How To Up Your Blog Photo Game

Well hey.

How you all doing? Survived Storm Doris? Seriously though .. DORIS.  The amount of times I’ve seen this name on SM is insane ha. Anyhoo… blog post time, woop. And it’s a good one. Ya know why? Cos a crap load of you have requested it… CHECK ME OUT GETTING REQUESTS FOR POSTS. 

So… I’m finally writing a blog post all about my photography & upping my game. I did a blog post on photos when I first started blogging .. but recently I’ve really been trying hard with my photos, both on the blog & my Instagram (totes should follow me on there if you don’t already .. shameless plug.. I’m at @throughtheglitterglass). And you know what I love? So many people have noticed too. I thought I’d talk you through some of the things I’ve done to up my game, and also just some general tips too.. and I hope it helps some of you out!

Camera

Now.. I recently invested in the EVER so popular Olympus Pen because I knew I really wanted to focus on creating high quality images and this one is so highly raved about in the blogging world. And oh my goodness I can see why.. not only is it the most instagrammable camera EVER.. the photos it can produce are AMAZING. So many of you have complimented my pictures since getting this camera, and it definitely was the first step for me in upping my game. If you also want to do the same .. I highly recommend investing in a good camera.. as the difference is crazy. In fact .. I’m also going to be picking up the 30mm lens too because I want those beautiful, blurred background photos! Another thing I LOVE about this camera is the Wifi feature… it means I can easily send myself photos and post these directly onto my Instagram! If you’re not really feeling the whole spending £400 on a camera, fear not, because my babe Holly over at TheKittyLuxe uses her iPhone for her photos and my GOD her imagery is stunning. She did a whole post on it too.. so make sure you check it out.

   

(Taken on iPhone)

Play around with manual mode

Not gonna lie.. manual mode on my camera scared me at first. All it seemed to do was make my photos blurry and dark.. not a good look. BUT..  a little bit of research really helped and now I refuse to use the auto settings on my camera! A few tips I’ve picked up:

  • Lowering the ‘F’ feature when you want a close up for that gorgeous blurry background. This reduces your focal point, meaning your camera will focus on a small part of your image, and slightly blur out the rest. This is amazing if you want to do a close up of something (i.e. lipstick/bathbomb). I also find it helps when I’m filming YT videos.. as the camera will focus on me and blur out the background. Yay!
  • Increasing/decreasing aperture based on how much natural light you have – this helps so much if you are taking photos on a cloudy day. This allows more light into the lens (if it’s dark) or less if you have a lot of sun.
  • Increasing ISO – Again.. this helps if you do not have a lot of light coming through (this is more about the sensitivity of light). Be careful with this one though.. as a higher ISO means grainier photos.

These are basically the only settings I’ve got to grips with .. there is so much more but I’m learning! If you need more in depth info, Lydia Millen did a fab snap story on the Olympus settings (I think you can find this on YT), as well as an amazing post by Robyn.. who has fab tips on getting to grips with manual mode, and her photos are absolutely STUNNING.

Natural Light

I’ve definitely had my fair share of having to photograph with artificial light and natural light .. and to be honest, natural light wins by FAR. Of course, with it being Winter, we get like 5 hours of light and even then for most of the time it horrible & cloudy… so we don’t really have a choice but to pull out the soft boxes. Where possible though.. I always photograph by a window… and even on cloudy days I can faff around with my camera settings and make it work. The best times for me are between the hours of 9am-11am, and 3pm-4pm. And the best tips for soft boxes? Use 2 and extend them quite high to get as much light as possible (rather then up close & using just one).. I find this helps so much with getting rid of shadows and too much brightness. Instead, you get a nice glow. Perfect.

Have a good backdrop

Since I’ve developed a ‘white theme’ for my Instagram… I needed a good sized backdrop. My solution? A double sized duvet/white sheet. I use this as my base, and add blankets/scarves as needed. This means I have a huge drop to work with and can get really creative with my photography without worrying about anything getting in the way/having to crop anything out.

Get yourself some props

Props. Are. Everything. Literally the most important thing ever if you want to up your photography game. One thing I love to do is match up my props with the type of photo I’m taking/what season it is etc. A few of my favourite props are:

  • Blankets
  • Fake flowers (essential)
  • Small trays
  • Cute bowls/mugs/plates
  • Bows
  • Candles
  • Perfume bottles
  • Fairy lights
  • Plants/cacti
  • Cute notebooks

Literally ANYTHING can be used as a prop… and you don’t even need to buy anything extra if you don’t want to – you probably have plenty of stuff that you can use! The key is to experiment! I’m still learning on how to get my perfect flatlay.. but once I’ve worked it out.. I will definitely do a post on it!

(Taken on iPhone)

Get your editing right

Editing really doesn’t have to take you hours..I honestly think it takes me about 10-15 minutes to edit all my photos for a post/weeks worth of Instagram shots. And you know why? Because I do more or less the same thing for all my pictures:

  • Increase Brightness – but not too much where you can’t see certain things (i.e. images/writing). Just enough to highlight your picture and not make it so dull
  • Increase Contrast – just enough to make the darker things in your photo be slightly more prominent
  • Increase Highlight – this gives your pictures a little but of a “glow” – again increase slightly, not too much otherwise your image becomes too bright
  • Increase Sharpness – to make small details stand out nicely
  • Decrease Temperature – this is a personal thing for me because I like my pictures to have a slightly cool tone to them
  • Whiten Whites – this is where my fave app FaceTune comes in. It is especially helpful in making my backgrounds whiter and giving them that lovely crisp look. It has been my saviour since developing my white themed Instagram too!

That is literally the quickest way to tell you how I edit my pictures – let me know if you want anything in more detail though gals!

 
OK -I think I have covered everything? These are basically the things I have been doing to really up my photo game – and it has helped too because I receive so many compliments on my pictures recently (you guys are DA BEST). If you have ANY more questions about my pictures, make sure to let me know in the comments and I will help you out 🙂 For now – hope this post helped you!

I’m off sofa hunting with my parents & hubby – so hope you all enjoy your weekend!

LOTS OF LOVE,

Saira

xo

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

Essential Winter Blog Props

Hey there !

Remember me? It’s been a while hasn’t it! Apologies about the MASSIVE break in my posts … I’ve just felt so uninspired recently which is very unlike me… especially at this time of year when there is so much festive inspo flying around ! I’ve just been SO out of the loop… BUT I am glad to be sat down writing up a post for you all.

So.. how have you all been? I’ve just been SO busy settling into my new job and trying to get back into the swing of blogging. If you didn’t already know.. I recently brought the ever so dreamy Olympus Pen camera.. which of course meant that I spent the majority of my weekend having the biggest blog photo session ever. I also spent my Saturday morning trawling the shops looking for some winter blog props… and then I thought to myself that would be such a fab idea for a post!

 

Now.. blog props for me are something that is so essential if you really want to up your photo game .. they just make your photos look so much more interesting and you can really show your personality through them too! So guys .. I have a whole load of things that you can go out and find that will make your photos look perfect for winter and also add that special festive touch!

Blankets

 

We all know blankets are an essential when it comes to winter time (who doesn’t love to snuggle in one after a long day!).. so why not incorporate that into your blog too? I find grey, white or cream blankets are perfect for this time of year to use as a backdrop and just to add some “texture” to your photos (if that makes sense!). Mine is actually a £4 one from Primark… but you can definitely go all out and pick up a fluffy one too. I think they look adorable and give a real cosy vibe to your pictures!

Fairy Lights

 

What even was my life without fairy lights? I can’t believe that I ever used to take photos without fairy lights! They instantly make your photos look amazing and so so cosy! I picked up some adorable red ones from Home Bargains and they are SO festive! They also jingle .. but that wouldn’t be very effective in a blogpost, ha. Seriously though, get yourself some… they really make all the difference.

Candles

 

Ahhhh candles. I’m obsessed with candles anyway so it was only obvious I picked up some wintery ones to go in my photos. Check out Home Bargains or B&M for some adorable, festive ones… and they can work either lit or just as a prop in a flatlay… either way looks faaaaabulous. Also .. HOW CUTE is the one shaped like a Christmas tree! I doubt I will ever actually burn it because I don’t want to ruin the beautiful shape it has.. but it definitely looks adorable in the background.

Mugs

 
I’ve become a little bit obsessed with mugs recently and thought they would look so cute as props! I feel like they add such a homey, comfortable feel to your photos, and there are so many festive ones that just add something special to your photos! The Christmassy one is from Home Bargains, and the kitten one (although not vey festive by frickin’ adorable) is from the Velvet Ghost range in Primark by the stunning Gabby… and when I saw it was only £2… I HAD to have it.

Zoella Range

 

Let’s be honest guys… all of the Zoella beauty/lifestyle range is absolutely beautiful and SO instagrammable! I am in LOVE with the gingerbread body mist/cream… and they look so adorable as props, especially as they are SO festive. In fact, any perfume bottle can be added to your photos and look gorgeous!

Pinecones/Berries/Wreaths & Room Sprays

All of the above just scream Christmas & winter to me.. and adding them to your photos instantly makes them look SO winter ready. They are so affordable yet add so much to your images .. definitely worth picking up! I got my mini wreath thing from Home Bargains & the pinecones are from some old pot pourri.. which I am so sure you’ll have lying around somewhere!

There is something so beautiful about room spray bottles .. and this one from Home Bargains caught my eye as it was so classic yet perfect for winter time! Added bonus … it smells absolutely divine!

Candy Canes

 

I am OBSESSED with candy canes.. and they literally add the most beautiful pop of colour to an all white, winter-y photo! I love seeing these little gems pop up in the shops, and as soon as I saw them, I knew they would be perfect for photos! They are so so affordable too… and it means you have a little treat to have after you’ve had your photo taking session!

So guys… they are the few items I have picked up that I think will make my photos look so festive and perfect for winter! It definitely is worth picking up a few bits.. I find they really help me enjoy taking photos even more! You can get as creative as you want… and even make your own Winter props too! Pinterest is your best friend for this 🙂

I’m going to be off now… hope you enjoy the rest of your week! I am in the midst of editing a weekly vlog so I am hoping to get the up this weekend!! Fingers crossed for me to actually upload a video this time ha!

Lots of love,

Saira

Xx

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

Blog Photography 101♥

Hiya lovelies!♥

Hope you have all had a wonderful week.. and also enjoyed your Bank Holiday.. how does it seem so long ago already?!

I wanted to do a post that would hopefully help A LOT of you lovely guys out there… Recently I have been having SO many compliments on my blog photos (you are a lovely bunch.. I could just squeeze you all!)… so I thought what better thing to babble on about than photography!

Quick little disclaimer too.. I am by NO means a professional.. I just take photos for my little blog and for fun too.. and everything that I have learnt has been through experience and knowledge picked up here and there from other bloggers! I have been blogging for around 8 months.. and I can honestly say that I think my photos have improved massively! SO.. without further ado… lets get on with it… woo!

The Basics♥

Background

Decide on what background you want. This is completely personal and up to you – whether you want a bright, colourful background, a white, marble background (the standard blogger background – and my personal fave!).. the choice is completely yours! Now this is where DIY shops come in handy… remember when your parents were re-decorating the living room and they took home about 20 different wallpapers to see what went well together? WELL… you can do exactly the same (tehehe).. so pop into B&M or B&Q and take a few “samples”.. just don’t go too crazy (ha!). Another thing that can work amazingly is a plain canvas! I also want to incorporate different textures into my background.. i.e. faux fur or blankets.. I have seen quite a few people do this and it looks GORGEOUS and really adds something to their images!

Location

Girls.. FIND YOUR BLOGGING SPOT. Whether that is a corner in your bedroom, the hallway.. the bathroom.. find a location that works for you! Now.. I mean a location where there is plenty of natural light, lots of room for you to move around, and NO CLUTTER! I like to use the space in the spare living room, right next to the window! It is also worth keeping a box/basket where you can keep items you regularly use in photos (such as props.. MORE on these later!). I am honestly DREAMING of the day I have my own office/blogging/vlogging room… but for now.. my living room will do!

Camera

Should I be honest with you girlys? The camera I use is a Samsung 16MP HD digital camera that Saj (the hubby) got me whilst we were at Uni (5 years ago). Yep. I would LOVE to invest in an Olympus Pen (THE perfect blogging camera).. but when you have a mortgage to save up for… it is (unfortunately) not the first thing on my shopping list (boo!!). I WILL GET ONE SOON! Hint… it is my birthday in July.. just saying. ANYWAYS.. the whole point of that little babble was to reassure you that any camera you have is FINE. Whether you have a Canon (dreamy), or are using your iPhone… your photos will still be FAB!

Editing

Now… for me … I had to include editing in this Basics list guys. Trust me.. it makes a MASSIVE difference into how eye catching/professional your photos look. Don’t be scared.. you do not have to do any fancy editing whatsoever! Just stick the brightness/highlight/contrast up a little bit.. and if you have bright colours… a teeny increase on the saturation never hurts. I use Pic Monkey for editing my blog photos.. it is SO easy to use.. and it is free! It is also pretty foolproof too.. so you should definitely check it out!

SAM_4400

So lovelies.. that is my advice on the basics of blog photos! These should hopefully help if you are just trying to up your blog photo game.. and are some good starting points!

NOW.. if you have mastered the basics (which I am sure you will… there really isn’t much to it.. hehe)… you can move onto the ADVANCED points. OK… they are not really advanced.. it is just things that take that little bit more effort.. and I feel are essential if you really want to up your blog photo game.

Advanced♥

Flat Lays

Ohhh .. nothing better than a good old flat lay image. Yes they take that little bit more time, yes they cause you to have a sore back, yes you look like an absolute BOOB when you are taking them.. but THEY MAKE A DAMN GOOD PHOTO! I only really started taking flat lays a few months into blogging.. now every photo of mine has to be one hehe! I thought I would share some of the tips/tricks I have picked up along the way!

One word. Chair. Enough said.

Props are literally your best friend when it comes to flat lays. I like to think of my flat lays as telling a little bit of a story (weird I know, haha!).. but I find that this helps me so much! See one of my favourite flat lays below:

IMG_9470

This was from my Teen Make Up Post.. and I used props that I associated with being young (the old generation iPod, baby lips lip balm, a very retro looking mascara).. and I loved how this image turned out! 

Use one item as a “base” item. Then add other items that associate with that! For example.. use a glass of water (very basic I know)… then add some pretty drinking straws, some fake flowers.. maybe a funky little tray.. AND YOU ARE DONE! It really is all about getting creative and letting your personality shine in your photos!

SAM_4726.JPG

Confetti makes all the difference. Especially if you have a plain white background.. confetti just makes the image look extra special and eye catching. Trust me.. grab some confetti and go wild. Just keep the hoover close by.. you will make a mess, ha!

SAM_4408

Don’t go overboard. For me.. there is nothing worse than my flat lay looking too crowded. I like to be able to see the background too.. and I know when I have added way too much to my photos! Just experiment and see what looks right!

Lighting

For over 7 months of my blogging life.. I stuck to natural light/editing… and I was happy. HOWEVER.. once I started YouTube.. I realized lighting was that LITTLE bit more of an essential. I have included it in this Advanced section because I happily took all my photos without them… and you can too. However.. if you are able to invest in some.. I would say do it. They make taking blog photos so much easier… you do not have to worry about shadows, everything just looks more “crisp”, and you can take your photos at more or less any time and not worry about natural light as much! I use soft box lighting.. and I picked them up for £30 on eBay.. not bad at all ey?!

 Props

Anything makes a good prop. Beauty products, fake flowers, little bunnies, lipsticks… trust me.. have a Blog Prop Box with ANYTHING you find around the house and use it in your photos! It makes them so much more fun to look at! As mentioned before.. try not to add too many in one photo! A perfect example would be:

  • Your favorite beauty items
  • Some fake flowers
  • Small glass hearts
  • Some seasonal items (bunnies for Spring time!)

SAM_4455

DONE!

Lastly.. BE CREATIVE! Your blog and the photos you take are all about showing you and your personality. Get as creative as you want! If you want.. you can even make each of your images have a specific colour theme/beauty theme.. anything goes!

SAM_4714

General Tips♥

Take plenty of photos

 Trust me.. the last thing you want is to take maybe 5″good” photos, put all your set up away, upload your photos.. and realize you hate every single one. Oh yes.. it happened to yours truly. AND it was a nightmare! Take as many photos from one angle, then move to another, and ANOTHER. This just means you have plenty to pick from!| I usually have around 80 photos to pick from.. and only end up using 8-9 ha!

Avoid the flash

The flash is evil. It makes your photos look washed out and weird. I have NEVER had any luck when using the flash.. so I recommend avoiding it! Stick to your natural light/soft box lighting… it looks SO much nicer!

Try not to over-edit

You want your pictures to look bright, crisp and clear. You do not want a blue/orange toned photo, or an image that is WAY to bright to look at! As I mentioned previously, a little bit of an increase in the contrast/brightness/highlight is all you need.

Designate a blog photo taking day

This will make your blogging experience so much easier! Set up your little photography studio (ahem .. in that little corner of your bedroom).. and take 2-3 posts worth of blog photos on one go! This means that everything you need is in one place.. and you are not running back and forth searching for your items to photograph! It also helps when you are writing.. as your photos will always jog your memory of what you are talking about!

Some Quick Instagram Tips!!

I thought I would add in some SPEEDY tips for Instagram photos!

  • Take these at the same time you take your blog photos! It makes complete sense right.. you have everything set up.. why not? I like to take my weekly set of Instagram pics so they are all set to go up!
  • For convenience.. take them on your phone camera! This means they are easy to access and quicker to edit too! I use PS Express to edit my Instagram photos.. and I use the same editing style for these too!

So loves.. that is my advice for blog photography! I personally think photos are SO important.. and are one of the main things that drive people to your blog! EVERYONE loves seeing lovely, bright images… so I really hope you are able to pick up on some of these things to help you!

I hope this post was informative.. I would love to know any tips you have, as I am always willing to learn more! Remember to just have fun and be as creative as possible! Thank you SO much for reading darlings.. and I cannot wait to see you in my next one!

Lots of Love,

Saira

xo

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥