In my personal opinion, mastering photography is one of the hardest parts of blogging. It takes a lot of trial and error, patience, and dedication to get it right. The biggest thing I’ve learned from though, are the mistakes I’ve made along the way!
Sometimes it can be daunting to start “dabbling” in something that so many other people seem to be so good at, right? But the truth it–it’s how you learn!
There’s no harm in learning from other people’s mistakes though 😉 So today, I wanted to share the most common photography mistakes we see (which also happen to be one’s we’ve all made in the past as well!)
Are you making any of these?
Under estimating the importance of natural light
I’ve said it 100 times and I’ll say it again: there is no replacement for natural light. No flash, no fancy lights, no shadow boxes are going to yield better results than natural light.
I will never forget trying to photograph a flatlay on my floor at 10pm when I first started blogging–in tears because I couldn’t make it look good and I didn’t know why. Once I figured out that I couldn’t be photographing flatlays at night under florescent lighting, it was the biggest lightbulb moment of all time!
This, of course, is unfortunate for all of us, because obviously it’s a lot of hard work trying to revolve your shooting schedule around the daylight! Bulk shooting on weekends, during your lunch breaks, and sprinting out of work in time to shoot before the sun sets is obviously not the ideal scenario–but that’s what’s necessary sometimes!
Shooting at an unflattering angle
This is something we both recently just learned–and is a trick that will come in handy anytime you have someone take a photo of you! If your photographer squats down slightly (or, even more convenient, if they’re shorter than you are!) so the camera is pointed slightly upward toward you, it will make you like 10x taller!
Exhibit A: When your head looks too big for your body every time your boyfriend shoots an instagram photo of you–it’s because he’s photographing you from slightly above. (Bobble head syndrome!)
My two tips for the most flattering photos:
1. Take them from an angle, with one leg slightly in front of the other.
2. Stand on your tippy toes (especially if you’re wearing flats!)
Similar outfits: Left–taken from above, Right–taken from slightly below, standing on tip-toes!
You will be shocked at how well this works! (My other tip for DSLR shooting: If you often shoot outfit photos, shoot with a 35mm lens over a 50mm–the wider angle is far more flattering! More details on those lenses here!)
Shooting in automatic
It’s not enough to have a great camera, you’ve got to know how to use it, too! Using your camera’s automatic mode is like riding a bike without ever removing the training wheels. Womp womp. There is SO much your camera can do outside of automatic mode, so get out of your comfort zone and start experimenting with manual! Check out our three part series on ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed which is a great place to get started.
Shooting with a low shutter-speed
This photo could’ve been cute if it weren’t ALL BLURRY!
One of the most common mistakes we made in the beginning was shooting with a super low shutter speed, resulting in photos that are blurry! Nobody wants blurry photos, do they?
Here’s a good rule of thumb–your shutter speed should never go below the number on the lens you’re shooting on. For example, if you’re shooting with a 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be 1/50 or faster. When in doubt, bump up your ISO, as this will allow you to shoot at faster shutter speeds while capturing more light. This results in–ta-da, crisper, brighter photos!
Using the wrong lens
When I first started, I was so excited to have gotten a good camera. I was shooting in manual mode. WHY didn’t I have that gorgeous blurry background that all the other fashion bloggers had?!
Turns out, I wasn’t using the right lens! The lens that your camera comes with doesn’t have an aperture wide enough to give you that beautiful “bokeh” or blurry depth of field that other lenses do.
We talked all about lenses and cameras in this post, so if you’re having this problem too, make sure to give it a read!
Under editing photos
Circa 2014. Hmm…not sure I edited this one?
Under edited photos are typical dark, without a lot of contrast. (AKA ALL of my photos when I started learning photography!) You need editing software to make them bright and vibrant!
If you aren’t editing your photos in Lightroom already, you need to be! Lightroom was a huge game-changer for both of us when it came to stepping up our photography. When I first started, I was using iPhoto to edit my photos (no no!) and then Photoshop! Confusingly, Photoshop shouldn’t be used for editing photos, it’s meant for graphics! (If you’re like me you’re wondering, “then why is it called PHOTO shop?”–right? Who knows!?)
Over editing photos
On the contrary, this is the biggest thing I STILL struggle with–over-editing my photos. (I went through a phase where I made them all pink…?) Getting that “branded” look to your photos takes a lot of trial and error, but when in doubt, less is more!
A good rule of thumb for me is that if the colors or details of my clothes look different than in real life, I know I’ve over-edited. (For example, if I’m wearing a purple dress but it look blue with the filter I’ve used, if a shirt I’m wearing is brighter in person, etc.)
Not choosing the background wisely
Another throwback gem…GARBAGE CAN for the win!
We’re all guilty of this one–I mean, come on. Finding a pretty background is HARD WORK! It takes effort. Sure, it’s easier to just shoot your outfit photos in the back alley outside of your building, or out on your deck, but the harsh truth: they aren’t very pretty photos to look at. Sometimes seemingly non-offensive backgrounds can seem offensive in photos. (Like red brick houses/buildings for example–pretty in real life–very ugly in photos! Exhibit A above!)
If you go back far enough in my own outfit archives, you’ll see I was a bad offender. I was blind to the garbage cans and dead grass in my photos. (CRINGE.) Sometimes this is easier said than done, I know, especially in winter–but if you can’t find a pretty natural background, opt for a colorful wall or mural! (Then you won’t be able to tell what season it is!)
Moral of the story: choosing your background wisely matters just as much as learning how to use your camera!