Photography Equipment | Software | Skills

Hello you lovely lot, today I’m posting about something I get asked about a lot and that is my photography. I also want to clear a few things up with you all and also share some tips and tricks I have learnt along the way. Photography can be quite a controversial topic with people arguing that iPhones are just as good or that there are cheaper blogging cameras out there and I agree you don’t have to pay a fortune to get good photos but I have paid for my equipment to better my photography not only for my blog but because I have a general interest in photography itself.
The Camera
When I first started blogging I took all my photos with my iPhone 4s, it did the job and at the time I was pretty happy with my photos I learnt how to take product photos well and used natural light to get crisp photos but the more blogs I read the more notice I started to take of peoples photography. I am a very visual person, if something looks great I will buy it. Sounds shallow but true, I’m a sucker for a good photo pretty backgrounds and gorgeous product pictures so I decided to upgrade and buy a camera. I opted for the bloggers favourite which is the Canon 600D, wow this camera has served me well and it is a purchase I have not regretted. A few things I’d change is that it does not autofocus when recording so when I record for my YouTube channel and I put a product in front of me it won’t focus which is rather annoying and something I wish I had known when buying the camera. One thing I didn’t do a lot of was research when buying this camera I just bought it because a lot of my favourite bloggers had it and their photos were amazing but if your looking to film for YouTube then definitely bear in mind that you can’t autofocus on things. The lens I use is the lens that came with the camera which is a 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens, I use this for all of my photography but I’d like to invest in a 50mm lens next because that creates an even more blurred background which I love. I also bought vlogging camera recently because the Canon 600D is quite big and not ideal for popping in your handbag I opted for the Canon S110, this is a fantastic camera for vlogging it has autofocus and the quality is great. It is still new to me so if you’d like an update on how I’m getting on with it and the settings let me know. If you were interested in how the Canon S110 photographs it took the first three images on this post.
Camera Equipment 
Next up are a few things that make photography life much easier, firstly a canon remote! I’ve bought a couple of these now as backups after losing one a little while back and it making my self portrait life a misery without it i figured I must have extras dotted around the house because this little thing is so easy to lose! Having a remote makes those most important make-up ‘selfies’ so much easier and quicker I also feel it looks way more professional than having your good ol arm in the way taking the ‘selfie’. Another important piece of equipment is a tripod, are you one of those girls that balances your camera on a tonne of books or Glossybox boxes to get your  camera the right height? I was one of those girls and ever since I have got my tripod I have never looked back to those books, for the sake of a few pounds I’d highly recommend purchasing a tripod, it makes life so much easier and it’s great for out door fashion shots when you haven’t got anyone around to take photos for you, this is where the remote also comes in very handy.



The Software
Editing is something I have really began to enjoy recently, when I first started blogging I discovered Picmonkey, its a great online editing website that is free to use you can brighten photos, crop, add filters and text it’s really a great all rounder but I soon lusted after perfection and this is where it’s going to get controversial again, I purchased Photoshop Elements 12 this is the software I use to create my merged images and also where I alter lighting and crop ect. I use this 90% of the time, sometimes it’s just to crop and brighten and other times to perfect my skin. As mentioned I am a rather visual person and if you read my blog then you probably are too, I pride myself on my photography I take a lot of time and effort taking the photos and also editing. I have never said I don’t smooth my skin in photos because I do, my skin is not perfect in real life and you can see this in my YouTube videos so I’m not trying to portray myself as something I’m not but I am trying to make my pictures more attractive and appealing to the eye. If I am doing a product review for example of a foundation I will not edit my skin, I show before and after photos and that is what I look like. I will edit out a spot if it’s looking horrendous but my photoshop skills aren’t amazing so I can’t always do this, again I’d like to stress when I’m doing a product review and you see it on my skin it has not been edited so do not feel you are not going to see what the product really looks like because you are. I may make the photo a little brighter than when I took it originally as a lot of my pictures are taken at night but I will not edit my skin or whatever product it is be it a lipstick or an eye shadow. I wanted to share the images above to show you step by step what I do and how minimal yet effective the simple steps can be, lighting is also a key factor so look to the next topic to see what I use and why. Photoshop Elements 12 itself is an OK piece of software but again a bit of a rushed impulse buy I still barely know how to use it properly and only use a few tools as it is rather complicated, I’d definitely look into other pieces of software and see what else is available I wish I had bought the original Photoshop because it seems you can do alot more on it. On Elements the main tools I used are the colour curve adjusters, crop, brighten, and Impressionist brush tool.
The Lighting
Lighting, another very important part of perfect photography at least for me it is. When I purchased my Canon 600D I also ordered two soft box lights off of ebay as again a lot of bloggers recommended them, they are huge but they definitely helped with not only my videos but my product photos. I found that these were the perfect light for taking product photos and I really enjoyed using them, also fab for taking photos of the face and swatches ect. With the soft boxes being quite large and taking up quite a lot of room in the house I  searched for something smaller and I came across the Ring light, a favourite of many YouTubers and photographers. The ring light definitely isn’t a cheap option so if your looking to buy something cheaper than I’d still recommend the soft box lights just bare in mind their size, you could always buy the pair with another blogger and have one each the light from one would still be enough. When I purchased my ring light I did have to buy the tripod separate, this is something you’ll need so make sure you get one just or make sure the one your ordering comes with one already. The lighting whist taking makeup shots is very important for me, it gets rid of shadows on my face including my lovely mummy under eye bags and it almost ‘photoshops’ your skin for you. Good lighting is key! If you have big windows and natural light available then this is perfect too, as mentioned I have to do a lot of my photos and videos in the evening so I needed the lights.
What I use to edit my YouTube videos- I currently use the latest version of iMovie. It’s pretty good but the new version confuses me quite a lot and I’m still learning, I turn to YouTube for tutorials on how to do things still and I find that very helpful when learning new editing skills.
Backdrops- I have recently branched out into using different backdrops and I have had quite a few compliments on these, no my house isn’t a fairy wonderland it’s just a magical backdrop from Babydream Backdrops, I was kindly sent these and I love them. I have to admit they are absolutely huge so I still need to get some sort of backdrop stand sorted but for now I fold them In half and hang them off my door and they work find for portrait shots and YouTube backdrops. These backdrops are made from a fabric so they won’t tear or break easily which is really great and they also fold away which is great for storage. If you check out their website you’ll be amazed by all the gorgeous backdrops and they even do double sided ones which is what I have.
This is how ‘I’ like to take my photos, I wanted to share this information with you so you can learn about my photography style and hopefully pick up a few tips on the way, even the simplest tips like buying a camera remote.

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