Taking good photo's for your brand, blog, business, social accounts, or just for fun, doesn't have to involve a photography degree or the hiring of a professional (although if you have the means, a good photographer is priceless!). I am often asked how I take my photos and what editing platforms I use and have had lots of questions stemming from my last post "A Day In The Life Of A Fashion Blogger" about the fact I use a tripod for the majority of my pics. Yes, it is true and it has been a great investment for both my business/blog and my relationship (insta hubby was over the moon about his early retirement!).
I use my Iphone XR to take 90% of my photo's. Sometimes I use my Nikon SLR Camera but only for very specific photo's or when I have extra time on my hands. I find the image quality from my phone is enough to generate the images I need for my social channels and my blog. I shoot in normal mode, I find Portrait Mode on the Iphone too "dreamy" and fake looking with the blurred out background. I also use a Tripod and self timer to capture street style images without enlisting any help because I simply don't have time and find it 100 times more efficient to do it on my own. There is a downside...it is mortifying to be the girl out and about with her tripod or selfie stick so I tend to shoot in very quiet places or around my home where I can have enough privacy to focus on the job at hand rather than the judgmental eyes on me. If you have enough confidence, a Tripod will save your friendships, your relationship and save you time - it is absolutely worth it! My Tripod is the Benro Selfie Stick from Ted's Camera's. It comes with a Bluetooth remote control which is super helpful. My biggest advice would be not to use it on a windy day because it isn't ultra sturdy and if it gets knocked over you will likely smash your phone screen so be careful!
The time of day you take photo's is super important in ensuring consistency in your brand. Sunrise and sunset ensure soft and beautiful lighting but realistically these times of day are not always practical to shoot in. Mid afternoon tends to be my favourite, the light is rich but starting to soften which suits the warm theme of my feed whereas morning light tends to be more clear and cool. Whatever you decide on, try to shoot with enough light to get good image quality and try to stick to it.
A good blog, business or social feed is usually planned out around a theme - this entails not just the content delivered but the colours which present time after time to create cohesion and a clear branding message. It is a good idea to select your colour theme based off reality rather than a vision in your mind - you might love a minimalist appearance of some feeds yet your life is a lot more colourful. If you travel lots, for example, you will naturally be surrounded by colour and your feed will tend towards blues, browns, yellows etc. If you live in the city and lead a very corporate lifestyle, your colour theme will likely be black, white and grey. By working with your real life you will find it much easier to roll out consistent content rather than fighting against the colours and themes that are naturally part of your life.
Try to select 3 main colours and 2 accent colours to work into your feed and remember, with the right filter, it is ok to have a few unexpected tones come through, this is unavoidable, but as long as the main imagery centers around a consistent colour palette you will have a strong brand and vibe. Right now my colours are Black, Beige and Brown with accent colours of red and greens. This matches my wardrobe, the interior of my house, the locations around my home I shoot street style shots and also allows for the greenery and warm tones which pop up from time to time.
I had been using VSCO for a good twelve months before I began to start considering other options. VSCO is amazing and I absolutely recommend it, I love how user friendly it is but recently I was finding that no matter which filter I selected, it didn't hit the mark for me. I experimented with Lightroom but I find it so difficult to navigate so decided to save myself the bother!
I currently use PREVIEW to plan out my feed and decided to upgrade to premium and play around with the filters available there. In the end I have settled on A2 which is actually free and not part of the Premium features anyway. I love the muted, slightly brown tone of this filter. After selecting A2 up to 12 I then add contrast and saturation too. I also increase the Tint to about 10-12 for a consistent purple toned wash over my photos.
Next up I use Facetune 2 to remove face shadow and the Light FX feature works wonders in creating a mood, with natural looking sunlight options which give life and emotion to a shot. I don't like changing my face in photo's and try to be as real as possible about my features, I believe clothing and angles are all you need to achieve the look you want so changing your shape and nose and skin and eyes is just a bit crazy to me. I sometimes smooth out skin or use the patch feature to get rid of details in the background or if there is a mark on my shirt (#mumlife) which are distracting to the eye but otherwise I do not use any other edits in Facetune.
So that is about it! I absolutely love playing around with photo's and my feed planner, it is my favourite creative outlet and I could talk about it all day hah. If you would like help with your photo's or feed, I am launching a "Style My Gram" service along with my online styling services in the next few weeks. Get in touch if this interests you, I would love to help you out!