One of the skills that I feel like I've developed the most since I started blogging is my photography skills. Gone are the days of dark shaky photos where the product is most likely out of focus and now I like to go for something with lots of light that shows the product in its full glory. I'm very fortunate to have a dad that is also into photography, and so I use his Canon 70D. I like to shoot either with a 50mm lense or I'll use something longer if I'm shooting a large group of products together. Today I'm going to talk about three things, lighting, composition and equipment.
I'm a huge fan of shooting in natural light. A. because I don't own any big fancy studio looking lights, and B. because I feel it gives a softer look to my photos. Lighting can be really hard to tackle in the cooler months where the days are short and often a bit grey, but on really sunny days I also struggle to not get weird looking shadows across my photos. The best days are bright but slightly overcast days, in my opinion. At home we have a conversatory which is the best place to shoot photos as it's the room with the most natural lighting and it's where most of my blog photos are taken. Sometimes I do use photoshop to brighten my images, which can make a big difference to your photos - even if you think it's already bright enough sometimes when you upload the picture to blogger is gets altered slightly so I always overemphasise how bright I need the photo.
This is my favourite part about taking blog photos. I often have an image in my head before I start of how I want the picture to come out, and what bits I'll use in the photo. Sometimes I just use a plain white background, such as our conservatory table or simply a piece of white paper. I like to play around with the positioning of the products, and I'll often be left with 10-20 photos of one set of products, all with slight differences in the layout. This means when I come to upload the photos onto my laptop I have a range of set ups and I can see on a bigger screen which one I prefer. I often use random props and materials just to add a bit of character to my photos, the main bits I use are lined paper, pages from magazines and random objects such a dishes and candles. I feel like these bits make my photos have a bit more personality and doing this has allowed me to find a style of photo that I love taking and using for my blog posts. As well as playing with the layout of the products, and the props in the photos, I also mess around with the depth of field quite a lot. This basically determines how much of your photo will be in focus. For example, the photo of the group of products above is all in focus, however with the nail polish swatches I found it looked better when the bottles were out of focus, drawing the eye mainly to the nails themselves. It's all about messing around and finding a style you like really.
Finally onto equipment. Like I said I don't use any softbox-esque lights, however there are a couple of bits of equipment that are 100% necessary for me. First of all is a tripod. I don't know how I'd manage to shoot photos without a tripod, you can generally get them for a decent price on Amazon. Having a tripod allows you to shoot at angles you'd struggle to hold the camera still at, including a birds eye view of products. Tripods also help if you want to let a lot of light in, as they keep the camera much more still than if you were holding it by hand. This leads to sharper focused photos and less shaky syndrome. In terms of the camera itself I'm an advocate of making use of what you have and what your budget allows for. Like I said I'm very lucky that my dad owns such an ace camera that he lets me use to take my photos, but I know bloggers who shoot on their iPhone and their photos are just as clear as mine. If you are going to invest in a camera I'm personally a big fan of Canon cameras, but do you research first while you decide what you want. For me, a screen that flips out from the camera is a must, as it allows you to see what you're shooting from any angle, as well as being useful for taking those face shots for posts such as What's On My Face.
I hope this post was useful somehow, if you have any tips for taking blog photos please leave them as a comment down below!