I think photography is one of the trickier subjects that comes hand in hand with blogging, it can be difficult to get right and I know that it's something that I myself constantly strive to improve. I've had an interest in photography since long before I started this blog and also studied photography in my last year of high school so I have a basic knowledge base to build upon but the vast majority of my photography skills come from the Internet and its vast array of tips and tutorials. There's a hell of a lot to cover under photography, I could probably write an entire series on this topic alone, but I'll start out with the basics.
This can be a bit of a controversial subject matter, but in all honesty you do not need to spend a fortune in order to create beautiful images. I introduced the majority of my camera kit in this post a while ago and while I do use a DSLR for my photos this is because I already owned one and you do not need to splash out on one unless you really want to. These days most mobile phones come with a decent camera as standard, so if all you have is your phone then who cares? There are many other ways you can make your photos stand out, such as using lighting, composition and editing to your advantage.
Apart from the photo taking device itself I would definitely recommend a few other pieces for your photography kit such as a tripod and remote. My tripod and remote (full review of my remote here) are both available from Amazon at a bargain price. These come in handy for outfit photos as well as giving you a bit more flexibility when setting up photos by leaving your hands free. As well as this I always keep some white tack handy to keep things in place and a sheet of white card or poster board to create a sturdy building block to set my photos up on.
Personally I think that lighting is probably the most important factor in creating good images. For me, natural lighting is the best, but it can be increasingly difficult to come across as the year goes on. I tend to shoot my pictures as close to a window as possible, or sometimes I will even venture outside to make the most of the sunshine, but if you're struggling you could always invest in a daylight bulb or a lighting kit which are available for pretty reasonable prices online.
In order to make the most of what little light is available in the winter months I tend to set aside a spare hour or so during the day at the weekends (or any free day) to try and take the bulk of my photos whilst I still have some light and time to work with. This is particularly useful if I've got a busy week with university and I know that I'll be leaving in the dark and coming home in the dark. Try find a little portion of time that you can dedicate to snapping a few photos, even if you're not using them for a post until later in the week.
A lot of the time finding the best composition for your photos comes down to your own individual tastes. Some people prefer clean, white backgrounds with no distractions - which is where the white poster board I mentioned earlier comes in handy - whereas others like to include some little props and add a bit more of a "story" to the photo. I change my mind about this a lot, as I like my photos to have a fair bit of interest in them but still want the product to be the main focus.
At the moment my chosen method of shooting is using a magazine page or something else with a bit of pattern and texture as my background. Paperchase has a great selection of patterned wrapping paper which I find make interesting backgrounds, or even just a pretty cushion can add some interest. I've included a few examples of different backgrounds I've used below.
|Clockwise from top L-R: Magazine article, white poster board, a fluffy pillow and Paperchase wrapping paper|
As well as the background itself it's important to consider how the contents of the photo will be arranged. Obviously you want the product or outfit in question to be the main focus, but there are many ways you can do this. For example, creating distance between the main focus and the background - just by doing something as simple as picking the product up - will help to distinguish the product and will help create that beloved background blur. I like to place my products slightly off centre and tend to follow a procedure called the "rule of thirds" which I personally feel creates the best composition for me,
Tips & TricksA few other little things that I would like to mention are:
- Bigger is better: big bright photos are aesthetically pleasing, so try to keep your images large
- Try to avoid using flash: it can be very harsh and cast a lot of shadows
- White space (or just empty space) can be good but don't over do it
- Google has a wealth of tutorials for more advanced things like bokeh (pretty circles of light) that can add a bit more to your photos
- It's good to have a variety of images in a post, but don't go overboard! We don't need to see 20 shots of a lipstick all from the same angle, just pick the best few shots that show it off.
Is there anything you'd like to add? Maybe you have a must know photography tip to share? Let me know in the comments!
NEXT WEEK: The basics of photo editing