Since the dawn of blogging over a decade ago, blogs have gone from being text-focused to image-focused. While not every blog is dependent on photos, many are. And if your blog is going to have photos, they must be good!
Chances are you aren’t a trained photographer. Don’t worry, neither am I! While I would absolutely encourage you to take some courses, read some blogs, and watch some tutorials online, the best thing you can do for your photography is to practice!
It’s crazy how good the cameras are on our phones. If that’s all you have at the moment, then use that! As you get more experienced with photography and as you stick it out with blogging for a longer period of time, you can certainly move up to a DSLR camera and start buying nicer (and more expensive) lenses. Once you’ve gotten the hang of taking photos, you’ll want to look into a photo editing program. You can start with a free one on your computer. I use, and highly recommend, Lightroom.
Each subject of photography is different. Below are a few tips on fashion and food photography, since that’s what I’m most familiar with…
How do you look natural in fashion photos?
It’s so great to hear people tell me, “you look so carefree in your photos.” I always want to laugh out loud and tell them I’m usually a bit on edge when I’m shooting photos. Just like everything else, this takes practice, but here are a few insights to help you get the hang of it…
The most important thing is to relax between photos. If you try to look natural, chances are you’ll look awkward. So just be you between snaps. Whether you make funny faces or just chat with your photographer, make yourself smile and let your face and body relax. As you ease back into your pose and gaze, you’ll look much more carefree because you will be.
The most frustrating thing about fashion photography are clothing wrinkles. They’re almost impossible to ‘erase’ in the editing process and they will become the bane of your existence. So pull out the ironing board, OR, as I do, buy a steamer. You can get a good portable one for $20 and it will save your life! Before heading out to shoot, steam the wrinkles out of your clothes!
And, finally, there’s nothing worse than getting home only to discover your shirt looked funny half-tucked or you had a crazy piece of hair with a mind of it’s own. The best way to prevent this? YOU MUST look at the photos on your camera after a few and when you think you’re done to make sure this isn’t happening. Two pairs of eyes are better than one. Don’t leave every detail up to the person taking your photos. You have an image of what you want your photos to look like, so see what they look like and make any changes accordingly!
What are the most important things to know about food photography?
Lighting. Lighting. Lighting. I only take my food photos between 10am and 12/1pm because that is when the natural light in my kitchen is best. And natural light is always best.
Once you’ve got your lighting time/place figured out, food styling is the next step. While some people have an eye and a lot of patience for food styling, not all of us do. I certainly don’t. In the last few years of food styling and food photography, I’ve figured out a few colors combinations that work really well for me and the type of photos I like to take. I shoot all of my photos on a piece of vinyl that looks like white painted wood. Past that, I use a few napkins as an accent (a light turquoise one is my favorite).
The best way to get ideas for food styling, however, is to look at Pinterest and Instagram. No need to reinvent the wheel on color combinations and plating ideas. Get inspired by others!
The most famous food styling cheat is fresh herbs. You that that hunk of parsley you always used to get on your plat at restaurants? Yep – food styling at its (not so) finest! Lentil soup, for example, makes my soul happy but goodness is it hard to take photos of. Top it with some chopped chives or parsley, however, and you’re photos will come to life. Serve the soup in a red bowl or something equally vibrant and you’re soup will be the star of the show! Herbs cost very little and yet do so much for the visual appeal.
Finally, focus your photos on the most scrumptious part of the dish. With a huge pasta dish, I usually find a spot where the cheese is beginning to melt or perfectly browned. Or focus on those fresh herbs you added! Even if the rest of the dish lacks character in the photo, having that one spot in focus will have you (and your viewers) salivating. Remember that viewers know what a bowl of pasta looks like, so sell them on your ingredients or make them crave that one bite you’d dig into first!