Blog and Instagram Photography for Dummies*

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My blog photos used to be taken on a Samsung Galaxy, edited with an Instagram filter and uploaded at a low resolution, I had no idea about DSLR cameras, Photoshop or composition and lighting. But I like to think this has improved a bit, with a little help from some helpful tips that I would love to share with you! This post is sponsored by Panasonic, who have unveiled a range of next-generation digital cameras with up to 30k optical zoom, 4K photo and video all in a sleek compact design that is perfect for blogging.

Collaborating With Photographers

My first tip is to be realistic; and for me, this means that I hire a photographer to take photos that I don't feel I could take to a good standard myself; in my case this is outfit or fashion photoshoots. Sometimes, this means getting my other half to snap some quick photos (for example, in this blog post featuring Emperor's Old Clothes dungarees), hiring a pro like Kirsty McLachlan (like in this Scottish Fashion Lookbook), collaborating with other bloggers (like Lyndsey from The Quiet Resolution in this outfit shoot) but more often than not, my talented photographer friend Ellie Morag takes my outfit pics (most recently, in my post about Trakke bags). So, if you have the time, the contacts or a bit of a budget, I definitely recommend working with a professional or semi-professional photographer, looking for those that have worked with bloggers before so the shoot goes smoothly. Try reaching out via freelancer Facebook groups, contact local photography students o slide into a photographer's DMs on Instagram!

How To Take Street Style Shots

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When taking outfit pictures, location is a really important factor, second only to the clothes themselves of course! Here are some ideas:

  • Walls with graffiti or street art
  • Old buildings or colourful houses
  • Parks or other green spaces (bonus points for pink blossom trees)
  • Waterfronts like beaches, harbours or canals My favourite locations in Edinburgh include The Shore, Union Canal, Dean Village or just pretty streets around the West End. In London, I love Covent Garden, as seen in the picture above that I took of Alice from Twenty-Something City (see the full post here), and of course, it helps if the weather is nice and bright, but you can still shoot in the wind and rain too (as seen here- umbrella #ootd!).If you're taking pictures of yourself, which many bloggers do really successfully (looking at you Honestly Mili), make sure to invest in a good quality tripod, get familiar with your camera's self-timer features, and be prepared to get some funny looks from passers-by!

How To Take Flatlay Pictures

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Flatlays are a popular blogger trope seen all over Instagram and Pinterest; pictures of objects, like fashion or beauty products laid out on a flat surface, photographed from above. They are definitely the hardest blog photo to perfect, and I personally find them pretty difficult, but after a Scottish Bloggers Collective photography workshop last year, I learned a  few key tips, including:

  • Get yourself a good stock of 'props', which will aid in the creation of a nice, busy image. These can be low-cost items like paperclips, fairy lights, candles and house plants, or items you already own like lipsticks, books, magazines, necklaces, and sunglasses.
  • Find, or buy, a great background for your flatlays. This could be a nice, clean wooden table, floor or work surface, or a large piece of white card, marble effect backdrop, or even a textured blanket in thick knit or faux fur. I like to use a big piece of white enamel from an old bath as it's glossy and simple!
  • It can be tough to avoid shadows and glare in a flatlay, so aim for lots of natural light; take your photos during the daytime (early mornings are best!) by a window, and adjust the settings on your camera (ISO, shutter spread and aperture) until you get a nice flat, consistent light.

How To Edit Blog Photos

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I recommend the following tools for editing your blog and/or Instagram photos:

  • Snapseed: a nifty iPhone/Android app that allows you to intricately change settings on your phone, and even has extra features like double exposure.
  • Photoshop and Lightroom: If you can, invest in Adobe's creative cloud for your desktop so you can have a full range of editing capabilities.
  • VSCO: A popular photo editing app with some great in-built features.
  • Canva: An online graphic design software to add text and graphics to photos.
  • Facetune: The all-in-one smartphone app to perfect your selfies!

Helpful Photography Resources

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Here are some really helpful blog posts from around the blogosphere all about how to improve your blog photography:

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