I get asked a lot for photography tips after my last photography post, (and at some point I’ll be making an IG-TV where I can demonstrate in more detail) but for now here are some tips that I absolutely swear by. Whether you’re a blogger, or you simply want to up your Instagram game, these tips will be your new commandments.
There are two types of lighting that you want to utilise; natural lighting, and deliberate artificial lighting.
I use these lights for my indoor shots and I honestly cannot tell you the difference in quality that these bring to your images. They allow you to shoot in controlled conditions. No worries about it getting dark outside, no limitations from dark rooms, they are honestly incredible and only around £80. I love using these for anything from portraits, to products. If you shoot a lot of content at home, these are the perfect lighting to sharpen your images.
A lot of people ask me if I’ve had a camera upgrade lately – nope, just these bad boys!
If you mainly shoot self-portraits then I would recommend a ring light but for products or a mix of the two, these are the biggest improvement to my home photography. SO worth the price! Check my ‘Shoots / BTS highlights‘ to see how I use mine but generally I only use one because I like the depth that it gives to one side.
If lights aren’t an option and you’re shooting inside, you need to find a way to maximise the natural light available to you.
Shoot by windows, use light reflectors to bounce the light onto the product or your subject’s face, use white sheets and surfaces to again reflect the light – anything that you can do to fill the space. You may have noticed that I shoot headshots under a tunnel. This is because the shape of the tunnel makes the light that pours into it reflect onto my subjects face. I then use a light reflector to fill in the shadows under their chin, and to put a catch-light into their eyes. Even with natural light, you want to make your conditions as controlled as possible eliminating any issues. For example, if I’m doing a press trip I won’t bring my lights as I’m generally dining around other customers, and so I’ll ask in advance to be seated near a window.
Angles can make or break a photograph. You have so many options, and it’s a complete preference. Personally, when it comes to product photography I like to shoot from above and get super close so that the lens is right in the heart of the image.
Each image and set-up is different, and there’s no right or wrong, but always play around with angles because once you find ‘the one’ it can transform your image. I always play around with different heights and distances from the subject. Especially when you’re shooting at home, sometimes your backgrounds might not be ‘Instagramable’ (I feel the struggle). And so by shooting up close and personal, your subject becomes the sole focus and background stays unimportant.
Props again can really help to make your image pop. I’ve invested in props lately to up my food photography game (H&M home has made my bank account cry). Things lying around your home can be so useful. I use a lot of candles in mine to add a nice little bokeh light in the background or foreground or flower petals. In my baking images above you can see that I like to use berries etc or things that formed the recipe and I’ve just purchased some nice boards and gold cutlery and bake-wear. These little props just make your images a little more interesting and have depth without making it too messy.
Shoot through things / create texture
This is one of the biggest things that I love doing in my images, even at weddings. By shooting through something; shoulders, candles, a mirror, it adds texture and layers to your images that make it so much more interesting to look at.
I think a misconception for things like brand photography is that the subject needs to be the closest thing to the camera and that’s not true at all. By having something in front of it, but focusing your lens on the subject it creates a really nice aperture and bokeh.
Shoot in manual
Coming off auto will massively help you hone in on your photography skills. It’ll allow you to be able to adapt to different challenges and situations (such as on-site lighting struggles) without panicking and not knowing what to press. Being able to shoot in manual will give you a huge sense of freedom. Youtube is your best friend. I’m self-taught, it is possible, it just takes time to develop your craft but you can do it!
Practice practice practice
I always always say this but it’s so true. Shoot as much as you possibly can. You’ll hone in on your shooting and editing skills, you’ll get to mess up without the pressure of any clients, and you’ll really find your own sense of style and what makes your photography you. Tag me in any images that you’ve created, I’d love to see.
I hope this helps in some way!