Just so you know, this isn’t going to be a list of apps because this is really about upping your game and learning new skills or improving them. I think we can all agree that photography is often an intimidating part of Instagram and blogging, especially if your love affair started ‘accidentally’ through iPhone shots. During the first three years (three!!) of doing this I kind of felt my way around a camera, just winging it. As a result, I wasn’t getting the best use out of it, which was demotivating and slightly embarrassing given how important it was to my hobby at the time. Years on, once I learnt a few tips and tricks including these 5 photography tips bloggers need to know, my own work improved drastically. I’ve set out a few examples within the post to illustrate my points but also threw in a fancy editorial, just so we all have something to aspire to one day.
1. Invest in a full frame camera and the right lens
If you’re a true beginner, using a crop sensor camera and a prime lens makes sense – it’s cheap and does the trick. But this post is about upping your content game, which means at some point soon you’re going to have to invest in better technology. Most photographers I’ve worked with opt for a 24-70mm lens, which is preferable for ‘lifestyle’ shots, for example landscapes, interiors and photos where you don’t need a blurred out background. I use the other popular choice, a 35mm 1.4 from the Sigma Art range (it’s significantly more affordable than an own-brand) because I still like my depth of field and I’m not bothered with no zoom function. There’s a caveat, having good equipment doesn’t mean your shots are going to improve.
2. Don’t over-edit
This is one from my photographer and friend, Anastasija: “keep it natural and authentic’. So often you see presets slapped onto photos with very little adjustment or consideration for skin tone. It may have worked for the influencer you bought them off because that’s her style but it rarely looks good on other people’s feeds. Even if you’re not too bothered about looking generic, consider the top influencers like Negin Mirsalehi and Camila Coelho – usually their images are crisp, their colouring is natural and if any tones are tweaked, it’s usually a bit of desaturation, making blues more turquoise etc. Especially with the argument that iPhone photos garner more likes (total rumour by the way), the idea remains that the more ‘organic’, the better received.
Also, as a personal request, stop grey-scaling your backgrounds, it’s so 2016. Work at finding a better one or selective-edit certain colours to mute them.
3. It’s better to shoot underexposed (dark)
I think we have finally evolved beyond the minimalist white feeds of yesteryear but the trend still seems to favour bright images. That’s fine if it’s your style but when you’re stuck between a blinding white sky with a perfectly lit subject versus a dim sky and an even more shrouded subject, go for the latter. You can always save a dark photo post-process but can’t do the same if it’s over exposed. Adjust the ISO and shutter speed (the faster/ higher the figure the less light) for this.
However, never force an image if it’s too dark, I’ve shot a lot of my editorials indoors and it’s always been with a flash and diffused light. This may seem contrary to my ‘shoot underexposed’ recommendation but there’s a difference. Trying to make an image work in fluorescent yellow light without the right equipment is disastrous.
4. Shoot from a lower angle
Say what you will, this is not a request exclusive to short people. Starting from a slightly lower perspective not only elongates the subject but has a more editorial feel to it. Elevate your outfit photos from the straight-on camera shot of OOTD’s to one that is more flattering and better at capturing movement.
5. Use different angles for product shots and play with light (examples!)
My favourite thing to do in my living room that doubles up as my work space, is to watch the light as it filters in through the trees and window pane onto my white floorboards. When the wind blows, its dance is mesmerising. This is my favourite light to shoot in, so when I have a product shot to do, I set it up where it’s usually flooded with that warm glow and wait. See below for examples:
Of course not everyone has time to do this so the message here is to switch things up. Go for a mix of diffused morning or evening light, the golden hour and invest in a ring light/light box if you take a lot of commercial style product shots. As for angles, flatlays don’t have the intrigue that they once did, so it takes a lot to create a truly impressive one. Still-life shots and lifestyle set ups shot at interesting angles are still interesting. See the side by side comparison of what was popular two years ago versus present:
And now for angles:
editorial shot by Anastasija, @Anastasija__je
Want to know more about shooting? Read about how I pick my photographers here.