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Focus, Shoot: Blogging and photography

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The most important tool for fashion blogging – besides a great sense of style – is the quality of images a blogger publishes. Great pictures capture peoples’ attention and keep them coming back for more, so it’s an important weapon to have in your arsenal. Image quality is determined by the camera and lens used to take the pictures, which is why people invest in either a DSLR of their own, or in a great photographer.

It takes a lot of trust to hand over the end result of your images to someone else, and you should know this if you go the photographer way. The images you get will be heavily influenced by their photographic style, so you must look at their previous work (portfolio) to see how they take and edit their images.

Go out of your way to make sure that their vision is in line with yours, and be extremely clear about your expectations from the get go or you will be disappointed with the results. Vision boards are a great tool to carry to your first meeting with a photographer, to give them an understanding of what you want the end result to be.

Vision board

For those who, like me, prefer to do it on their own, a few investments must be made. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Get a good camera

Not all cameras are made equal, so you need to research and figure out what level of quality you need. A DSLR is any of the big cameras you see photographers lugging around at events. It’s not the only type of camera available but it does guarantee great image quality at a relatively low starting price so that’s the first option I would recommend. Another great option – and my personal choice – is a mirrorless camera. It offers DSLR quality in a point and shoot camera body size at a really low price. I got the Sony NEX5T and I haven’t regretted it.

Camera

NB:

Everyone says to start with an entry-level DSLR and upgrade when your needs outgrow it, but I say that if you’re serious about blogging/photography then you’ll outgrow it pretty fast. Invest in something a little more prosumer, because the image quality is so much better and it’ll be a more long term companion as you evolve from an amateur to a professional in your field.

2. Get a good lens … eventually

At the very beginning of your photographic journey, this won’t be a priority. The camera you get should come with an interchangeable stock lens, and that will be enough for you as you learn how to use it and get comfortable shooting. However, as you grow in skill, your level of expectation grows too and the quality you get from your stock lens just won’t cut it anymore. My advice? Invest in a 50mm 1.8 No matter what camera system you’re using (ie Canon, Nikon, Sony etc), the 50mm lens is one of the cheapest ones available that gives great quality and is perfect for portraits. The nifty fifty, as it’s called, helps with the transition from amateur to enthusiast photographer and is a great investment, even though it will make food photography a little more awkward because you will have to stand waay further away.

3. Location

Natural background
Natural background

The backdrop to your pictures is everything. Backgrounds can distract the eye from the point of the image, so you have to be careful about where you take your pictures and what is visible in the shot. Luckily there are many ways to get around this. You can choose a great looking background, like a graffiti wall or a more natural setting that complements the look.

You can also opt to blur out the background in photoshop, which is a great option if you own a good editing software and have a ton of time on your hands. A typical blog post for me has about 25 pictures, so it’s very time consuming trying to edit each one. Finally, you can go for the lens I mentioned above. Without getting too technical, a 1.8 focal length gives you great bokeh – that’s what the blurry background effect is called – meaning that it basically does the work for you.

There’s good and bad in both situations, so you must choose wisely. When you have a photographer, half the work is done for you. As a blogger, all you need to create is the content to go with the pictures, which you don’t have to worry about selecting and editing. Reshoots are less frequent because you have a second opinion on the pictures of the moment, making it more likely that you will get the shot in one shoot.

The downside? You have to take your photographer with you everywhere you go. Want to take some blog pictures when you’re on vacation? Guess who’s joining you – your photographer. You’re at the mercy of their schedule, and artists are known to be notoriously unreliable so you must mentally prepare yourself to be stood up a few times. That doesn’t mean that they’re all difficult to work with – it just means that some of them will go weeks without responding to you, so go into the situation prepared for such headaches so it doesn’t make you give up on blogging all together.

This I why I opted to do the photography for myself. Shoot days are set aside, time is kept and and I have 100 percent control of the end result. My camera is compact enough to fit in most of my bags, so it’s my constant companion no matter where I go meaning that I’m ready to capture images for my blog in a moment’s notice.

handbag glasses

Everyone’s blogging journey will be different, so don’t feel pressured into either situation by what everyone else is doing. If you have no interest in photography beyond your blog posts then stick to hiring a photographer – or getting a photographer boyfriend as is the trend these days lol. If you’re more interested in building a portfolio as a photographer, then it’s important to take all your images so that your followers can track your growth in the field. Let us know in the comments below which option you prefer, and leave a link to your work so we can check it out. As always, thanks for reading!

 

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