A behind the scenes of the photography in my first fashion post: how I did it, and how you can do it too.
I'd always found the idea of fashion blogging somewhat terrifying. I love fashion, writing, photography and blogging, but I find trying to get a good photo of myself a bit stressful. I thought this meant that fashion blogging wasn't for me.
Plus, who would I even ask to take the photos of me? It seemed a bit too onerous a favor to ask a friend to take them. I knew that some fashion bloggers had their photographer boyfriends take their portraits for them, and I thought that without that kind of help, blogging about style was out of my reach.
But I was wrong on all counts! Once I knew how to go about it, taking self-portraits for my blog was not only easy, but fun! Read on for what I learned about fashion blog photography from shooting my first personal style post "Hell for leather."
1. Location, location, location
Choose a quiet location for the best results. I took the photos for my post in front of a garage door in a small alleyway. It was great finding such a quiet spot, as I think a more populated location would have made me feel uncomfortable. How people are feeling when their portrait is taken is important, as it's often reflected in the photo. For the best results, try to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible.
A good wall can be an easy and effective backdrop. When choosing a wall to take your photo in front of, consider what you're wearing. What colors are in your outfit? Is it urban? Girly? Colorful? Match your wall to your sartorial mood. For instance, I'm wearing a white shirt in my post, so I avoided white walls as I thought they might make me disappear. I also thought that I had a kind of urban, street style look happening with the faux-leather skirt, white t-shirt and caged heels, so I thought a kind of grungy garage door would go well with the feel of my outfit.
3. Excuse moi!
In case someone asks you what you're doing, have this excuse ready: "I'm working on a project for my photography course." A curious guy on his afternoon walk received this line from me during my shoot. I wasn't asked any further questions, and it wasn't anywhere as humiliating as trying to explain that I was taking photos of my outfit to post on the Internet...
You don't need a photographer boyfriend, but having your own photography gear helps. I used a 35mm prime lens, my DSLR, tripod and a wireless, remote control, shutter release to take the photography for my post. I set up the tripod and then just took photos of myself using the remote control (which I hid behind my back so that it wouldn't be in the photos).
Some bloggers use a delay timer, place their camera on an available surface and then jump into the shot, but this is just too much to coordinate for me to get a good photo of myself. What if there's no well-positioned surface available? How am I supposed to get into the frame in time and still look normal? The remote control method works for me, but feel free to try both methods and work out what's best for you.
5. Fierce focus
Getting a photo correctly in focus becomes difficult when there's no one behind the camera to control it. But I have a cheater's option that photography beginners can use to conquer this problem.
Taking your photo up against a wall is a great trick when you're still learning about photography, as it's pretty easy to make sure that you're in focus that way. In my post, I auto focused the camera on the wall behind me, and then selected a depth of field (using my camera's aperture setting) that was sufficient to keep the couple of feet around the wall in focus too. I then positioned myself in that area when I started snapping.
Once you've tired of the cheater's option, it's handy to learn to use manual focus. Then you can use any backdrop, and you can also experiment with depth of field to create different looks, like a blurred out background instead of an in focus one.
If you're like me and you struggle to look natural in photos, try moving around slowly instead of standing still. Most models move into and out of poses when on a shoot, and the movement makes them look more like they've been captured candidly. Try walking back and forth on the spot, or moving into a particular pose.
Also try not looking directly at the camera. I can't look at the camera and get a good, relaxed looking photo; it just doesn't seem to work for me. That's why all of the ones I've ended up using in my post have me looking off to the side. Try looking up, down or to the side and try either smiling to yourself while you do it or keeping your face relaxed.
The best fashion bloggers create a photo set, so that the photos fit into a story. This might include close ups of some of the details of the outfit, as well as some photos of the outfit on them in different poses. Having a set that fits together like this creates a more professional feel to your fashion post, and helps maintain variety and interest in the photos in your post.
8. Post-processing power
All of my photos were post-processed in Photoshop Camera Raw and Adobe Lightroom, in order to obtain the clearest, most professional looking result. Post-processing isn't just for retouching (though you can certainly use it for that too if you want to). I love making my photos more clear and vibrant through using post-processing.
9. Control queen
What I loved about this method of taking fashion photos for my blog, was that I was in complete control. I was the model, the photographer, the writer and the editor. Having no one watching or taking the photo for me made me feel way more comfortable, and I think that my feeling comfortable helped to create a better result.
Does fashion blogging seem less out of reach now? Drop by www.dominiquekane.com for more blogging inspiration, or to get in touch with any questions.