DIY Blog Photography – aka How to Teach Someone to Take Photos of You

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I always swore that I would never be a blogger who blog about blogging. It’s just not for me. So I was a little hesitant to write today’s post, however, I got SUCH great feedback on my IG stories when I asked so I decided to go for it. Also, although I think Blogger can really benefit from this post, it’s something everyone can use! After all, how many times have you passed your phone or camera off to someone else, only to be severely disappointed by the photo when you take a look at it a few minutes later.

So today we’re chatting specifically about how to have a friend/significant other/family member take great photos of you. This doesn’t work as well for strangers because it is going to take some time! Ideally the same person (or couple of people) will be behind the camera for this method to really work. Okay okay, here’s how to get pro-level photos from someone who is NOT a pro.

Shirt: Fiercely (available here) | Jeans: Target | Sunnies, boots and belt are all old

Be Nice

The most important piece of advice I can give you is that you need to be kind to the person taking your photos. They have no obligation to help you. If you’re rude and impatient (and I know how easy it can be to get that way when things aren’t going smoothly) it’s not going to do anything but cause an argument. If you don’t take anything else from this post, just be nice to whoever’s taking your photos. Even if the photo suck. They’re going to suck sometimes. That’s just part of it.

Have a Shot List

I think the thing that really helped my husband understand what I needed from blog photos was having a shot list. It doesn’t even have to be anything written down, but just be able to explain to them what you’re looking for. Here’s what I always ask my husband to do:

  • A few really wide shots where you can see a large portion of the background
  • Step in a little bit closer to where my body takes up most of the frame but not the whole thing and take some full body shots.
  • Step a tiny bit closer and do some half body shots
  • Come a few steps closer to get some head shots
  • Details come last (shoes, jewelry, purses, anything else that you might want to showcase)

Whoever is taking your blog photos is not a mind reader, and they might not even be a blogger, so just giving them a little bit of direction of what you need photos taken up or make a world of difference.

Good Lighting is Your Friend

Another must for me is to always make sure I have great lighting! I can’t tell you how many times I was disappointed in my photos previously and it’s because I was trying to take them mid-day. Yes, you can get good photos at that time, but it’s really hard! So if you’re trying to make things easy on yourself, which you should be, use the golden hour! The hour before sunset you’re going to get beautiful, flattering, forgiving light. It’s great for front lit and backlit photos. Mornings also work well, and give you a nice soft light, I just never shoot in the morning because I’m pretty much not awake before 10 AM. Just being honest.

Learn Manual and Then do the Settings for Your Own Photos

My husband is at a point now to where he can adjust the settings pretty well himself, but previously I would do a test shot with him in the frame to get the settings ready. Manual is not as hard as you think, and with a just a few practice shoots you’ll have the hang of it. Just be patient with yourself, and recognize that you won’t be able to figure it out overnight.

Take Test Shots to Determine the Best Background

Honestly, I’m not great at scoping out backgrounds for myself. It’s definitely a weakness of mine. So it’s important for me to have my husband standing for some photos first so that I can actually take photos with that background and make sure I like how it looks. It also helps give him a guide for what I do and don’t want in the shot. For example, the other day we were at a nature preserve and there was a big metal box on the side. He actually liked it, and put it in the first few shots but then I just let him know that it wasn’t the look I was going for. (Don’t forget to be nice!)

Elaborating a little bit more on the last point, if you’re not getting the shots you want, take some photos of that person and show them! If they’re not getting close enough to your face, show them exactly how close you want them. And I’m going to say it again, be nice!

Use Presets to Edit

I’m not going to go into detail, because I do it in this post, but presets can be your best friend! Lightroom costs about $10 a month, which is very small investment compared to paying a photographer. Presets can take your photos from “ok” to “WOW,” and will give you consistency across the board. However, you still want to try to make sure your photos are great straight out of the camera and then just enhance them with presets.

Be Patient

This is not an overnight process. If you’re not a photographer, and your significant other is not a photographer, you’re not going to have professional-level photos for quite a while. That’s just how it is. But that’s OK! What time, you will learn, and you’ll be so proud of the photos you do have! If you’re a blogger, you can always just practice but continue to pay a photographer for your blog photos until you’re ready.

Alright y’all, I think that’s gonna do it! Make sure you tag me in photos so I can see all your amazing shots!

xoxo
Valery