Many months ago i did a post around taking photos when you don’t have a camera and it quickly became my most popular post; more recently I’ve had a few requests to do a post on how i take and edit my photos and which camera i use so i thought i’d compile all of that into todays post!
Many of the “rules” i go by when taking photos with my camera are the same as the ones in my post about taking photos with your phone; if you want to read all of my in-depth tips about lighting, background, props and editing click here to be brought to that post!
However i will go into the two main factors i use when taking my photos with my camera which are lighting and editing.
I use the Olympus Pen EPL-8 camera to take my photos and i have to admit i set it to auto, however along with buying my camera i bought the 45 mm lens which gives the photos so much more than the standard kit lens that comes with the camera. The 45 mm lens gives a large aperture of 1:1.8, amazing depth of field and that blurry back ground. The standard kit lens that comes with the camera is still very good and will give you a slight blurry background but if you do really want the full dept of field the 45 mm lens is money well spent.
If you don’t know what i mean by that blurry background, heres two examples outside and inside:
I always use natural lighting to take my photographs, whether thats taking photos of products indoors or taking photos of a building or scene outdoors. Now winter is in full swing taking advantage of natural light is difficult but i still choose natural lighting over alternatives because #1 its free and #2 i do believe its the best way to light a photograph.
Indoor natural lighting:
If like me you’re getting frustrated with the dark days but still want to use natural lighting for indoor photography here are my tips:
- Take photos between 10-2 when the sun is at its brightest and really at its best between 12-1.
- Find the best place in your house for photography, i actually considered filming a youtube video in my kitchen once because the lighting is amazing, the background not so much!
- Plan ahead! I always keep an eye on the weather and look for that little sun emoji, when i see its going to be a sunny day i plan ahead all of the photography i need to get done for future posts and take them all in one go. Yes, essentially i do go out on rainy days and stay in on the bright sunny ones ..
- You might be thinking “theres no such thing as outside unnatural lighting” but i’m talking about the camera flash. I always try to avoid using the flash on my camera, sometimes its unavoidable especially if you’re taking photos of people but i find the flash really washes out a picture. Heres an example i took while in Paris:
The first photo is Notre Dame without flash and the second is with flash, you can really see the huge difference once you put the flash on; the second photo is really washed out and the warm tone of the cathedral is completely lost.
Indoors unnatural lighting:
If you do want to use unnatural lighting because you can’t take your photos during daylight hours invest in some soft box lighting or a daylight bulb from ikea, but whatever you do don’t just turn on the lightbulb above your head it’ll make the photo very orange toned and often will reduce the quality of the photo.
Depending on what type of photo i’m taking i use two different editing apps, like i said before i usually take two types of photos: indoor photos of products or photos taken outside of building, streets etc.
When i take photos of products indoors i use the editing app ” Colour Story” and when i edit outdoor photos i use “VSCO cam”.
When i take photos of products i like them to be bright but not washed out, to do this i make sure the lighting is the best possible and i use 1 filter from the colour story app, either the “pop” or “everyday” filters from the essential category. Sometimes i don’t use a filter at all, i just make the exposure a little bit brighter, adjust the shadows or the curves of the photo.
Heres an example of a photo before and after applying the “everyday” filter from the colour story app:
As you can see the photo is just the tiniest bit brighter and the colours appear a little deeper, its not over filtered and the quality isn’t impacted.
For my photos taken outside i like colours to be vivid and pronounced without looking over edited. To do this i often use the VSCO cam C1 filter; some of the filters on the app are a little harsh for me but i find this amongst others to work well with the photos i take.
Heres an example:
Everything is more pronounced, i love VSCO filters because they manage to just lift everything and make things stand out more. Sometimes this filter can make some photos a little bit dark so sometimes i will up the exposure one notch but i haven’t done that here as i think it works perfectly.
So there you have it, all of my secrets into one post! I have to say my favourite thing about taking photos is the 45 mm lens it really changes the game.
– Maria x
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