I'm talking about photography today! This post has been a long time coming, and I'm finally publishing it today. Don't expect anything revolutionary here - I definitely think I could improve in the photography department, but a few of you requested this, so here we have my tips and tricks ...
Okay, confession time - I don't use a DSLR. I don't own one, though I am considering purchasing it in the future. But my point is, you really don't need a high end expensive camera to take good photos. Just play with the settings on your portable camera, like ISO. I normally just use the n00b setting a.k.a. Shooting for Beginners, and edit the photo later. It works for me!
Personally, I think the photos are all about composition, colors and the products in them. You can edit them to your heart's content and you can even use your phone to snap 'em.
This has been said time and time again, but I really want to stress the importance of natural lighting. Let me tell you a little secret. Back when I first started blogging, I was a flash fiend. I didn't take one photo without flash, know why? It was the only way my photos didn't come out shaky! If you're in the same boat, I would strongly recommend using something to support your camera. Stands are really inexpensive and they make sure there's no noise in your snap.
In the above photo, I've demonstrated the difference between different lighting situations. Mind you, all of these are taken minutes apart, but for the first two, I rolled down my blinds. And it's also quite a rainy day. But I wanted to say, the best way to take photos is in the daytime. Experiment with lighting with direct sunlight and without it to see what you like best. Personally, I've been a hater of shadows for a while, but recently started liking them, they add a certain something to a photo I think!
As you may have noticed in the first photo of this post, my setup really isn't studio-like ... I basically use thick paper for my background. I mostly use white, though I've experimented with other pastel colors too. I set it up depending on the photo I'm taking. If the products will be laying down, I just lay it flat, otherwise it's resting on my bed to make sure the background is all-white. Make sure your setup is facing a window! I also really like shooting in our kitchen on the table because it's closer to the window and more raised.
If your products are rolling away, just use some duct tape on the back to make them stay in place. Regarding placement, experiment with random placement, maybe color coordinated, or even by size? Works differently for each photo, so try mixing it up.
Ahh, my favourite part. I edit my photos like a maniac. I am not saying you should do it too, I just really like how they turn out. You may have noticed I'm partial to upping the brightness and contrast, which you may love or hate - I think it's obvious which club I'm in!
I use Photoshop CS6 as my editor of choice. The settings I love the most are the following ...
Auto Tone/Contast/Color - these either do wonders of repairing the photo or mess it up completely, depends on the lighting and what you're shooting. Do use for product photography, don't use for shots where your skin is visible, it will mostly turn it really green/blue.
Brightness/Contrast - found under adjustmenets, this is my favourite. It's the easiest way to lighten photos and add a more intensive color, as well as reduce both of them.
Spot Healing Brush Tool - this is great for correcting little mistakes, like a smudge or even a torn leaf when using flowers. You can just click on the imperfection (yep, works for blemishes as well) and it will disappear! Cue me singing Where Have You Been All My Life by Rihanna in a horrificly offtune voice.
Flowers - my favourite of them all ... As you may have noticed, I do harbour a slight obsession with flowers. I love having them in my room, so naturally, they often make an appearance on the blog as well. While they might be cliché, I don't think I'll ever stop popping them in photos. I'd like to stress the difference between real and fake here - I used to use fake flowers and the results cannot compare unless you have really good quality fake flowers. Best places to buy them are Hofer, Spar & Lidl, and I also like flower shops if I'm buying something different.
Magazines - these are a recent find and I love them! Whether you stack your magazines or open them up on a pretty page to use as a layout, they really add a cool touch to the photo I think! I just pop them in to add some colour and I also love shooting products on a stack of magazines.
Napkins, towels ... - another amazing prop! I've seen so many cute napkins, and you can use them if you're not a food blogger, too. I love using towels too, especially for skincare posts. A nice fluffy white one works great. Anything with texture will work great with your paper or white background. I also like using knits, scarves, blankets, pillows, even sheets!
- Something to take photos with (I use Canon PowerShot SX240HS)
- Natural light
- Inoffensive background that doesn't take away from the products
Honestly, you don't need much to take pretty pictures. I think the key is composition and lighting, and you're basically set. I hope this post was at least a little helpful, I really don't have much to add here, I'm no expert. But I would definitely recommend checking out two links ...
Ajda's Blog - A fellow Slovenian blogger who I'm lucky enough to call a friend, with the most gorgeous photography, great for inspiration.
Mateja's Tips - Another Slovenian blogger and probably my #1 favourite blog, Mateja recently shared some tips for photography and put it much better than me, plus, she promised more posts on the topic.
Have a great day!