7 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY.

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O U T   I N   T H E   F I E L D

My photography has improved in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. (You're welcome to take a look back at my ancient blog posts for some expert examples of shooting in ugly, artificial light ;) I've written several posts sharing my photography tips (which I've listed later on for you) but I'm still frequently asked about my photography, so I'm sharing a few more of my thoughts today.

And, in fact, I'm shoehorning in a bit of a outfit post too, with this gorgeous floral tea dress - so I hope you enjoy!






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lifestyle-blogger-photography-tips-barely-there-beauty-blog

CHOOSING YOUR TECH


This is pretty sound advice for life in general, but don't let current trends and fads influence the equipment you choose. Pick a camera for it's spec, rather than because it's fashionable, has novelty settings, or for it's brand name. I own a Sony DLSR (more about my photography equipment in this post) and it's not as in-vogue as an Olympus Pen et al, but it takes beautiful photographs - so be choosy and look past the aesthetic!

Look for things like full frame sensors, a good selection of lenses available or useful features like peaking. And whilst a great photograph lies mostly with the skill and insight of the photographer, let's not pretend that equipment doesn't matter altogether - I was reading a post recently where the blogger claimed her photos weren't down to her £2000 Canon DSLR - perhaps not but it certainly helps right? ;)

LEARNING MANUAL MODE


Shifting from auto (or semi-auto) to full manual mode has resulted in the biggest improvement to my photography. It really helps you get the most out of even a more mediocre camera. I've owned a DSLR for close to 10 years now, but didn't bother with learning manual until far more recently - terrible isn't it!

If you've been following my photography series, you'll have seen me promise a post on how to shoot on manual so I'll leave the minutiae for that, but in essence, you need to know about the Exposure Triangle, which I'll quickly touch upon now:

ISO

This is a measure of your camera's digital sensor's sensitivity to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive the sensor. A low ISO number (ISO 100) is best for bright environments, like a sunny day, whereas a high ISO (ISO 1000) is best for a dark room or situations with low levels of light. The payoff is noise. A higher ISO is prone to making the image grainy, whereas a low ISO will tend to give you a sharp, clear image.

SHUTTER SPEED

This is how quickly the lens shutter closes. The larger the number on the bottom (1/1000), the faster it closes, and the sharper the image. A slower shutter captures more of the movement in the camera - often why a tripod is useful.

APERTURE

The aperture or F-stop relates to the size of the hole through which light enters your camera. Photographers often equate F-stop to depth of field - a low number (F1.8) creates more depth and gives you a blurred background or bokeh style of photo.

UNDEREXPOSE


This is my own, personal preference, particularly with a complicated flatlay, but I've more recently preferred shooting my photographs slightly underexposed - nothing crazy here guys! Whilst I perhaps prefer an overexposed finished result, I'm more likely to import a washed out RAW file, that's lost detail due to me trying to push the exposure that little bit more. With a slightly underexposed photograph that's retained all of it's detail, it's really simple to then adjust the brightness/exposure in the editing stage, resulting in a finished photo that's simultaneously bright and rich.

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DEVELOPING YOUR STYLE


I mentioned this in my post on how I curate and edit my Instagram feed, but creating and developing your own photography style is like the icing on the cake when you've mastered the other, more technical things (and isn't something I would say I've yet managed to perfect!).

It might be a (broad) colour palette, or a certain editing style that brings all of your photos together,  that helps unify them and make them unique to you. As part of discovering your own style, try playing around with composition and perspective. Try zooming in, shooting closer to the ground, panning out, or getting up high. Have a play with editing and figure out whether you prefer a dark and moody editing style with lots of contrast, or perhaps overexposed with the whiteness turned up high, or desaturated cool tones, and decreasing the warmth.

I turn to Pinterest for inspiration when I feel lacking, there are so many beautiful images to gaze over, whether it's flatlays or forestry, lifestyle shots or food - I've linked some of my favourite boards for you :)

LEARNING THE HISTOGRAM


I certainly don't think histogram's are the be all and end all when it comes to photography and editing, but having an understanding of them is useful. Histogram's are graphical representations of the tonal values of your image (and colours in RGB histograms) - from left to right they show blacks, shadows, midtones, highlights and whites.

If I'm having to rush a shoot, or it's in very bright sunlight, I can sometimes be disappointed when importing onto my laptop, to see that I've lost detail due to under or overexposure. Each photograph's histogram (which you can view on your camera) will show near-tangential peaks at either end of the x-axis, indicating that loss of detail. This 'clipping' can be useful to look out for and could save some time!I likewise use histogram's during the editing process, as a starting point for shadows and light.

This article is great if you want to know more.

BE PARTICULAR


This is probably an area I need to work on! Sometimes one really perfect image is better than 11 that don't quite convey the message. I tend to go through the photographs from a shoot and think 'this one is good, this one is good, this one is good' and end up posting maybe 12 photos too many. By having a more discerning eye, you're really picking out and showcasing the best of your work. (Having said that, I wasn't really happy with the editing of this post's photos, ironically! But I think that's down to my perfectionist attitude - so fellow perfectionists, feel free to ignore this point ;)

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lifestyle-blogger-photography-tips-style-barely-there-beauty-blog

PRACTICE! SHOOT PLENTY AND OFTEN


Hands down the best way to improve your photography is to practise.

With practise, the better you can understand your camera, understand how to work with different lighting situations, see what style of photography or editing you enjoy, try different setups, settings and composition.

Get out and about and make good use of your camera. Try several settings in one shoot if you're unsure. I've taken several versions of the same photo, differing the white balance settings, so I can pick out which look best.

I get so many compliments about my photography, which really warms my heart (so thank you!) but I feel like my style and photography in general is almost in it's infancy! I feel like it's developing and changing so much, as you'll no doubt be able to tell via my blog posts and Instagram feed... Something I've been embracing more, is variety. If I'm out and about, I'll take some wide shots, zoomed in ones, details or little lifestyle moments that caught my eye. You can see some examples in my latest travel posts :)


I've written several posts on photography, so do have a peek if you're after more info:




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12 comments

  1. Such a brilliant post Jennifer! Love your tips and those images in the field are so amazing. Thanks for sharing xx

    Naya // www.partyparrotblog.com

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment Naya. And it was such a lovely day when we took the photos, I loved doing this little shoot! xx

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  2. These photographs are beautiful. I love experimenting with my photography - I think a big thing for me is making my pictures tell a story.

    http://ohduckydarling.com

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    1. That's such a lovely idea Rosa, thank you so much for sharing! Thanks for your sweet comments :) xx

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  3. I need to learn how to use my camera more professionally. I go straight to Auto and then rely on editing, mainly due to laziness of learning manual!

    Jaynie Shannon | Beauty & Lifestyle

    xx

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    1. I definitely started out like that! I noticed such a big difference after learning to use my camera properly, it's got to one of the best ways to improve your photography! xx

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing these great tips!

    Beauty Candy Loves

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    1. So glad you enjoyed reading Candice! xx

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  5. Great tips, thank you!

    carolinasmakeuplife.blogspot.pt

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    1. You're very welcome Carolina, I'm glad you found them helpful! xx

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  6. I always love the photography on your blog, it is so stunning!

    Danielle xx
    http://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Danielle! I'm so glad you enjoy :) xx

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