Happy Friday lovelies, and welcome back!
Since starting out on my beauty blogging journey only a few short months back, I’ve come to realise how much I have fallen in love with taking photographs and preparing images for my blog and social media sites. So much so that in October I made the decision to enroll onto a Level 1 Photography course at my local college! Looking back through my Instagram posts in particular, which is where it all started, I can already see a transition from my first few posts to where I am now and this is mainly down to lots of practice and following a few of my own simple guidelines. I started out by taking pictures using my trusty smart phone, then moved onto a compact DSLR style camera before finally biting the bullet and purchasing a proper DSLR (the Nikon D5300 for those of you who are interested) and I love it!
Now our blog spaces and social media sites are entirely our own, where we can express ourselves in any way we please so there is definitely no right or wrong on this particular subject. In fact doing something a little out of the ordinary is what makes so many sites stand out, because if it’s not run of the mill, it is often seen intriguing and engaging. I am under no illusion that my photography is amazing or professional, and it is still quite basic in many ways, but I certainly feel that my skills have improved, through practice and taking inspiration from the many amazing bloggers out there. So here are my 5 simple, easy suggestions for things to consider when creating your images.
Take advantage of natural light – This is probably the one thing that influences how and where I take my photos the most. I love the way natural light not only brightens up the subject in question, but also gives ‘maximum exposure’ without having to tweek the hind legs out of your camera or phone settings. I’m also a big fan of embracing shadows in my shots as I feel it gives some real of depth and dimension. A crisp, white background onto which your subject casts a dark contrasting shadow can almost create a sense of atmosphere and drama. Personally I’m not a huge fan of using artificial flash lighting so tend to take all of my images during the daytime, even taking time to wait until late afternoon when the angle of the sun (if it’s out!) is just right to start clicking away. More often than than not I photograph products as close to the window as can to access as much natural light as possible. My neighbours must think I’m super nosey as I’m constantly lurking at the window ledge!
Consider a Theme – Just by browsing through Instagram you will discover countless profiles adorned with gorgeous, consistent uses of tone, colour and composition. Some themes run along beautifully composed, soft flat lays whilst others may be full of vibrant and crisp make up selfies. We’ve had some fab Autumnal and Halloween inspired vibes running recently which have really done a great job of getting us in the mood for this colder time of year. A theme is not just for you grid or site, but can also be implemented by use of props or decoration in the actual image itself. Now my Instagram grid itself doesn’t have a strict theme, however I have learnt a little about keeping things relevant to the product I’m taking a picture of, this way almost telling a little snap shot story. For example, the image of a mascara accompanied by a pair of eyelash curlers, a cute eyeshadow palette and some make up brushes tells you about what’s happening a lot more than said mascara being sat next to a tin of baked beans! Instagram in particular is a social media site which is often scrolled through very quickly during a tea break or whilst waiting for a bus, so a lot needs to be said in a very short space of time so really portray to your viewer the message you are trying to put across in your post. A well placed accessory can tell a story in the blink of an eye.
I am also partial to a simple, fuss free product shot. Almost taking things to the other extreme. By taking a photo of a particular product on its own, simply against a complimentary background gives sole focus on the subject itself. The eye is focusing on that one subject alone. For example a cleverly focused image of a bottle of perfume almost instantly tells your viewer the subject upon which that particular post is based, where as a pretty flat lay with a selection of items requires a little more time and attention to really get the gist of what’s going on. I love creating both types of images, but I’m also not scared to really take things back to basics and ditch the accessories.
Make sure your subject is well positioned – When I’m looking at images I like to be able to clearly see what is on the table. I’m aware that it’s not always possible to get every ounce of packaging or container into a shot, and this may not apply if you’re going for an arty farty close up (which I love btw), but what I mean by this is getting as much visual information about the subject into the image as you can. So if you’re photographing a can of deodorant for example, ensure that the front of the packaging is face up or facing the camera, not the back. Packaging is beautifully designed to catch the eye in an instant, and if you’re raving about that amazing deodorant but only show the back of the can, it’s much harder to remember what it looks like when your viewer then goes out to find and purchase it. It mas sound really silly and simple, but information is key!
Explore a variety of compositions – I’ve seen so many grids which are full of impressive images, yet I sometimes find myself looking at them struggling to define certain images at a glance, especially where there is a consistent use of flat lays and they all seem to mingle into one big blur. Again as there is no strict theme to my grid, I don’t feel under any pressure to imitate the post before it, and tend to go with whatever feels I’ve got at that particular moment. Now there’s nothing I love more than a good close up, I have however found myself looking at my grid quite recently and being disappointed at the amount of sole product shots I’d posted in succession, so this spurred me on to play about with some flat lays to break things up a little. Quite recently I also started bordering my images with a simple white outline. I feel that this gives my images just that extra touch of separation on my page and reduces the risk of everything meshing into one. I use the Photo Director app for this, but there are loads of apps out there which will do a similar sort of thing.
Keep editing simple – Again, this is all down to personal preference and whether or not you are going for a certain theme, in which case exciting edited photos can be a real winner! There are only a few key variables I altar before posting an image. Firstly altering the size of the image by cropping and adding a border as mentioned above. I have gone on to square crop all of my images as this sits better on my grid and my blog site Instagram summary. Secondly I use the in-app editing tools provided by Instagram, and if you haven’t used them I’d really recommend giving them a try! By rule of thumb the variables I tend to alter are sharpness, structure (depending on the image), contrast and brightness. These can all be altered using the adjustable slider and the effect can be previewed instantly making it very easy to see how the image alters. I don’t like to over egg it, and the adjustments I make can be very minimal, but just enough to sharpen up that edge a little, or make that red pop.
So there you have it, my 5 easy suggestions for things to consider when using imagery in your posts! As I say, I’m no professional photographer, but I’m quite proud of how far my photography skills have come in such a short space of time. If you’re just starting out as a blogger/Instagramer/Tweeter as I recently have, I hope you find these tips useful and I’d love to hear from you guys as to what you do to perfect your images!