So (I swear I start off every blog post with the word 'so' - should probs start reading the dictionary a little more for better introductions..) I've been posting a little less than I'd have liked to lately, but it's all been kind of leading up to the post. Almost. Basically for the past few weeks Ollie and I have been working at taking better photographs - and by that, I mean I've been pinning loads of stuff on Pinterest and Ollie has been trying to put up with me being an indecisive biatch with every photo he takes. Who even likes having their photo taken anyway? Can't I just make a fashion blog for my cats? Working on it.
But anyway, hopefully you'll have noticed a slight improvement in the photography on the blog lately. And if so, good! If not, well, just humour us for the minute. I say us, because today I've managed to persuade le photographer / boyfriend / father of my cat-children to get a little more involved with the production of an actual blog post. He's been taking photos of me since day one, so I think it's only fair to you guys to get some advice from him, as opposed to me. I mean, I like to think I can take a few nice snaps on the odd occasion, but I am in no way a photographer. In short, Ollie has taught me everything I know. In return, I've decided to show him the ropes with this blogging business. Oh yes, ladies and gents, the boyfriend is creating a blog. We are officially one of 'those' couples.
So about those photography tips (how have I already written about four million words?). It's midnight, Ollie's playing a zombie game on his Xbox and I'm here in a fake-tan-stained-top (you know, just to give you a quick visual run-down). Apart from this not-so-little intro, all I'll be doing today is typing away whilst he talks. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.
Ollie's tips for better blog photos:
Okay, so one thing to remember with photographing for blogs is that it's all pretty subjective. You're not shooting an editorial for Vogue so not all of the standard photography rules will apply sometimes. One thing that I've noticed with other bloggers is that sometimes photos can be overexposed and overly enhanced - which is a really easy and common mistake to make.
(Side note from Steph: I do this all the time..)
One thing that I've learnt whilst taking photos for Steph is that blog photography really makes you better at working with what you've got. Steph and I never go out with a planned location - she just throws on an outfit - then we head out and find whatever looks right to us. It doesn't always work out, so be open to move around to find the perfect setting and shot. One thing we've always done is we've kept a little catalogue of ideas and locations that we can use over and over again if we're struggling to find the right spot. These are places with decent light that are usually fairly quiet to take photos in. Another good idea is to dedicate some time in the day to take a bunch of outfits, just to make sure you have enough in your 'stash' for those rainy days.
One thing you have to always remember is that fashion blog photography is usually all about advertising the clothes. When Steph posts an outfit I'm sure you guys want to actually see how something looks on her, just incase you want to buy it for yourself, so it's always useful to show off what it is you're trying to advertise, whether it's a pair of shoes or makeup.
In terms of bloggers being models, it's important to come to terms with the fact that most bloggers aren't models. Steph will be the first to admit that she's awkward in front of a camera, but it's just something you have to push through to get good photographs. Steph and I have this little agreement that, whenever she's looking a bit, um, weird, I'll help her with her posing a little, since I'm the one that can actually see how she looks on the camera. For bloggers/models, I think it's useful to do a little bit of research into various poses, just so you can bust a few out when needs be.
Shooting the pictures
So in an ideal world a DSLR camera is best for most photography, but obviously not everyone can get their hands on one. Thankfully these days there are so many good point and shoot cameras on the market that do a really good job of creating DSLR-style photos, without costing a shit load.
The best thing about DSLR cameras is that they give you complete creative control, since you can adjust pretty much anything. If your camera allows, be sure to shoot in manual so you can play around with the settings, but if you're not familiar with how to use it in manual then stick with auto until you're comfortable enough with creating your own pictures.
A lot of DSLR cameras will allow you to shoot in RAW, which basically means the image is un-compressed, giving you more room to change light levels and generally alter your image to your preference. Use RAW if you can, but if not just go with the highest file size your camera allows.
Which lenses to use
So next we'll talk about lenses. There are so many different lenses on the market but I've decided to talk about three of my favourites that are good for this style of photography. The first being an 85mm lens, which is best for portrait and beauty shots. Then we have the 35mm which is good for wide shots of landscapes and such. Next is a 50mm is a good all-rounder - I've noticed a lot of bloggers use 50mms and crop in to them to make them look similar to how an 85mm would. It's a cheaper alternative than buying an 85mm most of the time. If you want a lens that does a bit of everything, Steph and I use a 24-105mm L lens.
When it comes to what camera settings you should use, everyone has a different style. If you're not familiar with how to use your camera in a manual setting you can watch a video on it here. That being said apertures of around 5.6 usually work well for portrait. Low apertures such as 1.2 can create a really shallow depth of field (that blurry background that all bloggers love) but sometimes the depth of field can be so shallow that not all areas of the photo are in focus. Some people do want this look though, so it's good play around.
In terms of ISO, I'd suggest keeping this pretty low (around 100-200 if possible). This is because a higher ISO can result in a lot of noise/grain in a photo which results in a low quality looking photo. Again though, some people will desire this look.
Onto shutter speed. If you use a low shutter speed your images may not be as sharp as you might want. However too high can make the image look almost harsh. You also have to take into consideration what your subject is actually doing. For example if you're taking a photo of someone running you'll want to use a higher shutter speed to make sure they're in focus
One thing that's important to remember is to ensure you don't overexpose your image (basically making things too white).Once you've done that, it'll be near impossible to regain the information you've lost from doing it. It's a lot easier to brighten something if you have to.
Another thing Steph and I have started ensuring we do is having the style of outfit match the location. For example in Steph's outfit here she's wearing quite simple clothes, so the background reflects simplicity too. We've also decided to put a focus on her jacket, and so we've taken a few extra shots of our surroundings that matched the colour of her outfit. It just helps to break everything up a little, giving it a more editorial feel. It's also useful to take way more photos than you actually need, since it's better to have more to choose from than not enough.
Lighting and weather
Steph and I always take our photos outside, and I always like to use natural lighting purely because it's less effort (who wants to be carrying around millions of lights all day?), and it tends to give more of a natural look than a set up studio. The one downside to working with natural light however is that you have no real control over it, so it's good to time your photos perfectly.
When it's really bright and sunny it'll limit the settings you can use on your camera, and it can also create harsh shadows on your subject. If it is really bright, trying waiting until early evening so that the sun is a little lower in the sky and less harsh.
The best light for us is a fairly bright day with a bit of overcast, since it creates even light..and it means Steph doesn't squint as much in pictures. Golden Hour is something a lot of photographers look for in natural lighting. It's basically the point in the day when the sun is about to set. The light is really orange and looks awesome on camera. But again, you have to time this well otherwise it can get too dark.
One thing I will say is to try and avoid shooting in the dark, since you'll have to raise your ISO to compensate, which means you'll get that unwanted noise and grain.
Bloggers and poses
Taking photos isn't just a one-sided thing, so I should probably talk a little about the bloggers in the photos, and what they can do to help their photographer.
If there's one thing that helps how you look in photos, it's your posture. No matter how stupid you might feel you look, over-exaggerate whatever you're doing. Trust me, it never looks as dramatic and over the top in the actual photograph. Sometimes it can be useful to have a coffee cup or handbag to make it look more natural when posing. Standing in front of a camera face on with your hands on your hips is never a good look. And obviously, try and have fun while you're doing it. And ignore anyone else around you. People like look, screw em.
Editing your snaps
When it comes to how to edit your blog pictures, if you're editing in RAW a great place to start is with Adobe Lightroom, because it means you can properly balance your photo create the exact look you want. In Lightroom things to consider editing would be brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness. These are just the basics, but who knows, maybe Steph will rope me into to doing another blog post on that sometime.
A good thing about Lightroom is that it doesn't destroy pixels unlike most other photo editing softwares. Once balanced (and whatever else you want to do!) you can edit in Photoshop to get rid of blemishes etc. One thing I'd recommend is to make sure all of your photos look like they're from the same set. Eg. make sure they're all edited in the same style and coloured in the same way.
Uploading your pictures
And finally, when you're uploading photos onto your blog make sure you check out what is the largest file size that your site can support (whether it's Squarespace, Wordpress or whatever). This is because photographs can lose their quality when they're uploaded to the internet, so it's best to upload in the highest quality possible to make sure you lose the least amount of details.
Oh and one last thing - make sure your pictures are in focus before you head back home.
Leave any questions in the comments and I'll try and get back to you ASAP! Hope this helped.