Taking photos has been one of my favourite parts of the blogging production line since day one. I enjoyed learning about composition and using different equipment in a more hands on way after finding studying it rather soul destroying. I’m still learning new things everyday, and there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to see and look back on your progress. When I look back there are a few things I wish I’d known earlier that would have made my life a lot easier and far happier with the end results.
USE YOUR MANUAL SETTINGS
Learning to use the manual settings on my camera is something I wish I’d done a lot earlier. It takes time, and sometimes I still get things a little wrong, but sometimes things can also look wayyyyy better than they ever would on automatic settings. I use a DSLR (Canon 600D with a 50mm Lens) and like for my photos to look as bright and whimsical as possible. Although there are other factors that come in to play the base settings do a lot of the key work. I normally try to keep my ISO as low as possible, with a slightly higher exposure and a low F point. For outfit photos I always make sure to increase the F point – my lens can go as low as 1.8, which means my elbow could be in focus whilst the rest of my face is blurred – otherwise it’s easy to get all the way home and find your photos just aren’t quite as crisp as you would have liked.
SHOOT IN RAW
Although the day I started shooting in RAW was the day I kissed my free space on my memory card behind, it really is life changing. It captures the most data possible and doesn’t compress the information, resulting in higher quality images that are easier to manipulate and correct. Ever had shadows in a photo that are just that bit too dark and goes grainy when you try to lift them? We’ve all been there but shooting in RAW makes correcting shadows and highlights so much easier.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
We’re all human and there will often be a tiny something that niggles us in an almost perfect photo, but there are a few things to think about when taking photos, especially outside. Great outfit photos often have a background that compliments the subject – but there is always a little more to it than just location. Are there buses in the background, road works, vans – bright objects that ruin your shot? Is there gum or bird poo on the ground that can be seen? Shoot at an angle where these are out of shot or wait for moving objects to pass. For me there’s nothing worse than a man in a high vis jacket ruining a great photo – so make sure your surroundings are on the neutral side of things.
If someone else takes your photos show them how you like them to be taken. Use already existing photos to show composition, and take a snapshot of how you would like your shot to be there and then, but with them in frame. Most of my friends catch on super quickly and eventually you can even trust some to run free on the manual setting (woah there).
EXPERIMENT WITH THE TOOLS YOU HAVE
There’s so much more than just brightness and contrast. Saturation, Hues, Curves & Levels (if you have access to certain software) are all amazing and can completely change the feel of a photo. I use the levels and curves in photoshop to make my own pre-set filters – resulting in the super bright, contrasted images you normally see here. (Let me know if you’d like to see more on this – I’m no expert but I’ve learnt a few things over the past few years!)
RESIZE TO YOUR BLOG WIDTH
Resizing our photos to the width of the body of your blog helps it to load so much faster than using the original file and compressing it on your blogging platform of choice. Compressing it to a smaller size still leaves your site to host the original file size, so it will still take the same amount of time to load. It’s worth remembering that not all blog readers will have amazing internet, so large photos can load incredibly slowly and lessen the user experience. This is especially important if you shoot in a larger format.