Tuesday, 20 January 2015

photography tips and tricks

blogging photography

This is my 200th blog post and I wanted to do something special for you. Sadly, I can't afford a giveaway - full-time student with no income here - so I've decided to share some simple tips for blog photography and provide some examples. Considering that I've had two semesters of photography lessons at university and I've taken a small online course, I consider myself an intermediate photographer. Also, I've had a web design course, that really changed my views on the right quality for online pictures. I've also photographed some small and local events. I'm slightly scared about this post, because some of you may think that these tips are nothing you didn't already know, but I thought I should take a risk and do it. If I manage to help just one person, then I'm happy. This is all from my experience and what works for me, so if you are doing things differently I'm not saying you are wrong. Brace yourselves, this post is huge, so crap a cuppa.

One of the biggest things when it comes to photographs on blogs is the size and resolution. You don't want to be too small or too big in this department. Often, I'd come across blogs which take ages to load their images, so please look into image size optimisation. You don't need a 3000x2000 image with 300dpi, unless you are printing it. Personally, my photos are usually around 1300 - 1000 pixels wide, whilst they appear at about 700px on the blog. If you use Photoshop or any other software for images, look into any save for web or devices options, and make sure you are uploading images that have a resolution of 72dpi. Trust me, it saves a lot of loading time without losing any quality.

I love bright photos on blogs, they can look so clean, pure and professional. The more light, the better, mostly. I'd rather look at overexposed images rather than underexposed ones that come with noise - I shamefully confess that my 2012 photos were in this category. So please do your best to shoot at daytime with as much as natural light as possible - and please don't use flash, unless it's a crime scene. However, I have taken this photo quite late, but I do like it. If you are using an SLR, or any other camera that has a manual mode, play with it. Increase the ISO - lower than 800 is best, to keep the noise at bay, a shutter speed higher than 60 usually works without any blurriness - I usually keep it at 100 during the day when indoors - and of course the aperture has to be as open as possible - that means a smaller number, I'm always shooting at f/1.8.

If you are interested in doing a fashion post on your own, maybe you don't have anyone to help you, or you feel awkward with other people - the latter is my reason for not asking for help - the most important thing is a tripod. I have a really cheap and light one, but I really need to buy a better and heavier one, as I live with the constant fear that one day it will fall apart with my camera attached to it. To take your pictures you should set the timer on your camera, but there's also the option of taking continuous photos and that's something you'd most probably want to use. To get the focus right requires a lot of trial and error, unless you have an item to put in your place and focus on it - I used to put my handbag, but the road can be dirty. You could focus using a remote control, but I just don't feel like it helps me that much here, plus I could be quite far from the camera and it doesn't work. Mostly, I focus on the ground where I know I will be standing, and pray for the best! It's not the easiest thing, but it's definitely one of my favourite aspects of blogging on Beauty Inside Art. For fashion posts I prefer to shoot at 3pm in the winter, and 5pm in the summer, with a shutter around 250-320, because I'm usually shooting against direct sunlight and I move my body to get a more natural and interesting result.

Don't be afraid to take risks and try something new - do the opposite of my tips if you feel like it. We have seen so many beauty reviews with flowers in the shot - I've done that here with a Ren clay mask, but I quite like it though - or a completely plain, white background - I've done this too, here for a Sigma brushes review and for my empties here. Add your personal touch to stand out. Do you have a nice wallpaper sample? Use it as a background, like I did here for Essie Tart Deco. Do you have a favourite mug, include it in a post like I did here. Do you have a piece of fabric you like - in my case leftover curtain? Here's how I used it for a nail post. Love fairy lights? I sure do, and I've used them in countless blog posts. My favourites include the previous one with the curtain, this skincare post and this post about washing makeup brushes. Use a different angle, play with the depth of field - if you can - try to give a feeling about the product like I did here, where the body oil looks more glorious and important as it is shot from low to high. Also, here I have focused on Seche Vite whilst I have other top coats that are not worthy blurred in the background.

If you have the possibility of editing your images before uploading them, then it's another bonus. You won't need to do anything drastic in most cases, and you most certainly don't need any fancy and expensive software. Personally, I use Photoshop, because I use it for uni, digital paintings and more. Sometimes, I crop or align a picture, increase the exposure to my liking - since I shoot in raw, I don't worry about loss of quality - add a slight blue/cooler hue with curves or adjusting the white balance. A few times I might add a bit of sharpening also, and then I save for web in order to get the smallest possible size with the best possible quality. I always keep my photos under 1MB, now.

Lastly and most importantly, have fun with it! My favourite part about blogging is probably taking the photos for a post and trust me, I rarely take just a few. Usually, I take about 60 for a fashion post and then I have to narrow it down to a much smaller number. Sometimes, I have such nice pictures that I just can't leave them unpublished, like my recent fashion posts here, here and here. For this particular blog post I took 47 pictures and I spent a day trying to choose the right one! In the end I decided to add two. For my previous article, which was about my haircare favourites I took 20 - that's the curse of a perfectionist.

So, in conclusion, don't be afraid to be yourself and try new things - or try old ones if you want. But most importantly, remember that it takes time, patience and practice to be able to understand how to capture the perfect shot - by no means I consider my photos perfect, but I like them and I'm proud of my work. My photos when I started out in 2012 were so ugly, noisy and grainy, with bad lighting, so just start taking photos. Every photo you take brings you one step closer to a blog with great photography.

My God, this is probably the longest post I've ever written.
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  1. I always feel like my biggest problem with picures is my lack of lens :( But thanks for sharing these!

  2. Great tips! Definitely going to try :) thank you!


  3. Great tips!!! Love this pics ;)
    Kisses from Spain.
    Xoxo, P.

    My Showroom

  4. Great tips! I love your blog and I have followed you with Bloglovin. If you ever get a chance to check out my blog I would be delighted, thanks!

    Camille xo


  5. Love this, thanks for the tips and the lovely comment! X



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