of 2010 as a way of tracking her weight loss and breaking free from a lifelong toxic relationship with food. Beginning her health journey at over 246 pounds, Gretchen has successfully lost 60 pounds and completed many fitness challenges thanks to her blog. Most recently, she ran the 200-mile Reach the Beach Relay with a team of fellow bloggers. Though her blog began as a way to keep herself committed to a healthier lifestyle, it has since developed into a place for her to share her thoughts, love for food, and photos of her life, recipes, and adorable miniature schnauzers.

As her blog expanded, Gretchen developed a deep love of and appreciation for the aesthetic aspects of blogging, particularly photography. Under the tutelage of her brother, a professional photographer, she began to expand her working knowledge of photography to help do justice to the healthy recipes she was creating for her blog. Doing so sparked a deep appreciation for vibrant photographs that she believes can be achieved by any blogger. She knows first-hand how intimidating it can seem to obtain beautiful photos, but is committed to the idea that taking high-quality pictures do not take a ton of time, nor do they require a professional’s skill. Her HLS session will focus on easy photography basics that can help any blogger take their blog’s visual appeal up to the next level.