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.
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).
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.
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!
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!
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....
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.
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.
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: