I studied photography at A level and then began studying fashion photography at university but left because I realised it wasn’t for me. Despite not wanting it as a career, I love photography and I like to think I have a good understanding of the subject. I do love blog photography and when I am looking at other posts, I am more likely to click on it if it features good photography so I thought I would share some tips that may or may not be helpful! Nars Sheer Glow became my subject, I don’t know why.
The most important in my opinion. Use natural lighting when you can. This does limit the times you can actually take photos because the sun isn’t always out and therefore in Winter, for example, midday is your best bet. Natural lighting allows the real colour of products/ skin/ clothes to be shown and allows a well-exposed image providing you take it at the right time of day. Natural lighting images often don’t need any editing too and this can save a lot of time!
You can, of course, artificial lighting if you have it available as it can create the same look as natural lighting and not provide any discolouration.
Bedroom lighting or a lamp is not a substitute as it creates yellow tones and completely ruins the colour of the product. The left image is with a lamp and camera flash and the second image is solely a lamp. You can see the colour difference between the two photos and then in comparison to the actual foundation colour in images below. Lamps and flash just do not work. I don’t own any artificial lighting and you don’t need it. Natural lighting works well enough and costs nothing!
Don’t use flash! For the same reason as I explained above, it changes the colour of the product as well as creating shadows and darkness!
Make sure you frame your subject well!
Photos also tend to look better with an odd ratio within the image. There is a common term in photography The Rule of Thirds where you tend to put the subject within one of the third sections of the image and with photos, in general, they tend to look better when either the subject fills more than the negative space or the negative space fills more than the image as opposed to both filling half. This isn’t a set rule obviously because symmetry can also work well but when photographing a subject like makeup I don’t think so.
Negative space is the space around the subject of the photo and is major in composition. Having negative space draws you into the photo subject so it is important to balance enough negative space around your subject. Just don’t overdo negative space as demonstrated in the two images below!
Angles are so important in photography. I used a Foundation bottle above to demonstrate how right it is to get the right angle. A bird’s eye view works the best in my opinion if the product is laying down or straight on if it is standing up because it best demonstrates the size and the shape of the bottle as well as creating no sharp lines other than the outline of the bottle. Definitely don’t photograph the product upside down so you cannot read what it says!
Having the best background for your images is a must. I photographed these above to show the variety of wallpaper rip offs I have that I use for backgrounds of my photos. The simplistic backgrounds I will use for the whole background, however, the ones with more pattern I would simply fill a section of the background and still have the product of the forefront. There are so many objects you can put as backgrounds – I might do a separate blog post of all these if it’s wanted.
The overall point with a background is to fill it wisely and don’t let it overpower your feature. Also, don’t photograph facing light, just creates shadows!!
Camera vs. Mobile phone
I own a DSLR camera, a Canon 100D to be precise and I own this because I used to study photography. I don’t think it’s mandatory to own a DSLR and you can take good images with a camera phone. The two above images are taken with my iPhone 6S and although I personally prefer my camera photos, I think the iPhone photos are good enough for a blog post.
I prefer my camera simply because I have more control eg. focus, ISO, shutter speed and all the rest. So, if these photos were taken on my camera, the cacti would be out of focus in the first image and the shadows wouldn’t be as dark (Of course I could’ve eliminated shadows wholly by my placement… oops). However, as I said, to show the product I think the phone pictures are good enough. They demonstrate the foundation colour, the product shape, size etc and therefore you don’t need an expensive camera!
Know Your Camera Settings
If you do own a camera then understand the settings. There is obviously the option to do everything on automatic and if I don’t have much time then I do sometimes use this but images are so much stronger when you understand ISO, white balance, shutter speed and aperture. I won’t bore you with breaking it down now but if you don’t understand then you can Google it and your images will be much better although you may want to buy a tripod or images can end up blurry. Plenty of mine do, I need a tripod!
In my opinion, if you follow the above then images shouldn’t need much editing. Often all I do is further crop into images however if you do edit then don’t go overboard. As I’ve said, beauty, fashion or even food photography is about showing something off and therefore you want it to look the same as it does on you or to you in person so don’t then over edit and create tones/shadows that don’t exist.
Those are my simple ways to improve blog photography and just photography in general. Let me know what you think of this type of blog post and whether you would like me to post blog post background ideas? Thanks for reading!