yesterday i asked all of my lovely readers on my facebook page what topic they would want me to post on the blog next. so most of you decided on number 2, which was “how to: the basics of blog photography”. for me, having good photos on my blog, has always been criteria number one. of course i am lucky to be working as a photographer, so most of it comes naturally. knowing how hard it is to make the right choices when buying a camera etc., i thought of sharing some of my knowledge with me. so here it goes, the ULTIMATE photo guide:
1. THE CAMERA
“What SLR should I buy?” I get asked this question a LOT. But the question should rather be “What lens should I buy? Let me tell you one thing: INVEST IN A GOOD LENS, the body really isn’t that important. Most people spend a lot of money on a SLR and end up using the regular lens that comes with it (mostly 18-55 mm) which is the crappiest piece of crap. When it comes to SLR’s there are full-format and croped cameras. Without going into detail too much, those terms explain the sensor that’s in the camera. Full-format cameras are not what you are gonna need if you take photos for your blog, a camera with a crop sensor is fine. Just remember, when buying a lens, that is ment to be fit on a full-format SLR, that the image frame is going to be cropped on a crop-camera. So using my 50mm lens on my old SLR, the Canon EOS 550D which was a crop-camera, created a frame that wasn’t exactly 50mm, but a little more. Anyway, I am using a Canon EOS 5D Mark , which is a highly professional camera. For you any SLR from Canon or Nikon are perfect.
2. THE LENS
As I mentioned before: the lens is
important SUPER IMPORTANT. For a blog photographer a lens with a big aperture is what you want to get. The aperture defines your depth of field / focus which basically gives you the opportunity to have parts in the photo that are in focus and some not. With your standard lens, that comes with the camera, the aperture is mostly 5.6 and with better lenses you can get apertures way below. The lower the number, the bigger the aperture. The wide aperture allows you to have this nice blurry background in outfit photos. The lens I use is a 50 mm lens with a max. aperture of 1,4.
Using an aperture of 5,6:
As the term “photography” means “drawing with light” you might expect what comes next: light is VERY important. I highly recommend shooting photos in natural light opposed to indoor flash photos. Of course, if you are indoors and you have little light, you can pick a higher exposure (which is the time your aperture opens and closes), but the longer the exposure, the higher the risk of having a blurry, shaky picture. Also you can raise the ISO to take photos with short exposure in bad light situations, but be aware of the fact that your picture will be a little “noisy” (image noise is visual distortion in a photograph).
Shooting a photo right by a natural light source like a window:
4. STOP USING THE AUTO-MODE
People buy SLR’s and end up using the auto mode all the time. That’s NOT what you buy an SLR for. You buy it for the thousands of options you have and YES you should take advantage of that. Ever seen that “TV”, “AV” or “M” sign? I am not going into detail what all these options do, because you can easily google it, but let me tell you: get to know them and try out different settings. Also for the color temperature, which is defined through the button “WB” or “white balance” lets you control a lot and avoid unreal color casts. Rather than always using the “auto white balance” try to set it to the environment you are in. When you are outside in the sun, try to set it to the “daylight” setting and see the difference!
You can read a lot more on all the technical features of a camera on this website.
5. PHOTO EDITING
People always ask me about Photoshop and what to do with it. Let me tell you: it takes a long time to understand Photoshop. Rather than investing a lot of money and being frustrated with the complicated functions, just try to use online editing softwares. Putting into google “online photo editing” will give you a lot of options. But: do not over-edit your photos! Less is more, really! Stop with all those sparkles, super-vintage effects and blablabla. It just makes your photos cheesy and if you are not a professional in the field, the photos won’t look professional. Just try a little change in saturation, contrast and voila! the photo is much better.
Here some suggestions: PIXLR, iPiccy and PicMonkey (used to be free, not it costs a little). Sometimes I also like to use this Polaroid software (but don’t overdo it! too much is too much!).
6. THE PERFECT OUTFIT POST
Okay, let’s get to the important stuff: the outfit photo. I used to take one hundred photos and then pick a few, but actually, there’s just five shots you need to do: a vertical full body, a horizontal from the waist, a detail shot, a shoe shot and a full shot from far away. Of course not everyone has a personal photographer or willed boyfriend, neither do I! So just ask a friend or other bloggers to take your photos.
The full vertical body shot:
The horizontal from the waist shot:
The detail shot:
The shoe shot:
The shot from far away:
7. OUTFIT PHOTOS AT HOME
Unfortunately most of us don’t live in the caribbean so there are actually seasons like winter that make outdoor outfit post a little hard. Unless you are a human with superpowers, that can survive hours in the cold maybe also wearing high heels, there’s a solution I often use: home photos. There are three things you need: a tripod, a remote and a good space. I own a very cheap tripod, I think I paid 16€ for it. As a remote I use this one and I always take photos in front of a white wall or a space that is illuminated by a lot of daylight. Make sure not to take photos against the daylight. It will give you black silhouettes and bad shadows.
That’s it! For some of you this might have been nothing new, for some a hit in the face. But no worries, take your time, watch youtube tutorials, read blogs and just get to know your camera. Good thing takes while, so take your time and don’t stress about being a pro-photographer within one night!