A reader (Frankie from liptsick-andgin.blogspot.co.uk) asked me in a recent blog post how I take my blog post photos, and I said I would share my process with you. Now my style has developed massively over time. I feel like your photos – along with everything else on your blog – are a personal style you develop and become known for on your blog. It’s something that you change gradually over time until it becomes something you’re happy with.
First thing’s first, my gear. I have a Nikon D5100 Camera which I bought over 2 years ago and spent a small fortune on, it is my baby and my pride and joy. Obviously, you don’t need to spend this much on a camera for your blog photos. Nowadays, phones have such strong cameras, that you could just use that. I usually have a 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G Lens on (mine’s currently come to the end of it’s life, and I’m waiting for a new one… but still). I then edit all my photos on my Macbook on Photoscape X (the free version! Haha!)
One thing I have always loved as a photographer is angles. I love to take my photos from all angles. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good flat lay, but I feel like my style has really evolved from making a flat lay arrangement, and then taking photos from the side, from nearly above, from in the middle… and then I take one from above to act as the initial introductory photo.
Take your camera off of Auto! (I guess this only works if you have a DSLR camera…). I know, it’s scary, and even I don’t entirely know what’s going on. But learning to use your camera on your own terms really allows you to play with your exposure, colour and – most importantly for me – focus. Spend a day googling how to use your camera/ask a friend (that’s what I did… I have a photography friend who’s taught me everything I know)/even go on a course. Just get to learn your camera.
I can do a blog post about it if you want me to, but I’m no expert.
Never use flash! Flash will be your worst enemy. Flash works for those cheesy photos of you and your mates smashed at a party at University… it doesn’t work for blog photos (that is, unless, you have one of those mega professional and expensive flashes. This is where photoshop comes in….
When I take blog photos, they’re usually dark and lifeless. That’s mainly because my room is soo dark, and it’s never sunny in England. I tend to prioritise shutter speed over light. I prefer to make the original photo darker, but more in focus, than already bright, but really blurry. Preferably use natural light whenever you can, photos always look so much better when they’re lit with natural lighting. However, if your photos are dark, then I use the good old photoshop to add the brightness back in.
This is a screenshot from my photo I took of my Essie Nail Polishes. I am no photoshop expert, but Photoscape X (a free app on MacBooks) is fool proof. An online website that works very similarly is Picmonkey. I wack up the Brightness, and lighten the shadows… but this takes some of the clarity out of the photos, so I put that up until I’m happy with how this works. I keep playing around with these 3 settings until I’m happy. I occasionally have to change the ‘Temperature’ of the photo. I.e. some of my photos are a little warm, they’re looking a little yellow (it happens when you tend to use a lot of light from your room lights) and so I make the photo a little cooler and it takes that yellow/orange-ness out of the photo. Simple.
To summarise; use natural lighting, play with angles, use manual settings on your camera, and photoshop is your best friend!