Sunday, 15 June 2014

Photography Tips for Beauty Bloggers

Photography Tips for Beauty Bloggers

Photography Tips for Beauty Bloggers

If you ever wanted to know how I take photos for my beauty blog, then grab a cuppa and get yourself comfy as I reveal some simple photography tips and tricks that will make your beauty blog stand out!


As blogging becomes more popular, it is increasingly difficult to make yourself stand out from the crowd, especially in beauty blogging. Believe me, I know.

A visitor to your site decides within 8 seconds (if that!) whether or not they'll stay. We all know that content is king and your writing style is unique to you but having great imagery to accompany the post not only looks great, and professional, BUT it also get readers to stick around for longer than 8 seconds!

Professional Look + Reduces Bounce Rate


Photos are the first thing people see when the arrive on your blog, and like with most things, first impressions count! It will attract them to read the blogpost and it's likely that they'll also stay to browse your other content.

I used to be in a job where a lot of my time was spent taking product photography so this was where I learned most of my photography skills. But I promise... Practise makes perfect! 

It can be frustrating at first, so that's why I've written this short guide. I decided to keep things simple for now, where you don't need any fancy equipment to achieve these results. And as always, these are not rules, they're just friendly advice. It's just a guide to help beginners, but you can always adapt these tips to make it your own. 

photography advice for beauty bloggers

BACKDROPS AND COLOUR PALETTES


I like finding backdrops that are suitable for the object I'm shooting. Sometimes they will complement each other but sometimes they don't.

It depends on what the actual product is and what it looks like - but as an example, I've gone for a very bright yellow product here. For a bright EOS sphere lip balm, it's all too tempting to find a fun and vibrant background to match the yellow-y cheeriness of the product, but as you can, it clashes and the product itself actually becomes lost in the photo.

It can be a bit OTT if you have three of four photos which are completely filled with bold colours, so find a balanced contrast (like the image below).

beauty blog photography help

Think about what it is that you want your readers to see. Is it the pretty background? Or is it the product? 

Consider a contrasting colour to bring the product to the forefront of the picture and make the product appear prominent by using a softer background to draws the reader's attention to focus to the object.

If it looks 'too busy', it will confuse the reader and put them off. 

Be equally as clear with your photography as you would with your writing.

beauty blogging photography tips

COMPOSITION


Again, consider yourself as the reader. What is it that you'd want to see in a photo? 

Composition is important in photography and there are lots of various ways to make your product photography look interesting. 

On the left hand side, the image above shows the background that I have used. I've photographed this to show you because in the final image, you can't even tell what the background is and I think that is where you have to be quite clever with it. 

Clever use of backdrop can add a bit more style to your photographs. You can use any backgrounds you like from magazine pages, cut outs, greeting cards, fabrics, wallpapers, gift wrap, or tissue paper. 

Raid your local art shop and see what pretty material off-cuts you can buy. You can even be creative and make collages or draw your own backgrounds. There are no rules!



RIGHT WAY UP


This can sometimes be an oversight but it's the small details like this that make all the difference. The brand you're working with, and the readers that you're writing for will appreciate being able to see the branding and packaging photographed the right way up.

Ensure the brand name and product name is clear. Have a full length picture and/or close up like the one directly above.

RULE OF THIRDS


The subject doesn't always have to be centred and that goes for both fashion and beauty blog photos. Try positioning the product off-centred (known as Rule Of Thirds) to mix things up a bit!


a guide to photography for beauty bloggers

PICK IT UP


This is really helpful to show the scale or size of a product. 

I like to pick up a product and move it really far away from the background which creates more bokeh (blurred background). 

Photographing a product this way is particularly handy when an item is difficult to photograph whether it's too shiny or it keeps rolling around on a flat surface. 

Don't be afraid to pick the item up and photograph it this way because it can feel more personal and less rigid! 

FOCUS


As I said earlier, it's important to have the product the right way up, and for the branding to be clear. But it is nice to have one photograph that focuses entirely on the branding or a unique detail.

In the picture above, I've tweaked the settings on my camera to focus in on the branding which has left the actual product blurry. 

The eye is immediately drawn to the branding, and this was my intention. Which leads me on to the next tip....

how to get depth of field

DEPTH OF FIELD AND FOCAL POINTS


In the image above, I have emulated how a photo would look when taken with my digital point and shoot. It's a great quality camera and the photos come out very clear and sharp. However, the f/stop only goes down to a 2.5 and that doesn't achieve a great deal of depth of field when space is limited. 

Focal point is important when it comes to product/beauty/lifestyle photography, I want the reader's eyes to look straight at the product I am writing about. Compare the image above to the one below and you can see the difference between them.

Here's what I did...


...I switched the kit lens on my Nikon DSLR to a 35mm f/1.8 - this is the one I use for 99% of my beauty photos. 

The natural light was nice and bright on the day I took this photo, so I had the ISO on 400, the shutter speed at 1/800 and the aperture f/stop at 1.8. 

The low f/stop meant that my background would appear blurry (bokeh). You can see the huge difference in the two photographs, and I personally love the one with the blurred background because it's not as distracting. 

Remember, please don't think that you have to rush out to buy a new lens! Below are some more examples of how to achieve great blog photography which are easily achievable with any camera.

DECLUTTER


The same principle as before. Bring the product as forward from the background as possible so that it's away from clutter. Move it away from everything and take your photo on a low f/stop, this is how to get a shallow depth of field. 

IF IN DOUBT... KEEP IT PLAIN. (but add twinkly lights!)


If in doubt, move everything from around the product and take the photo on a plain white background. I don't really like to take photographs on a plain white background because I don't want it to look like a stock photo. 

So what I'd do is add fairy lights or candles in the background. The image still a clean background but the little details stylises the image to make it look less boring.

Photography Tips for Beauty Bloggers

I hope you've enjoyed this 4-part photography series! As I said before, if anyone has any questions, or would like me to do more posts like this - just get in touch and let me know! To see more of my beauty photography, please visit my beauty section

Please feel free to leave your link in the comments or via Twitter if you've used any of these tips on your blog! Would love to see how your photos have turned out!

My other photography advice blog posts:




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46 comments

  1. i needed these tips - so helpful! thank you! xx

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  2. Really helpful tips, that's what I needed :) Thank you so much :)
    Muilo Burbulai

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  3. Great tips! As much as I'd like to say it's all about the content I have to admit, when I'm looking at new blogs, I am drawn in by the pictures and if they don't catch my attention I don't really tend to read them :) xx

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  4. Wow these tips are super cool ! I'm so going to use them ! Thanks for sharing !
    Giveaway, win a Sally Hansen or Cocoa Brown self tanning products
    http://thecrimeofashion.blogspot.fr

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  5. Sigh these pictures are beautiful. I definitely will be taking the tips. Esp on composition! I think that I'm going to stop by the art store to grab some backgrounds. I learned the rule of thirds in my photography class and it has saved me!

    doitfortheirony.blogspot.com

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  6. these were honestly such helpful tips and I adored all of your photos and quick easy tips. Thank you so much xx
    Stefanie | Casualllyawkward | Bloglovin

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  7. Great tips - I really need to brush up on my skills!

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  8. I can't afford a lens to help with the focusing on beauty products (I also want it for youtube) but I know it would help a lot with my photographs :(

    These tips are amazing though, they helped me!

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  9. This has such wonderful tips! I really struggle with beauty product photography, especially since all I can afford at the moment is my point and shoot. It gets extraordinarily frustrating because I can't get the results I want and I can't just edit it away... But I'm going to see if I can use these to improve anyway. Thanks Sarah!

    Em x mascarawarrior.com

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  10. Great post, this is extremely helpful advice :) x

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  11. Great tips Sarah! I have bookmarked this, love the one about picking the product up, very true x

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  12. I love this post - I'm not looking back at some blog photos I've taken and am thinking of re-taking them as they clash a bit! I will be sticking to these tips in future!

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  13. A wonderful post with lots of g

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  14. A wonderful post with lots of fabulous tips and hints lots that I need to put into practice thanks for sharing Lucy x

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  15. This is so helpful, thank you! Any pointers on lighting for product photography..? :) xx

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  16. lovely blog post! i am still learning about photography but trying my best to read blog posts like this to learn. thank you xx

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  17. great tips for all types of still life/product photography, I know most of the depth of field/focusing stuff but its nice to look at your examples and ideas for backgrounds to compliment the products!

    thanks, Josie x

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  18. Thanks for the tips, I always love ready these kind of posts!
    http://sophielfarrell.blogspot.co.uk/
    x

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  19. I really like this tips! <3 I'm very picky with my photos and I hate when the don't match my expectations. I used to have really bad photo but I've finally understand the powder of a clean background and good editing!
    Take care*

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  20. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing. :)

    Jae

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  21. Your photos always look amazing Sarah so I'm storing away any tips you give! I'd love a 35mm lens but I don't know if I can justify getting one!

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  22. These are great tips! I have always really enjoyed looking at the photos on your blog so I was definitely excited to see this post in my Bloglovin' feed! xx
    Celina | The Celution | Bloglovin’

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  23. This post was absolutely amazing! It really helped me! Thank you for this!

    L&L - sisterblend

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  24. This post has given me some great pointers! Definitely going to check out your other parts to the series.
    I've tried my hand at product photography (if interested, see here) and found it really difficult to master. Your post has given me the inspiration (and tips!!) to try again and improve :) :)

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  25. This is a fantastic post!!

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  26. Focal points is something to always remember! Great post, very useful :)
    xo
    Anastasia
    http://natbeesfashion.blogspot.co.uk

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  27. Bookmarking this for future reference, thanks for sharing!

    Maria xxx

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  28. Fab post - I'm sure I'll take a look at this again when I next get my camera out to help me! :) x

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  29. I'm considering buying a new lens for my Nikon D3100, would you say the 35mm one is the best for doing beauty products? The lens that came with the camera doesn't go down low enough to get a decent blurred background.. and if it does I don't know how to set it to do it! xx

    Jade
    Beauty Butterfly | UK Beauty Blog

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  30. Great tips! I'm still playing around with my photography but I'll definitely be putting some of these tips into practice for my beauty posts.

    Kat x
    www.raspberryribbons.co.uk

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  31. Great post! Taking photos is the thing I like most about blogging! :)

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  32. Really useful post, thank you :)

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  33. Thank you so much for this series, this beauty photography post was worth the wait for and I can't wait to practise some of these tips!
    Megan x | MeganRoisinn

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  34. These are great tips :) Thank you!

    Melanie ♥ www.outofstandards.blogspot.fr

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  35. I found this so helpful, thank you so much :) I have a Bridge camera so there is only so much I can do and my pics always get me down. I usually stick to a plain white background but you have inspired me to stop being so boring haha.

    Hayley x

    http://www.teapartybeauty.com

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  36. This was very helpful! Thank you. :)

    Ari x
    Classy y Sassy

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  37. This post came at the perfect time for me. I need to work on my blog photography. I'm bookmarking this and will be back often. Thanks for sharing your amazing photography skills with us. Stacie xo

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  38. Excellent tips, I just loved reading through these and picking up some ideas I might not have already thought of!! lovely photography and I really like the blurred background :) xx

    www.krystelcouture.com

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  39. Super helpful, I knew absolutely nothing about beauty photography before and now I feel like I could write a whole book about it! Thanks so much.
    SASHA x
    sashahope.com

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  40. I loved reading this post, all of your photography series has really helped me/given me SO many useful tips! Do you have any advice on taking your own outfit photos, I noticed you mentionned you used to do this - how do you manage to focus on the right area for example?! Mine always come out a bit blurry :( Xx

    A Blonde Moment

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  41. this was an awesome list of helpful hints, thanks so much!!

    Natalie / Salt & Sail

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  42. Omg this was super helpful!!



    Collaredunique.blogspot.ie

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  43. Thank you so much for sharing! You photos are gorgeous.

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  44. Really handy post, thank you! Especially as I am new to blogging and taking photos so these have been really helpful :)

    Christie x
    www.christieslifestyle.blogspot.co.uk

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  45. You create sense out of the foremost complex topics.Heather Anne

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