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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Taking Outfit Photos

Today I have an awesome post to share with you, and it just happens to be by Bekuh of Secondhand Sundays.
Bekuh is great at all kinds of things and I really really love her blog. She posts ridiculous DIYs, makes yummy food, has great style and owns a sweet vintage shop.
(Cough she is also a contributor to Lucky Magazine!)

Enjoy and make sure you go by her blog. I know you will love it =)
Hello beautiful people! My name is Bekuh and I am sooooo excited to be visiting with you today. Tammy's blog is one of my favorites because of her quirky personality, contagious smiley faces :-P and uncontrollable passion for life. It's an honor for reals.

I blog over at Secondhand Sundays, a personal lifestyle blog, that chronicles my love of all things vintage, delicious, and handmade. You'll usually find me wearing some brightly colored get-up, with my husband and dog in toe (I like to keep my entourage close). I've been known to share recipes, DIYs, and outfit posts on the regular and Tammy flattered me so by asking if I'd share some photo tips with you for taking outfit posts.

I don't really consider my blog a fashion blog, but I do co-own a vintage store on Etsy called the Button Factory, and we do sell clothing; so I dabble in it here and there for kicks. In my nearly two years of blogging I've posted approximately 35 outfit posts. I say approximately because the first dozen or so were terrible attempts and should probably be deleted. As you can see I'm still pretty new to this whole fashionable blogger thing, but I have learned a lot in the 15+ months since I first started posting my daily wears on Secondhand Sundays.

So, without any further fanfare or back story needed here are 7 practical tips to help you improve your outfit posts on your own blog.
1. Avoid the afternoon sun.
This tip is two fold. First, the afternoon sun is super harsh and you should avoid taking photos from about 11am-4pm (in the summer) because of it, it washes all the colors out or makes them really hard to adjust when editing. Second, standing in the direct sun creates crazy shadows that are really unflattering. As you can see in the above images I learned this lesson the hard way.

HINTS: If you have to take photos in the afternoon try standing under something, with the sun behind you, not glaring in your face. The hour right before sunset (the magic hour) is the most flattering time of day to shoot photos.
2. Know your angles.
There are flattering angles, and there are unflattering angles. You should always take a lot more photos than you would ever need for a post so you can play around with how you position the camera. Try taking photos front on, from above, slightly below, sideways, and angled. If you have someone helping you with photos that's great! If not, play with varying heights on your tripod. We all have a "better" side and we just have to learn how to capture it correctly.

HINT: Schedule a day or a couple of days and take a pictures of various outfits, without the intention of them ever being posted. You can take snap a couple hundred pictures; practicing a lot of angles, and poses until you find the ones that work best for you. The bonus to this is you'll probably come out with 2 dozen or so images that you can use on the blog as filler when you don't have pictures planned.
3. Why so serious?
I love a good sultry pose like the rest of you, but man do fashion bloggers take themselves too seriously. Be natural, and loose. If you like to smile, do it every. single. time. If you make silly faces on the regular, have a signature smirk, or a funny pose, shoot it. We all have a goofy side, and a serious side; try capturing both, your readers will love it.

HINT: If you're making super goofy faces or, a silly pose DON'T take close-ups. We all love a girl who can cut loose but we don't need to see up your nostrils, or down your throat to appreciate it. These shots should be reserved for full, to mid body pictures.
4. Put your makeup on, it won't hurt you.
I'm not someone who wears a lot of makeup. I love the idea of makeup, but it's just not something I'm very good at. That being said I've learned that it's important to put a little foundation and blush on when I'm shooting an outfit post. I still don't put "a lot" on but it helps smooth the rough edges, and simplify editing. Cameras capture everything, including a little under eye redness, and the tiniest pimple. You don't want your blemishes to ruin an otherwise perfect outfit, so pull out all the stops. Magazine models, and actresses don't go into a photo shoot naked faced, so why would we?

HINT: Don't feel pressured to go over the top with your makeup if that's just not you, be true to yourself. All I'm saying is that in my experience my photos turn out better if I put in the extra effort. If you don't own makeup then go without it, maybe your target demographic is different from others.
5. A little editing goes a long way
Photos straight out of the camera will always be okay, but digital cameras were designed to make manipulating photos a lot easier and it is an important part of the photographic process to learn how to edit them. I tried a lot of fancy techniques, and actions when I first started taking outfit posts and I look back in horror now. The best outfit posts (in my opinion) are simple, bright, and well lit. There are so many great resources for learning how to edit photos online and a couple of websites like Pic Monkey that can aid the non-Photoshop user in the editing process.

HINT: There are a lot of bloggers out there who are much more qualified to speak on this subject than I am. I found this post by Delightfully Tacky, this post by Katie of Katie's Pencil Box and this series by A Beautiful Mess incredibly useful when seeking out ways to improve my own photography.
6. Mix & Match Locations.
I get into this habit where I take my outfit posts in the same location time and time again. They're tried and true and comfortably out of eyesight from the gawking public. This is a very nasty habit I'm trying to break. Some outfits deserve a special location, or at least a different one from your backyard. I've been trying to stretch myself to include new locations in these photos, and capture some of the more charming parts of my little town. People like to get a sense of who you are from your photos.

HINTS: The "magic hour" also happens to be a time of day when most people are inside, which should help make you less camera shy when shooting photos out in public. Also, the backs of buildings and the sides of buildings are a little more protected from the general public and you're less likely to have awkward interactions with strangers.
7. Shoot the details for greater visual interest.
I don't know what it is about shoes, and nail polish, but I love seeing close-ups of both on fashion blogs. We women love our details, and capturing them in an outfit post is a sure fire way to get people more interested in what you're wearing. My loving husband takes a lot of my outfit post pictures and it took me months to finally make him understand how important it was to take pictures of my handbag, rings, bracelets, and shoes. However, now he's starting to understand their importance and he gets a lot of satisfaction looking at the photos he's shot on my blog and how well the close-ups compliment the full body pictures of me.

HINT: These photos are best taken straight on, if you angle your camera too high or too low with accessories it distorts them and they won't frame as nicely on your blog.

I could probably talk for a couple of hours about framing your pictures, and the ins and outs of lighting, but I'm still learning about all of this myself. Like I said I'm not expert at outfit posts either. Outfits posts can be a lot of fun, and a great personal challenge to better your photography. I'd love to hear what techniques, and tricks some of you have learned through taking outfit posts for your blog. Leave a comment and fill me in on your secrets. big kiss, bekuh

PS- From now until October 1st all Lemons, Avocados, & the Bay readers will receive 15% off their total purchase from the Button Factory! Just enter the code "LEMONSAVOCADOSBAY" when checking out on Etsy.



Cara-Mia said...

Oh yay, I love Bekuh! These are such good tips. Thanks for sharing, Bekuh. :)

Nicole Marie said...

If I ever do a outfit post I'll definitely use these tips!

Allie said...

awww i love these tips! bekuh's outfit posts are my FAVORITE. now if only i had the courage to even ATTEMPT an outfit post haha

Melissa Blake said...

i love your style so much!! those sunglasses are a perfect touch too!

Sandy a la Mode said...

ok, she is pretty awesome!! i love these tips!!

Sandy a la Mode

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said...

I love Secondhand Sundays, and I love this post!

Evani Gatsby said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing Bekuh! :)


Devon @ TheMermaidChronicles said...

I'm not an outfit poster, but now I want to try it. I love the way you put the arrows and words together with the photos. Very cool. Thanks for sharing this! I love when good bloggers are open about some of their tricks.

♥ Ka`ili said...

thanks for the great tips! Thanks for introducing her Tammy!

Jandy xx said...

i've been thinking about begining outfit posts, this was the best inspiration ever! thank you (going over to check out your blog now!)

The Egg said...

love me some bekuhhh!

xo the egg out west.

Mikelle Jade {The Honeypie Archives} said...

great advice. I think everyone should read this and take notes-- these are exactly the type of pictures I enjoy most to look at when looking at outfit posts!


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