It’s said that a photograph can tell a thousand words – which has perhaps never been more true than when it comes to blogs. Particularly with beauty, fashion and lifestyle genres, you only need to glance your hungry eyes at sites like Instagram and Pinterest to see the thousands of daily uploads just begging to be pinned and loved.
So how do you make your pictures stand-out and give your blog a personal, professional look? The good news is that you don’t have studio equipment and fancy lights, or a degree in photography – just apply a little creativity and follow these simple tips for picture-perfect blog shots.
One of the best ways to photograph products like makeup and skincare (and portraits too for that matter) is under natural light. I like my beauty shots to be bright, clean and crisp – so you can clearly see the detail in what’s being reviewed. For this shoot I’ve got a couple of exciting new sun care products from Lush to try out, so I want the images to convey a sense of summertime. Set up next to a good light source like a window, with diffused sunlight coming through – net curtains, or some thin fabric pinned over he window are ideal here to break up and soften the light (much like the way a studio lighting soft box would) – and then place your products on a clean flat surface.
I use a spare white shelf left over from some ikea flat packing which means I can move around to chase where the light is falling in my apartment, but you can just as easily use a table with some white paper to cover. Make sure wherever you set up you can angle yourself over your products, with the light source to the side or behind you so that you get evenly lit products without any unwanted backlighting effects or shadows – remembering that you want your pictures to be bright and clear.
Arrange your products evenly within the frame – I use a little tab of bluetac to stop bottles rolling around – and start to compose your shot. You can use a tripod here but if you’ve got a decent camera you should be able to shoot handheld for flexibility. I use an Olympus PEN E-P5 interchangeable lens camera which is super light-weight with excellent image stabilisation and autofocusing so shots like this are a synch – combined with the 3″ tiltable touchscreen, in-built WiFi for remote shooting and instant uploading, I could not recommend this camera enough to bloggers.
A great way to give character to your photos is to introduce some colour and themes with props. As my review products are centred around sun care and SPF I tried some sunny yellow fabric (a new top!) and some sunglasses – I also experimented with fridge magnet lettering and some jelly sweets for a pop of colour. Less is often more and you want your products to breathe within the frame – so don’t be tempted to overcrowd the shot.
When it comes to camera settings, I shot these using my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens with the aperture wide open to let in as much light as possible (this is also how you achieve beautiful bokeh or background blur, which helps give shots a dream-like appearance too). If you don’t have a camera with any manual settings or are relying on your phone camera, auto should see you through. My pictures have come straight out of my camera with no processing (apart from adding borders in the PixlrExpress app, and text in the app Phonto) but if you think your pics could be a little tighter or brighter or are shot on your phone I definitely recommend running them through an app like PS Express, and change the exposure, contrast and temperature levels – or try filters – until you’re happy. See the difference on the shot below.
So just apply these simple tips: find a good natural light source like a window, try diffusing the light for a softer look to your shots, use a lightweight camera you’re comfortable with and go for a bright clean setting like aperture priority with the aperture wide open for maximum light. Shoot on a flat clean surface, and consider adding props to give your photos character and style! For the final touch, use a dedicated photo app like PS Express from photoshop which is free to download on iOS and android!
Please share your pictures with me on instagram @daisyduked