Now .. my blog photography is something that I have really been focusing on these past few months. I am so happy & proud of any photos that I share on my blog & Instagram – and it’s because I know I have put all my effort into getting them how I like them. It’s definitely taken me some time to get to that stage though – I remember I started up my blog taking photos with a £40 camera (which FYI did the job pretty well!), with no props, no additional equipment, and no idea how to shoot a flatlay. I’d like to think now I have pretty much found a technique and the right equipment that works for me … and gives me the photos I absolutely LOVE every time. I get that these tips/tricks may not work for everyone, depending on your photography style – but this is what I do every single time I shoot some photos. Hope you find it interesting and maybe pick up a trick or two ey?
If you’re just starting with blogging – all you need is a camera. That’s all I started with – and only when I made the decision to focus more on my images and really up my game with them did I invest in some additional equipment.
About a year ago, I invested in the Olympus Pen EPL7 – and it was probably the best thing I ever did. Sure it’s a big purchase (I picked mine up for £400 and admit I teared up when paying for it), but oh my giddy aunt is it worth it. If you want a full, in depth review of the camera I can definitely write that up too, but in short, it’s worth the money, takes gorgeous photos & is the prettiest camera in the land. What more could you want ?
Buy Camera HERE
This is the standard lens you get with the camera, and is an amazing all round lens to have. I use this for my flatlays, and any photo where I want to capture a lot in one, such as on the bed shots. It’s fab because it’s pretty compact, doesn’t add bulk onto the camera, and is already part of the kit so you don’t have to invest anymore to get started with this camera.
This is the baby that creates those beautiful, blurry backgrounds that all us bloggers are obsessed with. There is a setting to get a slight blur with just the standard lens – but it is not as effective. This lens is absolutely amazing for product shots, outfit shots, and any photo you want to have a beautiful depth of field. Bear in mind, this lens is constantly ‘zoomed in’ (I apologise to any photographers cringing at my lay mans terms!), so you do have to stand a distance back to get your perfect photo, but the effect is stunning. Also – this lens makes your pictures a lot brighter too, so bear that in mind if you have a a lot of light coming in, as you may have to adjust quite a bit if you use manual mode. But once you have mastered a few basics, you can shoot your photos in any light. I was a very lucky girl as I got this lens as a present, but I know it retails for around £180 – £230, so it’s worth shopping around. It’s not the cheapest thing to buy, but compare it to some other lenses (i.e. Canon) and it’s actually not the steep.
Buy lens HERE
My tripod is not something I use ever single time I take any photos, but I’ve found it to be essential when I want to take on the bed shots, and photos showing products with me featured in. I find it better than getting someone else to take them for me, because that way I get them exactly how I want (using the best app ever which I’ll talk about soon!). I’ve not ventured out to use it for outfit shots, but I know it will come in really handy if I ever want to shoot an outfit and don’t have anyone to do it for me.
Soft Box lights
These have been an absolute life saver in the winter months. I got these pretty early on when I started blogging, because they’re pretty affordable and easy to get hold of. I got mine from eBay, but I know there are some on Amazon too, and they cost around £30 – £40 for a pair. Only bad this is they are a pain to store because there flipping HUGE, and it’s too much work to close them up & re-open every time you use them. I couldn’t be without them though – I use them all the time when I’m taking any photo now (unless the natural light is PERFECT, which isn’t the case much at this time of year).
Buy soft box lights HERE
This app has literally changed the way I take my photos – and I am so glad the camera has this feature. I initially thought I could only use it to transfer my photos to my phone via WiFi and use it as a remote – that’s all. However, I then discovered that you can also use your phone to get a ‘live view’ of what can be seen on the camera, meaning I could set up my tripod and take any photos when I was away from the cameras screen, but still see exactly what was on there so I got the perfect picture ever time. I wanted to slap myself that I only discovered it recently – the amount of photos I’d taken with items cropped out/half my body missing etc! This is one of the main reasons I would always recommend this camera to bloggers too (among other things!).
Right – think that covers any equipment I use – I’m going to do a separate post on blog props, as I think that is a whole other topic to ramble on about.
Where I take them
So .. where do I actually take all my blog photos? I take all of them in my bedroom, usually on the bed or the surrounding floor, in front of the window. I decorated my bedroom last year and I made sure it was white/grey (ahem may I add not just for my blog photo taking needs, but also because I prefer neutral colours), and this has definitely helped with how light and airy the room is. Anywhere with a lot of natural light & a nice window to shoot in front of is ideal. I prefer my bedroom because I like my photos to have quite a cosy vibe, and this works well for me.
When do I take all my photos?
I do work full time so don’t get time to shoot photos in bulk during the week.. so I use my Sundays to get all my photos done. This includes any blog photos & anything to go on my Instagram too. I find this works best because I can get all my photos done in the morning and have them all ready for the week ahead.
I thought it would also be good for me to run through all the steps I take when I’m shooting the different styles of photos I have (i.e. flatlays, on the bed photos, product shots etc).. because there are different steps I take for each.
Ahh firstly – the ever so popular flatlay. I love a good flatlay, they’re so pretty to look at, and I find them quite fun to set up and photograph. I definitely didn’t start like this though – it took me ages to get my style right and get them looking exactly how I wanted. Again – I will probably do a whole separate post on nailing a flatlay – because let me tell ya it does take some practise. So – I usually take my flatlays on my bed, using my bedsheets or blankets for the background. Sometimes, I will also use my DIY marble background/wallpaper samples, but I just change it up depending on the type of photo I want. I then get the products I want to use, add any props around it, and shoot away! I used to get on a chair to take my photos first, but since being pregnant have avoided this – I find the screen that comes out on the Olympus camera really helps when taking photos from a birds eye view. Also – I use my soft box light when taking flatlays – I add it to the opposite side of the bed/where I’m taking my photos, as I find this helps reduce any annoying shadows. Also – if you use props such as trays and you have products that have a tendency to roll (i.e. lipsticks), get yourself some blu tack. Problem solved.
Examples of some flatlays
These are the photos I like to use my 45mm for, as there is normally an item(s) I want to focus on and have the rest blurred out. I set these up usually again on bed, ensuring I have a nice background first, before adding in any products I want to photograph. I have these set up as far back on the bed too – just to ensure I can get everything I want in the photo and get that lovely background too. I usually don’t need my soft box light all the time when using this lens as there is so much light coming in anyway – so it’s really easy and quick to snap away. For outfit photos, you just have to stand quite a distance back, but once you’ve got it right the photos are so easy to take. You may need to adjust the settings to get the correct amount of light coming in, especially if the sun is out.
Examples of product shots
On the bed shots
These are probably my fave photos ever because I just love how cosy they feel. For on the bed shots, I set up my tripod at the end of my bed, set up anything I want to be in the photo, and use the app to see how everything looks. As I’m featured in it, I can see exactly how much of me is in the photo, and if everything looks right. If you have a tripod that extends quite a lot, you can get those amazing ‘over the head’ photos too – you may have to play around a little to get the perfect position for you, but with the live view on your phone, it couldn’t be easier! I do use my soft boxes for these photos as I use the standard lens, and this ensure my photo is nice and bright.
Examples of on the bed shots
So there we have it – all the info on how I take my blog photos – I hope this helps some of you, or if not at least gave you an insight into the background of my photos. I will write more focused posts on specific things, but I thought this would be a good all rounder to start with! If you have any other questions about my photos – leave it in the comments and I’ll come back to you !
Remember – everyone has their own style of photo and it is all about finding what works for you and what you are happy with. I love picking up other tips that bloggers use, and then incorporating these into my style of photography. Taking photos is FUN – so take some time out and play around with different styles.