Better Blog Photos
So most of the world is on lockdown so what do you do if you still need social media and website content....?
We live in a visual world and we need quality images to make our brand stand out. Of course, hiring a pro photographer is the best option but what if you can't? The better your images, the more professional you will look to your clients.
Here are my top tips for taking your own photos, no matter what level you are at or whether you are shooting with the most expensive DSLR and tripod or your mobile phone and selfie stick. Take more images than you need and practice, practice, practice!
Critical to all photography - good light!
If you are shooting outdoors, then try and shoot either first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon. Avoid the midday sun if you possibly can as it is too harsh, incredibly unflattering and creates shadows you just don't need. If you have to shoot in the midday sun, then find the shade. Cloudy days are the best for outdoor portrait photography. The best light in the entire day can be found at Golden Hour, the hour before sunset when the light is soft and golden. Make sure you are facing the sun so your face is evenly lit.
If you are shooting indoors, here's a secret... the most flattering light ever? Window light! Stand directly in front of your window for the most natural, flattering and even light. Wrinkles (if you have any) are diminished. If your window receives full sun, either wait until the light is softer or pull a net over to modify the light.
If you want to invest in some actual lighting, then try either a continuous led light or even a speed light with some triggers if you are a more competant photographer but make sure your light is modified. Bare light will be unflattering and give shadows behind you that look amateur-ish. My modifier of choice is an octobox - the bigger the better for a softer light and they don't have to cost much (you can buy them from Amazon).
Avoid standing directly under a ceiling light, which can cast weird shadows on your face.
How do you compose an image? Firstly make sure there is nothing sprouting from behind your head - lamps, plants etc. Also make sure there is nothing distracting in the image - anything bright or shiny or anything with words on will usually detract attention away from your good self. And let's face it, it's all about you! A neutral background usually works well but of course it all depends on what look you are going for. Look for interesting textures and colours that compliment what you are wearing. Try and tie in your brand colours. Play around with different angles, different crops for variation.
The rule of thirds is an important rule of composition. This means having important aspects of the image placed on the third - for example, your eyes or even yourself with a little negative space to your side.
Knowing how to pose can make you camera ready at a moment's notice.
• Think posture, shoulders back, twist your torso so that one shoulder is turned away from the camera. This celeb favourite is instantly slimming.
• Don’t press your arms into your body. Keep them a little way from your body and they will look much slimmer.
• If you are sitting, cross your legs.
• As a general rule of thumb, remember that things that are closest to the camera look bigger and those that are further away look smaller.
• Think about what to do with your hands- where you touch tends to be where people look. If at a complete loss, hold something!
• A natural smile trumps a fake one every time. The key to a natural expression is to think happy thoughts! Real thoughts of happiness make for a genuine, relaxed smile (rather than an otherwise forced facial expression). Remember to smile with your eyes too.
• Know your angle. Most people don't have perfectly symmetrical faces. Work out your best angle. Facing the camera straight on is rarely flattering. Instead, turn your head to a three-quarter position to give your features depth.
• To avoid a double chin, move your chin forward a little and down. Or press your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
• If you tend to always blink in photos, keep your eyes closed and open them slowly just before the picture is taken.
• To get sparkly eyes, look towards a light source just before the image is taken. This will also help to eliminate red eye.
• A photo shot from just above you is way more flattering than one shot from below and will minimise any double chin.
• If you know you are going to be photographed, add a touch more make-up than usual. Emphasize your favourite feature. Don’t forget your nails as they are often in shot.
• Make sure your foundation is a perfect match to your skin. Go easy with any sparkle or shimmer. (Flash photography especially can be a little harsh and any sparkle can reflect back to the camera making you look a little ghostly)
You can read more about posing on my How to look Good in Photos blog.
Lightroom and Photoshop are the professional's choice of software but there are also so many sophisticated editing apps around to tweak your images. Snapseed is a favourite of many and can be downloaded to your phone or tablet. If you aren't a pro at editing, minor adjustments can really improve an image. Perhaps a slightly different crop - get rid of anything distracting at the sides of the image and straighten the whole thing if it is wonky. Lifting the shadows slightly or increasing exposure can also help. I would never recommend increasing saturation as it will only serve to unflatter. Take a look at your white balance too- make sure your images aren't too yellow (if you are shooting with artificial light indoors) or too blue. Make sure your skin is an accurate representation of your actual skin- that is the best way to check your colour balance is correct.
So until you can book your next photoshoot, practice taking your own. And if you'd like to schedule a shoot with me and take advantage of my bloggers discount, you can contact me here.
Exclusive: If you have already shot with me and need more images for content, then do get in touch for discounted rates during lockdown.
Stay safe, Stay visible on all your platforms and Good Luck!
You might also enjoy my Smart Phone Photography Tips article too!