One of my goals for 2018 is to improve my photography. I feel I’m on an infinite quest to nail the perfect photo, whether it’s a flatlay, a view from my run, or me (unashamedly) swanning around Cornwall. I’ve read so many blogposts on photography. I’ve learnt the power of good lighting, realised you can get good photos with an iPhone, and continue to play around with composition. When I have time, I enjoy being at home, messing around and setting up different shots. Sometimes, I’m just pottering and something catches my eye and I grab my camera. I’ve embraced the editing process too. I’ve had Snapseed and VSCO on my phone for a good 18 months but never sat down and played around with all their features. I’m now like a child in a sweetshop discovering which filters I like.
I’m now in full photography swing. My phone and camera are clogged up with endless shots of the same things, most of which never see the light of Instagram. I’m obviously no expert on photography and continue to turn to those who are when it comes to learning more and gaining my photography confidence. Here are some of the blogposts that opened my eyes to taking good (ok, better than before) pictures.
I met Julia at the Port Eliot Festival and took part in her bloggers photography course. With an Olympus PEN in my hand (not mine) I looked like I knew what I was doing. The short tutorial was helpful and focussed on the classic low depth of field you see in many blogging photos. After the PE fest, I went home and found her website and Instagram account. I can only describe it as a gem of a site with oodles of photography posts as well as beauty, lifestyle, and lovely from above, coffee shop photography. I would recommend her post on editing apps as well.
What can I say? Julia’s photos speak for themselves. I’ve read her blogposts and check out her Instagram and stories on a daily basis. What’s really helped me is listening to her podcast. She talks to different photographers, and while acknowledging her own style, Julia shares ideas and techniques that no one would fail to find useful.
Even though Olivia’s a pro photographer she doesn’t often post about how to take a good photo. Aside from her stunning photos, there are a few posts on her blog that I continually refer to when trying to master flatlay images. I find flatlays the hardest for some reason, hence why I don’t post them very often. Olivia offers 2 posts on flatlays. One gives some good ideas about flatlay props and the other, which is my favourite flatlay go-to, is on how to shoot a flatlay.
I look at flatlays others produce and wonder why I don’t seem able to do the same. It seems that the image in my head doesn’t quite translate to the photo I’m taking but I guess that’s all part of the process of experimenting. When it comes to props, I’m at the point where I probably need to buy a few things (hello charity shops!) although having written a list of what to include for each of my subject areas, it’s amazing how many things I have at home already.
Hannah Gale’s website is just a delight to look at. It’s colourful and playful, and I was delighted to stumble upon her post on how to take outfit shots. While her advice is geared more towards Instagram, there’s no reason why it couldn’t apply to blogposts. I love how she advocates using an iPhone as a way of keeping it real and in the moment, and advises against too much filtering. I think she’s from the less is more school of thought. Given her preference for shooting with shades on, I’d like to point out that I have 4 pairs of shades (just don’t ask me where they are!)
I don’t think I could write a post on any aspect of blogging without mentioning Sara Tasker from Me and Orla. Over the past 4 months or so she has become my main source of information regarding blogging, social media and photography. Her podcast, Hashtag Authentic is a great listen, mainly because you feel like you’re eavesdropping on her conversations with friends whilst getting so much helpful information. Her advice and reflections are simple and reassuring.
While you can pay to do her online courses, like Bloom and Grow and the Instaretreat (I really want to these), she offers a free course/guide called 7 Days to A Better Instagram. Alongside Stylonylon’s podcast, this was one of the first things I downloaded for my photography and it was so helpful. Of course it’s not all about the picture, there’s so much more that goes into building a blog. I can only say I find Sara’s advice to be sound, sensible and grounded; she doesn’t get caught up in all the hype. And that’s good enough for me.
I’ve been stopping by Melissa’s page for some time and have always admired her photography, especially her Instagram shots. She has a great post on how to take great photos for your blog, taking you through the importance of aperture, shutter speed etc. She also goes through what has helped her take better photos so you get a feel of where she started, and how her style has developed. In fact, Melissa’s site has lots of photography posts for you to feast your eyes on, including a more recent post outlining 3 ways to improve blogging photography.
I couldn’t write this post and not mention Amanda at The Online Stylist. If her website isn’t enough to get your photography juices flowing, she has a whole section on Blogging and Instagram tips. While Amanda doesn’t offer a “how to” for taking better pictures, I take inspiration from her photos. She has a knack for creating pure, sharp images whether it’s minimal flatlays or her “look, I’m on my iMac working” photos. They are all stunning and I aspire to be able to capture my day as she does. The term “blogging goals” sums up how I feel about this lady!
There’s endless snippets of advice out there, but some speak louder than others. Do you have any photography posts you rely on, or have some that have shaped you photography skills or style? What is reassuring is the general consensus that you don’t need an expensive camera to take a good photo, a phone is good enough.