There’s a lot of things as a content creator we have to navigate. It’s so much more than putting together a cute outfit. For those striving to create a vibe we scout locations, choose the right poses, the lighting and that’s just to take the photos we’ll share on the blog. As some of you may know I’ve been shooting my own content for years and honestly it’s given me a whole new appreciation for all the hard work that goes into every beautiful photo I’ve ever seen in the magazines. With more people trying to tackle self photography since quarantine started I’ve been getting tons of questions about how I take my own photos. A lot goes into creating my content but I tried to break it down into bite sizes pieces for those of you who are wanting to learn about how you can take your own high quality pictures for you blog.
Aesthetics & Photo Shoot Concepts
When it comes to determining your aesthetic and blog goals it’s important to be authentic. If you’re in it to make money, there’s no shame in that but be honest. Also if you’re not going to want to use a nicer camera every time to take your photos then keep that in mind. Taking time to create your vibe from what camera to use, lighting, the colors, the feels you want people to feel and what you want to accomplish with your blog makes creating content a lot easier. It can help you narrow down locations, times of day to shoot and even what outfits to wear! But if you don’t have it all figured out that’s okay too! The beauty of having a brand is that you can change it as you grow which you long time readers have definitely seen with my content.
The vibes for my photos is definitely warm, chic, yet fun. Even though I have more of an aspirational vibe to my photos I shoot outfits that I actually wear out and about. My hope when you look at my photos is that you feel inspired and it makes you feel like my clothes are something you too can wear. Since I want the focus to be on my outfits my backgrounds are usually either beige/brown or nature shots. Recently I’ve been trying to add some depth to my photos with things in the foreground or background to add interest but in a way that doesn’t distract from my look. I also tend to shoot in the shade or on cloudy days when the light isn’t harsh yet still gives me a natural glow. I haven’t mastered shooting in direct sunlight so it’s very rare that I shoot on a sunny day because as you can see in these photos the shadows are very harsh making it hard to capture outfit details from certain angles. The details like where you shoot, lighting, color schemes, props, etc. are so important because it will set you apart from all the other bloggers out there. Also by doing some of this work beforehand it makes taking and editing your photos much easier.
Most of the time it’s the clothes that drive the shoot. Sometimes I see a certain style that I just really love, other times I notice in a bunch of different stores selling a piece similar to what I already own or I just instantly see a piece being shot a certain way. If I have an outfit but not an entire concept like location then I heavily rely on Pinterest for ideas. It’s really helped me push my boundaries to capture my looks in a more captivating way than my usual poses.
What Equipment I Use
The best advice I’ve seen is to work with what you have. There are tons of content creators who rely solely on the cameras on their phone and capture amazing photos. So don’t feel like you need to rush out and buy an expensive camera. At the end of the day the more you practice with whatever you choose to use, the better you’ll get at capturing your shot. That being said keep in mind if you want consistency that you should try to shoot with the same camera, in the same lighting pretty much every time especially if you plan to edit your photos. Different cameras take photos differently and will impact what you can and can’t do when you go to edit your photo. Ultimately it’s about having tools that make capturing your photos easy for you but that also create the vibes you’re going for. Here’s what I use to take my own photos:
- A tripod–the one I have is really nothing fancy. I bought an inexpensive one from Walmart that has yet to fail me.
- A Camera- I use the Sony A5100. I got it back in 2016 and it really has helped me take my self photography to a new level. What’s most helpful is that you can pair it with your iPhone so that the phone acts as the remote. This was a game changer because I can myself on my phone screen which has saved me tons of time and effort when trying to capture certain shots. There are a few downsides though like I can’t choose where my camera focuses or change any of the iso, exposure or shutter speed settings from my phone and I’m always having to find creative ways to hide my phone in the photos.
- A Good Lens- I use the Sony 50mm/f1.8 optical lens. This is how I easily create what is called the bokeh effect where the background of my photos are blurred out while I am in focus. The only drawback of this lens is you need a LOT of space to shoot so for some locations it can be hard to get the full body shots I’m after.
- A Remote- like I mentioned my iPhone acts as the remote for my Sony but I also have an inexpensive bluetooth remote that syncs up with my iPhone when I want to pics with my phone.
Taking My Own Photos
The thing about taking your own photos is there’s really not one formula that works here. For me the most important things are the framing, my camera settings and the lighting. Once I arrive on the scene the first thing I do is set up my tripod to frame up the photo. The goal here is to create interest without distracting from the outfit. I usually use windows and pillars to create symmetry or if there’s opportunity to blur something out in the foreground I use that to my advantage. Then I sync my camera to iPhone so I can use my iPhone as the remote.
Next adjust my camera settings as needed. In terms of camera settings this goes back to your aesthetic. It took me a while but now I shoot in manual mode. To get my blurred background I adjust my aperature setting, usually to about 2.0. When I’m trying to catch motion I change my shutter speed to around 1/2500. Lastly I adjust the ISO to make the histogram, the graph that appears on the screen, a bell curve so that the photo is evenly lit. To make sure the settings are right I’ll take a test shot.
Once everything is set I start snapping pics. If I’m shooting for Instagram the whole process will take me less than 10 minutes because I really only need one or two good photos. When I’m shooting for the blog I could easily take up to an hour but that’s usually because midway through I’ll think of even more poses or angles I’d like to try to capture.
Editing My Photos
The last part to taking my own photos is the editing. Just like your aesthetic, editing should be a personal thing. I know tons of bloggers and photographers are selling their Lightroom presets but I urge you to resist the temptation to buy them. The way you edit your photos really is the cherry on top of making yourself stand out. Literally there are bloggers whose editing is so unique that I don’t even need to see their faces to know the photos are theirs. And honestly if you choose to you can decide not to edit your photos at all which honestly would save a lot of time and agony. Again this really goes back to your personal taste and what feels authentic to you! Although I’d be interested to know, what are your thoughts on bloggers and editing photos? Comment below!
For 99% of my photos I only use one tool to edit and that’s Adobe Lightroom CC. Once you understand the features it’s really easy to use. Plus once you get an editing setting you like it’s really simple to copy and paste those settings onto every photo you take after keeping your aesthetic consistent. On a very rare occasion I will use Adobe Photoshop CC to remove signs or tags that I feel distract from the photo. Another app I use infrequently is Facetune 2. This is usually to whiten up certain areas of my photos or if I can’t get my skin tone just right to add a bit of glow. Overall I don’t like to go overboard with editing, I never alter my appearance and try to keep the colors as true as possible. I mostly adjust the blacks, whites, contrast, exposure and sharpness.
Shop the Look
There you have it my friends. Almost everything that goes into taking your own high quality photos. If you found this helpful be sure to share it on a social channel or with a friend!
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