Saturday, 26 August 2017

improving my blog photography

It been a while

...since my last photography tips post (you can see my first one here), but since I was nominated for Best Blog Photography & Layout in the New Generation Beauty Influencer Awards, I feel like its given me a little push to be more creative and learn more about technique and what works for me and my blog! 

I never really considered my photography my strong suit until my nomination (Id love your vote by the way – click here to send one my way!) but I think thats more down to my own self-doubt than anything else. But ever since I realised my blog photography was being noticed and appreciated this way, Ive found a new love for it and now feel like Im working really hard to improve my skills and technique as much as possible – and Im loving it!

Dont get me wrong, Im still a camera n00b, and I only know the very basics of compositions etc., but I feel like the more Im self-teaching, the more I want to know more! Its been so great to have a new wave of passion hit me! I feel so inspired by everything!

So, in light of all this, I wanted to update my list of blog photography tips for you all, and let you know the ways and means I have improved my photography so far!

No.1 - Beware of reflective surfaces!

This first one is an issue that us beauty bloggers know all too well – reflective, mirrored or generally shiny surfaces of products are the bane of our lives! There are a few things I make sure to do to make sure they dont become a massive nuisance, and that is to

  • Wear cheap white cotton gloves when styling the shot and moving things around during to avoid annoying smudges!
  • Always check the angle of reflective surfaces, and try to angle away if they’re reflecting my ugly mug into the shot!
  • Open products that have reflective lids, if redirecting the reflection doesn’t work well.
  • Use a white sheet of card to interrupt any awkward reflections, if redirecting and opening the product hasn’t worked.

No.2 - Balancing compositions, or purposely unbalancing!

Theres nothing worse than putting away your flaylay bits nbobs, and sitting down to edit photos, only to realise theyre almost perfect apart from blank spaces in the shots, or when the set up just look sloppy and confusing to the eye. Ive been trying to spend time consciously considering the full space of a shot by either making sure its all filled, corner to corner, with balance of colour and business, or leaving purposely massive blank areas in the shot, as a bit of a statement. It sounds so knit-picky, but I promise this is something that can make all the difference to your shots!

No.3 - Trying to get a near perfect shot, and not relying on editing

This change came from me noticing that my shots were considerably losing quality the more I was editing and it was driving me bonkers! I try and set the camera, light, angles and composition as close to perfect as I can when shooting, which means there is a lot less editing involved later. For example, I will never use an editing tool (brightness etc.) more than 10 points either way on Instagram. If its not good enough by 10 points, then I wont post it – its just not worth being less than proud of everything I post! The result – much more control over your final image and a lot less editing time!

No.4 - Thinking outside the box when it comes to props & backdrops, and banishing the marble contact paper forever!

This one comes entirely from a want to experiment and stand out from other samey props other folks might use. Yeah, a marble background is pretty, but its not going to stand out from the crowd! How about you try some neon paper, or a wood background? Switch it up a bit!

No.5 - Less flaylays, more stand ups!

Honestly? I just get bored of everything being so samey, and samey-ness is the quickest way for me to become uninspired and unmotivated to take photos! Standing up products allows you to play with depth of field and levels a lot more, which always leads to more interesting shots! I cant say Ill ever give up flaylays, because theyre staple, and I love them! But making things more exciting for you and your following is always a step forward!

No.6 - Rule of Thirds

This is a VERY basic photography rule, but one that I didnt really have a clue about despite the obviousness of its name! Its all about using vertical and horizontal shots to frame you foreground, mid-ground and background subjects. One third busy, two thirds empty space is my fave at the moment!

No.7 - Framing shots & taking shots in portrait

Not only does this look better on most blogs (as the photo will be displayed larger - its width fits the post width more comfortably) but it also makes the image more Instagram-friendly when you come to crop it down to square!

No.8 - No more artificial light

Maybe I wont have this luxury if Im ever lucky enough to make a living from blogging as Ill have a lot more photos to take, but recently I have been waiting for the perfect natural light before shooting anything. I strictly do not use artificial light at the moment. I just think its so obvious and unflattering for most shots. I love playing with natural light shadows, but trying to do this with artificial light is absolutely vile! #dramaqueen

No.9 - Taking time & being patient

This kinda leads perfectly from the last point, in that not only do I need to be patient in waiting for the right light, but I need to be patient with myself and allow myself the time to get super creative and try a million different compositions and styling. The more shots the better! This also means knowing when its time to put the lens cap on, have a cuppa, and come back later when youre feeling more into it!

No.10 - Trying not to post anything that isnt my absolute best...

Lets face it, whether we admit it or not, we all get that blogger guilt when we havent posted on Instagram in a while, or when theres a new popular release that we should really post about sooner rather than later... but as Ive found, putting pressure like this on yourself is the quickest way to sloppy, uninspired work! Ive made a promise to myself that if I do a blog post shoot and I dont REALLY love at least 4 of the photographs I took, then the whole lot is going in the delete button. It sounds extreme but its honestly led me to setting a higher standard for myself and forced me to allow myself the time to perfect, rather than send out a post that I want to shove down the timeline as quickly as possible!

So thats it for my latest tips to improve your blog photography – I hope you found even a little bit useful! Let me know what you think, and if youve got any additional tips I should be trying to improve even more!


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