Since I started blogging, I've been most fascinated by the photography aspects. I thought I could write a list of some of the main things I've learned about blog photography along my journey, so here are my tips for you!
Look for the light: Photography is all about light, and for blog photography, most of the time, unless you are going for a certain mood, you will want well lit photos. This may seem obvious, but I had to take time to learn about how light looks when you take a photo (even with an iphone), how to be creative with light, how to position people and items best to ensure they are well lit. For portraits (even self-portraits), try to put light in the subject's eyes. When you're indoors, use window light. When you're outside I like shade, clouds, or early morning or early evening light.
Practice posing: I'm still learning this one too, I always feel like a dork when I take my selfie outfit photos. And still struggle to give models good directions for posing and movements when I'm shooting them. But there are lots of great posing guides online to study. I think with fashion photography, showing movement in the clothing is really effective, so I'm hoping to add more movement into my fashion photography this year.
Plan and Style: Whether you photograph outfits, children, food, products, I think a little planning goes a long way in getting a good content image for your blog. I'm constantly on the lookout for locations that I think would be good for outfit photos, a nice quiet, pretty place with good light. If I'm shooting food or products, I take time to style with props and garnish. I try to give myself enough time by getting everything I need for the shoot together before the day I plan to shoot. If it's a coordinated shoot with a model and makeup artist, it's essential to be well planned. If possible I will scope out exactly where I'm going to shoot and study the light there before hand. Then when the day comes, I'm ready to concentrate on just taking the photos.
Develop a signature style: I'm still working on this one too, but I love bloggers who do this well.....all their photos have a similar look and edit and color palette. I think this really helps to identify your brand and helps your blog stand out to readers.
Invest in a DLSR: I am the first one to say that it doesn't take a great camera to make a beautiful photograph, only a good eye. I've seen plenty of bloggers who take amazing photos with a phone camera. But, a decent digital camera can really help. My first dlsr was a Nikon d5100, it's a pretty decent crop sensor camera. Canon's T3i is similar, and I notice lots of bloggers have this one. The camera comes with a kit lens and that works great at first. Eventually I invested in a 50mm prime lens. This type of lens has no zoom, but makes a very sharp photo and allows a very wide open aperture (usually f 1.4 or 1.8), wonderful for low light and for making a beautiful bokeh background. I notice some bloggers with the crop sensor cameras will go for a 28mm or 35mm prime lens in order to widen out the frame. Instead, I eventually upgraded my camera to a full frame sensor. Now I mostly use a 50mm or 85mm prime lens for my blog photos with the full frame Nikon d800 and Nikon df.
Learn about the camera language: Of course, if you are going to invest in a decent camera, then you are going to want to learn how to use it. I remember how overwhelmed I was in the beginning, but the key is don't give up! Have patience with yourself and keep shooting. Every shoot I do I learn something new. When I started out with my first nikon, I kept it in the different auto shoot modes for about a year, and just practiced framing, lighting, and focus. Using the different auto modes (action, portraits, landscape, aperture priority, shutter priority) helped me to learn about the ratios between ISO, shutterspeed, and Fstop. It's the ratio between these three elements that makes up the exposure of your photo. ISO is the camera sensitivity, usually, you want to keep that as low as you can. Shutterspeed is the amount of time the shutter is open, this needs to be faster the higher the movement of the subject. Fstop (aperture) has to do with the size of the opening in the lens and controls how much light comes in and the depth of field that is in focus. An open fstop like f1.8 is going to have only one part in focus and the rest in bokeh, great for portraits and low light situations. A closed fstop like f11 is going to have much more in focus, great for product photos or landscapes.
Use Photoshop: A little photo editing can make all the difference too. Photoshop and Lightroom are much more affordable now with Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription. Photoshop and Lightroom not only provide powerful and creative editing tools, but also allow easy resizing, collaging, and optimizing of images for your blog. Plus, you can shoot in RAW on your digital camera and have even more data to edit with in photoshop. I started out with Lightroom and some Totally Rad presets, and that taught me a ton. Recently, I also added Rebecca Lily lightroom presets, and adore the film-like look they create. I knew I wanted to eventually add Photoshop CS6 so that I could do even more advanced editing, as well as collaging and graphic design. I'm still learning, but it's for sure the right tool for a blogger.
Manage workflow, use an external drive: If you take lots of photos, you need to use an external drive to store them. I'm still trying to find the best workflow solution, so that is something I need to work on this year. For now I do have a couple of external drives set up which all my photos go onto and Lightroom reads them from there. It keeps my computer drive free. I still need a more organized way to store the final photos and back them up.
If you have any tips you'd like to share or questions, let me know, Happy Blogging everyone!