HOW/WHAT/WHY : HOW TO TAKE A GOOD PHOTOGRAPH

Thursday, May 22, 2014


| Simple tips for composition + editing for your blog, travel + social images |





Helloooo everyone !

Today I am going to talk about how to take a good photo, whether it be for your blog, travel photos or just out and about socially. There are loads of tips and tricks the pro's use that can be used to enhance the basics of your photography - you don't really need to go all out for social pictures but these tricks will make sure they look the best out of all your friends !

Now if you're like me, you probably went through the stage, or are still in the stage, of heavily contrasted photos with increased or decreased saturation to look 'cool'. Now that's fine when you're 15 (and interested in creating an overly green eye look with a red-removing black and white edit - trust me I went there), but if you want to really wow with your images, just simple cropping and enhancements will make them look so pretty.

Tip 1 : Surroundings and positioning are important
I know we aren't all blessed with a studio-lit room with various lights or windows at disposal, but choosing your location for images is key as is how you set-up the image.
For blogs, if you are shooting by a wall or a background, make sure you get mainly that in shot around you and not too many plants or gravel or dogs - whatever is nearby. The less fuss behind and around you the better. Also, if you have a tripod use it ! Position it far enough back to get you fully in the frame with as minimum distraction surrounding you, and have it either facing you straight on or coming from above as this makes your face slimmer and eyes bigger - oooh yeah. If you don't own a tripod, rope a partner or family member in. It'll only take 10 minutes and you can give them cake after. Or a smoothie, go for the smoothie.
With fashion blog images, try to be as patient and descriptive as possible when directing; Socially, if it's a picture of you and your friends then position in a sequence such as 'tall at the back, small at the front', 'small to tall to small', or all in a line makes for lovely quality. Make it continuous and equally balanced as it will appear well staged and pretty to post on Instagram.

Tip 2 : How to get central and aesthetically pleasing images.
Using Photoshop Elements 9 (RRP £64.99 Amazon) 


1. Open up the desired image, and in the sidebar, select Custom Shape Tool |
2. From the drop-down menu at the top bar, scroll until you find a 3x3 grid shape. |
3. Pick a bright colour for your shape and then from corner to corner drag the shape across your picture (see third image)
> This is called 'The Rule Of Thirds'; Photographers use this to make sure images are structured and are pleasing to the eye. You may be thinking, 'how can an eye be pleased ?' well it's to do with how the brain and mind 'reads' the image. If the main focus of the image is within the thirds, then the mind sees it as a balanced image and appears to have more energy and quality than a 'regular' image. The former looks more lackluster and basic in comparison, and although not to squander any techniques you currently use, by simply cropping and shifting an image slightly, you can make it so much more POW that poo.
4. Shift the image accordingly to make sure all the lines and focus meet in the center/on a line/in a section and is balanced. I have gone for a central focus with all the lines meeting straight in the middle. |
5. Crop the image accordingly | 6. And remove the grid, saving it !

Composition is really really key. If you go away from this blog with one thing, let it be composition !

Tip 3 : Use levels, not just contrast !
If you own Photoshop than this should be a doddle, if not then never fear as both Windows Photo Gallery and iPhoto on Mac will both have adjustment features. Simply click Auto Adjust and increase the contrast slightly after, to get a nice natural yet subtly enhanced image.
In Photoshop, use Ctrl+L to open levels and you can Auto Adjust or use the sliders to choose your effect. I would suggest brightening with levels mainly, adding some slight depth before using Contrast to bring the image forward.

Tip 4 : Use saturation in moderation
Sometimes upping the colour of your images helps give them some pazazz, other times you look orange. Or blue even depending. Just be slightly (and I mean slightly) increasing the saturation, your images will have more vibrancy without the over-obvious fakeness, whilst desaturating will give a soft and more neautral effect.

Tip 5 : Don't repeat images too much
You can take all the pictures you want in life, but when it comes to publishing or uploading, the same images at different angles or heights get a bit yawnsome. Oh, you have 5 good pictures of you by the pool ? Pick 1 and make it really pretty. You'll be able to tell which is best by using your new found composition eye ;) Selective images are the best, you may end up with 10 good out of a 100 but they'll be the best 10 ever.


I hope these starting points get your photography juices flowing ! Let me know if you use any of these tricks and if you want any more in-depth posts on this.

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

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