March 6th • Posted in Tech
Many years of blogging mean that I had to discover the reality of photography and photo editing quite a long time ago; things have changed quite a lot from when I began, from my kit to my editing softwares to even my personal taste. My photography is still evolving and I’m still trying to get better at it and sometimes it still feels frustrating not to be able to take the perfect shot I figured in my head, but every time it’s worth trying hard, and step by step photography is becoming everyday more fascinating and intriguing to me that now I don’t only want to take pictures just for the sake of putting some kind of images in my blog posts anymore, but instead everytime I have my camera on hand, I’m loving to learn something new, improve and get better!
Some of you asked a few times about my photography and editing process and so I thought it was finally time to put together a photography tips post. Just to note it somewhere, I’m no expert by any means and what I’m writing is all self-taught, I’m still trying to improve my photography, define my style and surely I know nothing about professional photography but what I talk about is only my own little experience from blogging and photography for leisure! I think tips posts are not to take too seriously, everyone needs to find his/her own niche in everything in life, but I do love reading about other bloggers creative processes and sometimes I also find it quite useful and helpful, so here you go!
• My Photography Essentials •
You’ll find a myriad of photography blog posts that’ll tell you it’s not the kit that makes a good photographer and his work respectable, and I do agree, I still use my very old iPhone 4 to shoot pictures for my Instagram, but I do also think it has a lot of limits and I am aware I can’t snap a nice picture with it in bad lighting conditions! As well as I’m aware I won’t obtain a nice blurred effect in my the background of my pictures with my old compact… Yes, even my current DSLR has limits and there will always be some better tools than what we own, but I personally couldn’t do with a compact anymore.
My tip would be to invest wisely on what you really need. I’ve lived without a tripod until a few months ago, and yes, it now makes me life so much easier, but I have always took pictures even without it! I can’t complain though, the tripod + remote shutter combo is making my life comfortable! I have a Nikon D3100 which is a good camera for being so inexpensive, and as much as I liked the kit lens, I think an additional lens can do all the difference. I have the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Lens that again, even being very inexpensive, is exactly everything I need. It’s a great one for the blurred background effect – if you were asking! I noticed a huge change in the quality of my pictures and now I feel totally at ease with my current lens and the final result! But I’ll talk about my blogging kit again and more in detail soon!
Lighting? I always shoot my pictures in natural light! Try to find a nice lighted spot in your house and stick with it. However sometimes even if the room seems a little too dark you can get very nice pictures in there too with the right settings!
• My Photography Tips •
To me photography is a big part of blogging and only recently I started realizing that what draws readers to a post at first are surely pictures and not words, and this is why I decided to make an effort and bring nice images to everyone of my posts. This has began by adding a few more pictures to my posts instead of going for only one (just for the sake of having one!) and this not only helped me a lot at finding my photography style, favourite angles and spots where to shoot, but also required that I got a bit more creative with my backgrounds and poses to add a little something special to each and every snap. It’s been a very long process, but here’s what I’ve learned…
1 :: DEFINE YOUR STYLE
I was seeing pictures everyday on blogs and social medias and there’s a time in every blogger’s life when you feel like you could do a lot better and your blog could have a lot nicer pictures, so I tried and inspired to my favourite pictures from other blogs. There’s no need to feel like you’re “copying” that photography style or “wrongly emulating” that other, because briefly you’ll find a mix of things you saw from others and things you discovered yourself from your own pictures, is what you look for in a shot and what define your own style. It will evolve with you, probably everyday it will be different, but that’s totally fine!
2 :: GET CREATIVE
As I said when you try to shoot different pictures for one post of maybe only a few objects, only one outfit or one recipe, you’ll find yourself trying to *not* make them look all the same and boring several times.
I love playing with different backgrounds: I’ve built a wooden board from scratch that is great to fake white floorboards, wooden table or surface. If you don’t have a white surface where to take your flat lays, no worries, paper exists! Create your background with different textures, use blankets, paper, towels and objects that look nice in the context!
3 :: EXPERIMENT
One thing I think it’s truly important is to start shooting in manual, experiment with the settings and get to know your camera. With photography I’ve learnt there’s always something new to discover everytime and there’s no magic formula, just take some time to set your camera and get to deeply know its full potential! It will totally up your photography game!
Also try different angles! I’m definitely a fan of flat lays recently, but I do like to experiment and each and everyone of the pictures I take has at least one almost identical sister taken with a slightly different angle. It is important to experiment and try even what you thought you’d not like that much, it could surprise you!
4 :: BE IN YOUR PICTURES
Maybe it’s only a personal preference, but I have noticed since when I started to be present in my blog pictures I feel more engaged with my blog and my readers, and I personally love seeing other bloggers do the same. Even if it’s only a hand or a pair of feet, it totally makes the difference to me!
5 :: TAKE YOUR TIME
Taking pictures is not a thing of 5 minutes. Shooting for only one post can take me even two or three hours – usually cooking posts! – and I won’t be completely satisfied if I’m on a rush. I like to set a day when to shoot my pictures for a few posts, so that I know that day I have time and space to do it with my own times. Taking pictures at a few products might seem quick, but it can take up to an hour to get those perfect angles expecially if you are in the pictures!
6 :: PUSH YOURSELF BUT DON’T BE TOO HARD
I’m very pretentious with my photography (oh I can’t even remember how many times I have nearly cried – I’m exaggerating – because I wasn’t able to shoot in my ideal conditions of light! And my poor boyfriend knows something about it!) and I like to have a set idea of how I want my pictures to be, from the background, the positions, the angles. It’s nice to have goals and reach them, but sometimes it’s also right to accept your work and don’t stress too much about it. If the lighting it’s not perfect, that’s where the editing comes into play, if the pictures is not symmetrical or straight, you can always rotate and crop it afterwards. And sometimes your work is beautiful even if you can’t see it yet – but others will surely appreciate it!
• My Editing Tips •
For years I’ve used Adobe Photoshop to edit my pictures and it still is an essential to me but I’ve discovered Lightroom a few months ago and since then I’m not going back! I thought it would be a pain to learn a new software after so many years of using Photoshop, but Lightroom is just the easiest to use, it’s very intuitive and yet super effective and I’ve seen a huge improvement in the quality of my final pictures since when I started using it instead of good old Photoshop. I do still use Photoshop to add text and maybe effects to my pictures, but only after editing them on Lightroom!
7 :: FIND YOUR STYLE
As with photography, editing is all about defining your own style. To me it’s all about the bright neat pictures, but others like their pictures to be smoky, darker, soft, warmer, cooler, it’s all about your personal taste!
8 :: PLAY WITH YOUR IMAGE EDITOR
Take your time to discover your image editor full functionalities and you’ll be surprise by how good your pictures will look afterwards! I started thinking I wouldn’t be able to get anything nice out of Lightroom so I went for the preinstalled filters for a long time, only to realize I could do a lot better and something that suited my tastes a lot more only with a few adjustments.
9 :: EVERY PHOTO IS DIFFERENT
Do not start thinking “well, I can create a filter and apply it on all my images, that’s it!” – every image is different, maybe shooted in different light conditions or even not but still slightly warmer/cooler than the previous. Yes, it’s good to create a consistency between the colours and brightness of all your photos, but always remember to take time and make the adjustments needed to every one of your pictures.
10 :: DO NOT RESIZE
I like Lightroom because it doesn’t even give you the option of falling into the temptation of resizing the pictures, but if you use Photoshop or other editors, do crop all the way, but never resize. Resized pictures will lose all the definition and the quality will be a lot worse. I can definitely see the quality of my post pictures is ten times nicer since when I stopped resizing them!
And that’s a wrap! This was kind of a general chat about photography and I know I didn’t go into detail about my blogging kit or why I like a lens instead of another, but maybe I’ll write about that another time! I don’t feel very confident at writing this kind of tips post, but hopefully this was some sort of helpful! Let me know what are your top tips in photography! x