Thursday, 17 January 2013

Blog Photography 101: Product Shots & Winter Lighting!


Hey guys! I’m starting a new series today based around blog photography and how to make the best of your blog imagery. I know there's a few of these around but I wanted to share my take. Now I’ve been studying photography for 5 years and worked as an assistant for 3 years, so I pretty much know what I'm talking about. I’m going to try and share with you lots of tips and tricks I've picked up through blogging and work! To be honest with you, alot of this will be based around using SLR’s but you really can take things away from this if you use a compact or bridge, especially when diffusing flash and reflecting light is concerned.

Shooting products in winter can be difficult because of the horrid lighting and small time frame in which you can shoot during the day. Depending on your home, the first area you would choose to shoot would be somewhere like a conservatory. Alot of natural light! Try setting up a scene or using something for a background. One thing about winter is that alot of images can become too cool which i personally don't like. To counter this I sometimes switch the ‘big light’ on for a slight warm cast. Now i know many other bloggers say don’t use flash, but I nearly always use it in winter as a “filler”. Now that doesn't mean go in flashgun blazing. If you are using an on camera flash try and turn it down or diffuse it through a carrier bag. If you use a flashgun, bounce it off something.

Lady Gaga Fame perfume review beauty blog[6][Taken in conservatory in Winter – Flash]_DSC0042 edit[5][Taken in Conservatory in Summer – No Flash]

A great way to add more light is reflectors. Using a white piece of paper, place it next to your product to bounce natural light onto it. You can really go that extra mile by using silver or gold tinfoil like materials to cool down/warm up an image depending on personal preference.

If you don't have a conservatory, a window with alot of light will be your next best bet. When I’m at university I don't have a conservatory unfortunately, so I have to make my bedroom window work. My curtains have white lining luckily, so i can use them to help reflect light back onto a subject. I normally do use my flashgun in this case but I know alot of people wont have them, so I do really recommend investing in a white piece of card from a craft/art shop. Even if you like to take photos somewhere else in your room, it will really help on a dull winters day.

_DSC0002[Taken in Bedroom at University]

Another thing, is if you have an SLR use manual! I cannot stress this enough. Images will look so much better than if used on auto. If you don't know what all the settings mean, learn them. I can do a DSLR tutorial if you wish, but learning how to use it properly should have been one of the first steps you took when getting it. Make sure you bump the ISO up to at least 400 to help brighten, noise shouldn't be an issue. The image above was taken at 1/125th of a second at F2.8 with an ISO of 720 and look how clear it still is.

If you really want your blog photography to be the best it can be, you will put the effort into finding the best place to take pictures. I have certain areas all over both of my houses where I prefer to photograph certain things in certain ways. Another tip is to use the bathtub if your bathroom is bright enough and you want a flawless white background. In my old house I used to do product shots in the bath as I got a nice amount of light which came through the window. If you don’t have any great places with natural light in your home, I’d say purchase a daylight bulb from a store and use a lamp to help light your images. Go that extra mile! Great photography isn’t just snap and go, it can be pretty technical.

_DSC0034edit[Taken in the Bathtub in my Old House]

Remember, be original, be personal. I’ve now stopped using a plain white background and either use a scene or a Disney Comic Strip tissue paper background (see below) as I’ve been wanting to inject a little more personality into my images while still having them practical for their purpose. I’m sure my blog imagery will develop even more over time, it’s just practicing what works and improving on it.

Disney Villains Designer Collection Eyeshadow Palette Makeup Beaty[5][Taken in Conservatory with a Disney Comic Strip Background]

My next post in this series will be about how to improve upon your Makeup and Nail shots! It should be up next week so stay tuned.

What do you think of this series about photography? Was this helpful at all?


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  1. really useful post, if you do any more in series can you show a photo of how you use the card/light reflectors etc?? xx

    1. Yes I shall do! Will include a pic in next weeks post :)

  2. I completely agree about not just having a plain white background. I have had to do it recently due to the horrific lighting I currently have but I think photos with more going on are a lot better! Great post x


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