UP YOUR VISUALS PART ONE: Preparation + Planning

Today is the first day of my IG challenge #upyourvisuals that I wrote about here.  Not only do I hope to help you, but also myself. I’m going to share what I have learned by doing my research and practicing. I’ve got a long way to go because I’m not still not content with my photography, or rather my visuals on my blog. It is getting better, but I’m still seeing room for much more improvement. In fact I’m considering writing postmortem reports as I’m developing my skills and posting them here on the blog. I think it’s good to analyze your work –what went wrong and what went right. I know I learn a lot by going through my old posts and photographs (especially now that I am updating them all to put back on the site).

UP YOUR VISUALS PART ONE: Preparation + Planning

On Monday I’m starting an IG challenge for improving your visual content. #upyourvisuals

Let’s face it –visual content is what is going to help us stand out online. We can do a lot –we rock but most of us cannot do it all. I have found through the years that I often hurry things. I’ve baked a scrumptious cake and have done my best to make it look appealing but at the end of the day I’m tired and don’t give enough attention to the photo’s.

For me it’s all about timing + planning. When I plan a party I now plan in time for taking photo’s and styling. I ask for help and prepare things as much as I can in the days before. I can’t tell you how many events I’ve organized where I’ve had hardly one photo to show for it—or ended up using a photo taken by someone else that isn’t to my liking. A few years ago I decorated a wedding venue, baked the cake, made the bouquet and corsages and have almost no photo’s to show for it. Her wedding photographer was a guest that ended up working in the catering because they were short handed – I too was in the kitchen helping with things. I spent hours making wrist corsages the night before and there isn’t one picture… not one :(! Similar story for a high tea I organized. I decorated the chairs, designed my own menu and made everything from scratch. I ended up with a few out of focus photo’s and I actually wanted it all photographed –for me it’s just too much for one day. This is why if I can’t find the time to do it myself I will ask for help and again planning – it’s so important! If I plan in a photo shoot I won’t be left with regrets.

UP YOUR VISUALS PART ONE: Preparation + Planning

Day one
Preparation + Planning

It’s time to  up your visuals in this, part one; Preparation + Planning. As I’ve mentioned before preparing + planning for your blogs imagery is crucial. It’s my #1 mistake. This week I’m going to really be confronted with my lack of preparation since we are preparing to take out 70 square meters of flooring that will be replaced next week. This also means emptying the living, kitchen and hallway spaces. I’ve already given myself a D+ for overall planning (good start 😉 but I’m deterimed to finish). I should of prepared more for this series of posts. I have so little time and because my own computer has crashed I don’t have access to my notes. Next time I’m go to Evernote everything!

These steps are not in a specific order they are simply five steps for better preparing and planning.


Planning your shoots is essential for good end results. Planning is not just setting a date but also making sure you have all the props you’ll need and other necessities for the shoot. Checking the weather is also a must do, especially if your going to be working outside.

I use Evernote for my planning but you can use whatever works for you. Evernote allows me to create notebooks with pages where I can plan things. It allows me to add images, external links and I can share with anybody I am working together with. It is also accessible where ever you have internet.


Brainstorming! To make something unique you first need an idea. Pinterest is a good place to find inspiration but you’ll need to be more precise when it comes to your visuals. I sugget drawing something out or simply placing your ideas on paper, whether that is a digital note or an actual notebook. You after all want something you’ve created and not a copy of something else.  Influence is good, but give things your own spin. It’s tough being original, and with so many talented creatives online it’s hard to stand out but you must try. Even if it’s been done hundreds of times before you can take an element of it and combine that with something different. Bring together enough of these ideas and you might just come up with a combination that hasn’t already been done.


Build on your idea. Decide on your props, backgrounds and locations. Keep in mind lighting + weather. Keep alternative props and backgrounds around. You might want to change things after you’ve gotten started. What seemed like a good idea at first might not come across in the photos. Don’t forget to add movement to your photo’s. I’ll get into this in detail when I discuss composition.

UP YOUR VISUALS PART ONE: Preparation + Planning


Clean and organize your work space. Clutter can be a huge distraction for me. I try to place the props I’m certain I will use in one area and optional props close by. I also keep an iron around if I’m using textile. Cleaning is also so important. You’ll either ruin a photo or end up spending a lot of time editing if you haven’t cleaned your space and your props. You’ll feel better too if the work space is cleaned up. We have cats so the cats are not allowed into my work space once I’ve picked it out and have started the process of creating. If you are photographing an interior remove things from shelving and restyle what you want in the photo. This won’t mean you’re not being authentic. There is nothing wrong with curating your photo’s!


Start creating! Set up the camera and play with the props until you are happy with the composition. This also can help with motivation. If your starting to picture the end result and it’s making you happy it will boost your spirits and I think this will reflect in your photo’s.

EXTRA TIP: Silence your phone

I hope my tips have helped and that we can all  learn from them. Below are some links to those who’ve already rocked it.

Blogs + small businesses who’ve got awesome imagery.

DECOR8 – Holly Becker and her team have got it right!

Zilverblauw – Talk about signature style and great composition!

Call Me Cupcake – She has got it all… beautiful imagery and awesome recipes!

Local Milk – It’s so incredible reading and viewing Local Milk. Beth is a huge inspiration source for me!

Binti Home – If I’m not mistaken almost all of her blog content is her own. The photo’s that Souraya takes and styles are so recognizable. Such a beautiful way of styling, photographing and her compositions are so spot on. I can scroll through Pinterest and recognize her work instantly.

Posts I’ve found that have helped me in the process of  preparing + planning

How to create a functional workspace you love

Creative Cleanse

5 tips for creative brainstorming and staying unique

Healthy productive work habbits

5 steps for staying on track

Good reads

When you realize your blog sucks

Authenticity in blogging

My challenge for today was to photograph my breakfast. I wanted to keep it simple on this rainy Monday morning (longest breakfast I ever had!!!).

UP YOUR VISUALS PART ONE: Preparation + Planning


I hope this has helped you.
#upyourvisuals and have a nice day 🙂


xoxo Micheile

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