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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blog Photography

Photography is the vain of my existence. I'm a perfectionist by nature, so if I'm not completely satisfied with a photo, it means that I will retake it. Sounds rather innocent, non? Well, I'd say it's rather compulsive, and retaking a photo six times and still not being satisfied isn't exactly...civilized--if I may say so myself. Nevertheless, in the months that I've run Parisian To Be, I've picked up a few hints and tips on blog photography; but, I think my OCD has only gotten worse.

Preparation
I don't necessary take my photos in "bulk," per say, but I do take multiple at a time. When I'm planning out my week, I'll make a list of photos I need to take, and take them all on one day. I prefer to take my photos around ten o'clock in the morning, as I've found that this time presents the best balance of both warm and cool light. When it comes to "setting the scene"--as I like to call it--I always prefer a white background; I mean, just look at all my photos. Then, I decide if I want to include junk (notebooks, jewelry, fabric, etc.). Incorporating different items is always nice, as it seems to make for a more complete photo and conveys its own story. I choose items related to a photo, for example, if I'm doing a photo on "makeup for spring," I may include a flower--although flowers look nice in all photos, but you get the jist. This leads me to another point: all photos looking the same. Organically, a blogger develops her/his own style, so, when the reader flips through their Bloglovin' feed, they immediately know which photo is yours, even without seeing who has written it. Nevertheless, all photos looking the exact same--from the same angle, on the same background, laid out in the same pattern, etc--seems to make the visual content a little boring. The photo, after all, is often what leads a person to your post.

Taking the photo
Once you've set up, it's time to take your photo, but you must adjust your settings first. I won't go too in depth about the nitty gritty of your camera, because there are so many tutorials online to help you (and they will help you a lot more than I ever could), but here are the basics:
ISO, aperture, and shutter speed all play a balancing act to control the light in your photo. Your camera has different modes where you can control one aspect and it will set the rest to create an even balance of light. I normally shoot in aperture priority mode, since I only ever shoot beauty products, and I choose a smaller f-stop (the index of numbers pertaining to aperture) if I want to focus on one object and blur the background, or if I want a lot of objects in focus, I choose a higher f-stop, but you won't let in as much light this way. Similarly, if you're taking a photo of a moving object, then increase your shutter speed (the number is represented in photos per second), and your object will appear sharp, even though it's moving. If you still need to let more light into your photo, bump your ISO up to increase your camera's sensitivity to light. I try not to go higher than 800 ISO unless I really have to, because this loss in quality makes the photo more "grainy."
Once you've organized and set your buttons, it's time to finally take your photo. Move the camera around--obviously not while you press the shutter button, of course--to catch the frame at all different angles. I normally take around fifteen to twenty photos per post, so I can choose the best of the best.

Editing
Oh, editing--the second vain of my existence. I used to have this ever-so complex system of editing, but I don't even want to remember those days. If I want to edit on my iPad, I use the Snapseed app, but to upload photos from a SD card to your tablet, you have to buy this lightening (c'mon, Apple). Normally, though, I edit using Photoshop. It's a complex program, and I've only nipped the iceberg on it, but it's worth learning. After selecting my favorite two, three, or four photos, I upload them to the shop, adjust the brightness, adjust the curves, then occasionally mess with the vibrance, color balance, or add a filter if needed. Then, I choose my favorite one and save. Sometimes, though, if I can't decide between two, I'll upload them both to a post and "Preview," and choose my favorite from there; you'd be amazed at that power. I save my photos using dashes in between words (ex. my-photo.jpg) because it makes it easier for search engines to recognize that your photo matches the search terms. Once you've uploaded, you're done.

P.S. If you use Blogger as your blog host, change your Google + settings to turn off "auto-enhance images;" it caused my photos to look much darker than they actually were.

The ancient Chinese secret to blog photography has been revealed. 

8 comments :

  1. I'm just like you, i don't think i've ever been 100% satisfied with my blog photos haha! xx

    A Little Treat | Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

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  2. Great tips. I find taking blog photos the most difficult of the whole process and I'm never happy with them!

    Love Beth | BethBlogsBeauty
    xx

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  3. This is a total nitpick, but it's "bane" of my existence ;)


    Some really good tips here. Photography can be a steep learning curve! I see you're a polaroid/instant film girl too :D I love my SX-70 and pack film cameras -- they're just such beautiful tools. The Instax ones are fun too!

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  4. taking notes!! ;) agree about the daylight thing - the few hours around lunch time seem to work best for me too. since i work a full day job i tend to photograph all my photos at once over the weekend for the whole week, while i have the luxury to be home during those hours hehe. i still have a long way to go figuring out blog photography, but i honestly think yours is always amazinggg :) xx

    rachel x
    blush&brunch

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  5. such a useful post! i usually take my images at around 10 in the morning as well. your photography always looks beautiful xx

    mollyox.blogspot.co.uk

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  6. Such an useful post! I'm also into photography and since I started my blog I got even more and more into taking pictures, I just find it so calming!

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  7. Elizabeth ParrishApril 13, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Thanks for the helpful tips! I'll defanitly try them out!
    xx

    http://littlelizziep.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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