Sunday, 11 September 2016

How To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

How To Take Your Photography To The Next Level

Photography Tips

Photography has become a huge part of blogging, it's not enough to only have amazing writing anymore, it's become all about creating the perfect image that's Pinterest and Instagram worthy. I've been blogging for a while now and thought I would share some photography tips that I have picked up along the way. 

Above images are from my Pinterst boards.

Inspiration
I spend most evenings checking out Pinterest to get inspiration for any future photographs. This is a great way to see how others take their images, discover new angles or get prop ideas. I've also found the Instagram search page is great as well as it shows you images that you may like. Mine consists of lots of coffee table flatlays in neutral tones, I'm obsessed!

Lighting
Lighting is key, but don't stress too much, if they don't turn out bright enough you can always edit. If you are lucky enough to have lots of natural lighting, use it! In-front of a bright open window is perfect, don't have the light behind you as this can cause shadows. Don't forget you can also bounce your light if areas are darker than others. You can do this buy using a light reflector or just a big piece of white card, I use a big white cardboard envelope and it does the trick.



Background
Sometimes less is more, but not always. You don't want your images to look too cluttered and messy as you want your readers to focus on the product that you're talking about. Select a plain or soft background, I like white/soft marble effect to keep things neutral and bright. The marble or white wooden floor effects are popular amongst bloggers. Obviously you don't need to follow this, they are just a couple of ideas.

As for props keeping things simple is best, I find selecting a colour palette for certain items works best and keeping things pretty neutral always works. Yes the key for me is neutral. Bloggers love faux/real flowers, candles, stationery, clothing and seasonal decorating is great too. Pinecones, plaid and candles for Autumn, fresh tulips or peonies for Spring/Summer for a few examples. 

Camera Settings
Learning to use your camera properly is so important and something I learnt the hard way. There are loads of videos on YouTube on how to set up your cameras for different shots and photography books if you want to really go into depth. I used to shoot with a Canon 600D which I bought off my brother, he's a whizz with technology and was kind enough to always set it up for me. I still don't fully understand aperture and shutter settings but luckily with my new Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera I don't really need to know that. However since getting my new toy I had to sort this camera out myself. I stumbled across this post - link - by Style Nylon and she explains perfectly how to set up the Olympus Pen E-PL7. I had a bit of a mare at first but her tutorial is super easy and so helpful, it will change the way you take photographs. 


Composition
When I first started blogging I didn't even know what composition meant, I just took my pictures and slapped them on my blog without a second thought, blurriness and dodgy angles included. When I started to take my blog seriously I started to pick up on things, "That girls image looks amazing" "That's such a good angle" etc so I started to try myself. I found it takes a bit of practice to really learn what angels are good for certain products and again, Pinterest and Instagram are great for a bit of composition inspo. 


Focus
Try focusing on different features of the product, flatlays always look amazing but sometimes pulling focusing on a certain detail from a different angle gives the image that extra oomph. 


Editing
Even if you think your images are fine, always edit them at least a little bit. There's no harm in upping the sharpness and brightness, try not to overdo it and don't get clip happy with the exposure. I edit my photos in Photoshop but I used to swear by PicMonkey, it's such a brilliant free online tool. I've also heard that Gimp is great too. 

General
 - Everyone has their bad days, if you take loads of photos and they turn out pants, don't stress. If you re-take them straight away chances are you're going to hate them regardless of whether they are actually good or not because you get stuck in a funk  - I had this last week! I find having an hours break, an Instragram scroll or even taking a step back and trying again the next day will make me feel refreshed and I can tackle the images again without stressing. 

- Bulk images. Go mental and take loads all at once. Sounds like a chore but chances are once you've taken two or three different styles for different posts your creative juices will start flowing and you'll want to take loads anyway. It's also great if you work full time and don't get the time or if there's a break in the rubbish weather and there's tonnes of natural light streaming through your windows, go to town!

- Check. Check check check you photos! If you're on a roll and snapping away, tidy everything up and then sit down at your laptop ready to edit and BOOM! They're all blurry and there are weird shadows, argh, it's the worst feeling. After taking a few images, they look ok on camera but I still put them onto my laptop to just check that I still like them. Once blown up you can really scrutinize your images to check they are what you want, then you can continue. 

- Just have fun. Playing around and trying new things is the best way to learn, it doesn't have to be stressful, your images will look amazing regardless of whether you have that perfect gold dish, or pretty marble background. Play around and see what works best for you. Be different, be unique and just enjoy it.

I hope you have found this post useful. Leave any tips you have in a comment below, I'd love to learn more!

How do you take your photos?


Claudia
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