I get emails and messages on twitter and instagram on a daily basis about how I take my photos for my blog and also my Instagram feed. I also recently put a poll out on twitter for what blog post people wanted to see from me and the winner was how I take my photos closely followed by how I edit them. So this is part one of my mini series on taking, editing, scheduling and getting likes on pictures.
Now just as a disclaimer there is nothing ground breaking new in this post, I am pretty basic when it comes to my photos as my favourite photos are more natural shots however I do have a few tips I think might be handy to know. In this post I am going to stick to my flat lay/ product photos as I have a separate post coming on how to take outfit photos and how to feel more comfortable in-front of the lens.
This will come as no surprise I’m sure, natural light gives the best photos without a doubt. I am quite lucky that I have a big window in my room and so I can set up the frame on my desk in front of the window to maximise the light that falls onto the subject. Using natural light ensures your pictures are bright as well as cool toned, as artificial light can often make pictures come out with an orange wash over them. It can be hard when it’s winter as there is less light hours in the day, that is where planning comes in. You just have to make taking photos the first thing you do in the morning so you can catch the morning light.
Although the products or items on your photo are the thing people are going to look at, you want to create an aesthetically pleasing photos all round in order to catch people’s eye. Therefore no matter how great the products are if you are taking a picture of them on a scruffy old shelf you’re never going to get the best shot no matter how skilled you are with a camera. This also applies to the colour of your surface, be careful not to use something two dark as it tends not to flatter the products in the best way.
My favourite thing to use as I am sure you will know if you follow me on my instagram is a white or marble desk. Here is where I reveal some secrets, I don’t own a white or marble desk. Back in Sheffield where I started my blog I have a lovely big white desk right in front of my window so it’s perfect for taking photos however in my house in Birmingham I thought it would be cool to buy a black desk which I love as a piece of furniture but it doesn’t help me when it comes to wanting the perfect flat lay. So I cheat! Yes I’ll admit it, my backgrounds are a big fat lie! I have a big white board I use to cover my desk when I want a product photo with a white background, I got it off my flat mate in my first year at drama school and it was the best (and only) thing I’ve ever traded for a tin of bake beans. You can buy them from most art and craft shops as I have bought a new one recently from Hoby Craft. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a marble version, however I did find some marble adhesive vinyl on amazon for around £6 and so I simply roll that out over a surface and snap away.
Manage The Space
This is all personal preference to be honest but personally I like to keep my pictures pretty busy but not cluttered. I don’t like too many gaps between things. However, with blog pictures especially, you want to make sure the products you are promoting or talking about are visible. There isn’t one set way of taking flatly and the more you do it the more you will learn what looks good and what doesn’t. I find the best thing to do is to get out all the items you want to include in the picture. For example you want to take a picture of a new night cream so perhaps you also get out an eye mask, a candle, a cup of tea and a book as these are all items that give a relaxed night-time feel and will therefore complement your night cream. Lay down the night cream to one side of the picture and then fill in the other items over lapping each other and on different angles to support the product. Look at the photo through the lens and move things around accordingly. No one gets the perfect picture first time round so don’t be disheartened just keep moving things around and taking various shots because the chances are once you sit down and start cropping and editing you will realise they are better than you thought (but more on that in the next post).
I have really enjoyed writing this post and to be honest I could have carried on writing about it for hours. I’m very excited to share with you my tips on taking outfit photos, and how I edit all my shots. If you have any suggestions for blog posts around this topic please let me know in the comments! Thank you for much for reading and please subscribe if you haven’t already it would mean a the world to me!