Instagram

Thursday, 27 August 2015

How To Take Good Quality Blog Photographs

How To Take Good Quality Blog Photographs

'How do you take your blog photos?' is a question I get asked every now and again. A small percentage of you have thought I have a fancy-pants, expensive studio set up (ha ha), but that same group of people are generally rather underwhelmed when they see how I actually take my blog photos. The usual reaction: 'Oh, is that it?' Yep, white paper and good lighting - that's it. 

My older blog posts are a testimony to how awful I used to be with a camera, so I thought I'd share the little tips and tricks I've gathered over the last few months that help me capture crisp, eye catching images that, from my experience, people are more likely to click on. I want to stress that I am definitely not an expert in photography, and there is most certainly a lot still left for me to learn, but in the meanwhile I reckoned it could be useful to some people if I share what I know so far.

So what makes a good blog photograph, anyway? This always come down to personal preference, but I know I gravitate towards photos that are sharp, in focus, brightly lit and well laid out. Below is an example of my bog standard procedure for when I need to take a new photo of a product: white A1 paper, some pretty props (in this case, dying flowers and a magazine) and the product. If I'm trying to photograph a product that loves to roll around, I always use a bit of blue tac to keep it still.

How To Take High Quality Blog Photos - Set Up

It's important to choose a good background for your photo. I prefer lighter backgrounds because not only do they make the product you're photographing stand out more, but they also reflect light and help brighten up your photos. Don't be afraid to liven up your images by playing around with textures or colour, just make sure these won't distract from the subject of the photo.

How To Take High Quality Blog Photos - Lighting

If I had to give only one bit of advice to anyone starting out with a camera, however, it'd be this: the key to a good photograph is good lighting. This is the fundamental difference between the shoddy photos I used to take and the ones I take now. Daylight is your best friend and flash is your enemy. I never, ever use the flash on my camera - no exceptions. I take my photographs wherever the lighting is best in my house; at uni, this was my bedroom floor, while where I'm living now, it's the conservatory. Natural light will mean your photos aren't full of noise like the one above or washed out and flattened like the one taken with flash. I know a lot of you won't have the luxury to take photographs in the middle of the day whilst watching old episodes of Homes Under the Hammer, but for this I really recommend forward planning. Since starting full time work in July, I've had to be really good about taking photos in bulk on the weekend in order to make the most of the limited sunshine hours. Granted, it's a lot more work, but unfortunately no amount of editing is ever gonna save a poorly lit photo. 


How To Take High Quality Blog Photos - Composition

Composition is also key. I love the clichéd blogger flat lay because it means you know exactly what you're meant to be looking at and you can see everything quickly and clearly. Again, this is all depends on what you prefer, but I know I've seen photographs that were taken with phenomenal cameras in perfect lighting conditions, yet they were just so chaotic that I had no idea what I was meant to be looking at and this can really put me off a photo. Play around with your photo's composition until you've found one that you feel instinctively works. Generally I like to bear in mind the rule of thirds when laying out my photos, and you can probably tell that I'm also a big fan of the ol' 'haphazard product slant'. Why? I have no idea. I just seem to like it. In my early blogging days I used to take all of my images straight on from the side, but I later discovered this made my images look messy and busy because I didn't have the right camera equipment to blur out the space behind the product, as I'll discuss below. 

These three things (background, lighting and composition) are the basic fundamentals that I remind myself whenever I'm taking a photo, whether it be on my DSLR or my iPhone. You don't need a stupidly fancy camera to take a well composed, in focus and well lit photograph; in fact, the top photo was taken on a 10 megapixel camera bought in about 2003, and the majority of my Instagram feed is shot using my iPhone 5s. However, if you do have a pricier camera, then there are some more things to consider when you take your photos, from what lens to what aperture size you're using. I won't go into the latter because I think there are people on the internet who can explain it a whole lot better than I can, but I've recently purchased a 50mm for my Canon 600d and I wanted to share some of its positives and negatives.

How To Take Blog Photos - 18-55mm lens vs. 50mm lens

A 50mm has a shallower depth of field than a lot of other lenses, meaning you get that pleasing, fuzzy look to the areas of your photos you don't want to draw attention to. This is also achievable with the standard 18-55mm kit lens that comes with your DSLR but to a lesser extent, as highlighted in the photo above. If I ever want to take photographs of a product from the side, I'll always use my 50mm to eliminate any background busyness. 

How To Take Blog Photos - 18-55mm lens vs. 50mm lens

The 50mm is much harder to take sharp flat-lays with, however, because you can't zoom in or out. It's do-able, but it definitely takes a lot longer to achieve that perfect photo, so I'll always prefer to use my 18-55mm lens for this. The amount of times I've nearly fallen off a chair while trying to take a photo from above with my 50mm is just plain silly.

A 50mm lets a lot more light in than other lenses, making it perfect for taking photos sans-flash in places with low light levels. My recent post on West Thirty Six was all taken in a relatively dim room using my Canon 600d and 50mm lens, and I thought the photos turned out alright considering how little light there was! If you're a fashion blogger, the 50mm is also what a lot of street style photographers use so it could be worth looking into if you want to blur out your cat in the background or your nan doing the washing up in the kitchen window. Best of all, my 50mm lens only cost me about £60 from Amazon. Alright, it's not cheap, but compared to every other lens that's an absolute bargain.

How To Take Good Quality Blog Photographs
So here's an example photograph following those three basic principles, although if it was for a main blog post I'd probably have chucked in a few more useless - but purrrty - props to get rid some of the dead white space. I took this on the floor of my conservatory using my Canon 600d with a 50mm lens, and then brightened it up using Adobe Lightroom 5. (There'll be a whole other post on that, don't you worry.) As I said, I'm no professional, but I hope you found this post at least slightly useful. 

I'd really like to hear your thoughts and please let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips for taking blog photos that I haven't included. I read each and every single one and love 'em all!




SHARE:

No comments

Post a Comment

Thursday, 27 August 2015

How To Take Good Quality Blog Photographs

How To Take Good Quality Blog Photographs

'How do you take your blog photos?' is a question I get asked every now and again. A small percentage of you have thought I have a fancy-pants, expensive studio set up (ha ha), but that same group of people are generally rather underwhelmed when they see how I actually take my blog photos. The usual reaction: 'Oh, is that it?' Yep, white paper and good lighting - that's it. 

My older blog posts are a testimony to how awful I used to be with a camera, so I thought I'd share the little tips and tricks I've gathered over the last few months that help me capture crisp, eye catching images that, from my experience, people are more likely to click on. I want to stress that I am definitely not an expert in photography, and there is most certainly a lot still left for me to learn, but in the meanwhile I reckoned it could be useful to some people if I share what I know so far.

So what makes a good blog photograph, anyway? This always come down to personal preference, but I know I gravitate towards photos that are sharp, in focus, brightly lit and well laid out. Below is an example of my bog standard procedure for when I need to take a new photo of a product: white A1 paper, some pretty props (in this case, dying flowers and a magazine) and the product. If I'm trying to photograph a product that loves to roll around, I always use a bit of blue tac to keep it still.

How To Take High Quality Blog Photos - Set Up

It's important to choose a good background for your photo. I prefer lighter backgrounds because not only do they make the product you're photographing stand out more, but they also reflect light and help brighten up your photos. Don't be afraid to liven up your images by playing around with textures or colour, just make sure these won't distract from the subject of the photo.

How To Take High Quality Blog Photos - Lighting

If I had to give only one bit of advice to anyone starting out with a camera, however, it'd be this: the key to a good photograph is good lighting. This is the fundamental difference between the shoddy photos I used to take and the ones I take now. Daylight is your best friend and flash is your enemy. I never, ever use the flash on my camera - no exceptions. I take my photographs wherever the lighting is best in my house; at uni, this was my bedroom floor, while where I'm living now, it's the conservatory. Natural light will mean your photos aren't full of noise like the one above or washed out and flattened like the one taken with flash. I know a lot of you won't have the luxury to take photographs in the middle of the day whilst watching old episodes of Homes Under the Hammer, but for this I really recommend forward planning. Since starting full time work in July, I've had to be really good about taking photos in bulk on the weekend in order to make the most of the limited sunshine hours. Granted, it's a lot more work, but unfortunately no amount of editing is ever gonna save a poorly lit photo. 


How To Take High Quality Blog Photos - Composition

Composition is also key. I love the clichéd blogger flat lay because it means you know exactly what you're meant to be looking at and you can see everything quickly and clearly. Again, this is all depends on what you prefer, but I know I've seen photographs that were taken with phenomenal cameras in perfect lighting conditions, yet they were just so chaotic that I had no idea what I was meant to be looking at and this can really put me off a photo. Play around with your photo's composition until you've found one that you feel instinctively works. Generally I like to bear in mind the rule of thirds when laying out my photos, and you can probably tell that I'm also a big fan of the ol' 'haphazard product slant'. Why? I have no idea. I just seem to like it. In my early blogging days I used to take all of my images straight on from the side, but I later discovered this made my images look messy and busy because I didn't have the right camera equipment to blur out the space behind the product, as I'll discuss below. 

These three things (background, lighting and composition) are the basic fundamentals that I remind myself whenever I'm taking a photo, whether it be on my DSLR or my iPhone. You don't need a stupidly fancy camera to take a well composed, in focus and well lit photograph; in fact, the top photo was taken on a 10 megapixel camera bought in about 2003, and the majority of my Instagram feed is shot using my iPhone 5s. However, if you do have a pricier camera, then there are some more things to consider when you take your photos, from what lens to what aperture size you're using. I won't go into the latter because I think there are people on the internet who can explain it a whole lot better than I can, but I've recently purchased a 50mm for my Canon 600d and I wanted to share some of its positives and negatives.

How To Take Blog Photos - 18-55mm lens vs. 50mm lens

A 50mm has a shallower depth of field than a lot of other lenses, meaning you get that pleasing, fuzzy look to the areas of your photos you don't want to draw attention to. This is also achievable with the standard 18-55mm kit lens that comes with your DSLR but to a lesser extent, as highlighted in the photo above. If I ever want to take photographs of a product from the side, I'll always use my 50mm to eliminate any background busyness. 

How To Take Blog Photos - 18-55mm lens vs. 50mm lens

The 50mm is much harder to take sharp flat-lays with, however, because you can't zoom in or out. It's do-able, but it definitely takes a lot longer to achieve that perfect photo, so I'll always prefer to use my 18-55mm lens for this. The amount of times I've nearly fallen off a chair while trying to take a photo from above with my 50mm is just plain silly.

A 50mm lets a lot more light in than other lenses, making it perfect for taking photos sans-flash in places with low light levels. My recent post on West Thirty Six was all taken in a relatively dim room using my Canon 600d and 50mm lens, and I thought the photos turned out alright considering how little light there was! If you're a fashion blogger, the 50mm is also what a lot of street style photographers use so it could be worth looking into if you want to blur out your cat in the background or your nan doing the washing up in the kitchen window. Best of all, my 50mm lens only cost me about £60 from Amazon. Alright, it's not cheap, but compared to every other lens that's an absolute bargain.

How To Take Good Quality Blog Photographs
So here's an example photograph following those three basic principles, although if it was for a main blog post I'd probably have chucked in a few more useless - but purrrty - props to get rid some of the dead white space. I took this on the floor of my conservatory using my Canon 600d with a 50mm lens, and then brightened it up using Adobe Lightroom 5. (There'll be a whole other post on that, don't you worry.) As I said, I'm no professional, but I hope you found this post at least slightly useful. 

I'd really like to hear your thoughts and please let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips for taking blog photos that I haven't included. I read each and every single one and love 'em all!




No comments :

Post a Comment

© A Little Soapbox. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig