Photography is one of my favourite parts of blogging and although having a DSLR and macro lens helps, I'm always looking for ways to improve. Having recently attended a photography workshop where I learnt about some of the more technical aspects I thought I'd put together a little guide for taking the best photos and getting the most out of your camera:
1. Natural daylight is best
Starting with the most obvious, but whether it's for beauty, fashion or food, natural daylight is always best. I find the light most flattering in the afternoon although strong sunlight can also work for a brighter more contrasted photo. Coming into Winter though it's not always possible to have natural daylight so it's worth investing in some lighting or playing around with different camera settings (especially in somewhere like a restaurant where lighting is not always possible).
Low apertures for a blurry background
2. Aperture for a blurry background
Aperture is one of my favourite settings to change for a more professional looking shot. Think of all the beauty and fashion blogs where the subject in focus and the background blurry - it's called 'bokeh' and the best way to achieve it is with a low aperture (expressed as a 'f' number). It can be achieved with a kit lens but for a really professional looking photo I'd recommend investing in a macro lens. I have this one which goes down to a f1.8 and has made a huge difference to the quality of my photos. It also helps to have the subject of the photo as far away from the background as possible.
Playing around with shutter speeds and angles for the best photo
3. Shutter speed to control the lighting
This is all about how quickly the camera takes the photo (expressed as a fraction of a second) and therefore how much light it lets in. For daylight a fast shutter speed eg. 1/200 is fine but at night time you'll need to decrease the number eg. 1/20 for a well lit photo. Anything lower than 1/60s and you'll most likely need a tripod to avoid hand shake and therefore a blurry photo. This is also the setting you need for those cool moving light photos although patience and a tripod is definitely needed!
To control aperture and shutter speed simply change the circular camera dial to A or S respectively then use the little thumb dial on the right to increase or decrease.
4. White balance for a more colour accurate photo
This is particularly useful in warm lighting situations or if you want to go for a particular effect - think yellow lighting for warm cosy feel or blue lighting for a colder more wintery effect (apparently a common trick used in films). The automatic set up is usually good enough for daylight hours but for a warmer or colder effect there are also several pre-set options on a DSLR. Most useful though is the option to set your own white balance and tell your camera what is true white for the most colour accurate photo (instructions here).
5. Play around with different set ups
I'm guilty of relying on the same few set ups for my blog photos but sometimes experimenting and taking a shot from a different angle can make all the difference (particularly with food and drinks). Flat lays will always be popular but a zoomed in shot with a blurry background can be just as good. It's also fun to play with the rule of thirds and white space in a photo can be just as effective if not more visually striking.
I hope you found these tips helpful and a big thank you to Currys and Nikon for such an informative and useful evening!
Do you use these settings regularly ? What are your top photography tips?