A few weeks ago I ran a masterclass at a blogger event called BlogCon London. My masterclass was all about top tips for outfit shooting and as some people couldn't hear on the day or couldn't attend I decided to write it all up in a post. Not only do I have experience of shooting other bloggers as my part time job but I also obviously have to shoot my own outfits and try to translate what I want to my husband. I'm using lots of imagery to help illustrate what I'm talking about so thanks to Emma, Hannah and Erica for the images (all shot by me) So here we go with my top tips for great outfit photos.
I shoot all my photos on the Olympus PEN E-PL7. For outfits I always shoot using my 45mm lens as I like the background blur but I also own the 17mm and the 18-55mm kit lens. I wrote a post all about my Olympus Pen settings which you should definitely check out.
That being said you can shoot on any camera which you like. I used to shoot mine on a Nikon SLR and I know lots of bloggers who shoot on simple point and shoot cameras too. Plus the new iPhone 7+ has an incredible camera with a portrait mode so you can get background blur.
Location is so important when shooting pictures. I like to choose a location that fits with my outfit so for example if I'm shooting an office look I wouldn't head to the beach. It also looks great if the colours of the outfit either tie into the background or completely contrast. For example for the first outfit above we chose quite an autumnal location to go with the Autumn outfit. For Emma's all black look this pale background makes the outfit really stand out. Lastly for Hannah's outfit we chose a red phone box to tie in with her red bag. Love the pop of a similar colour.
If you are using a fixed lens like a 50mm or the Pen 45mm and you're getting that lovely blur effect then you can really play with "Depth of Field"
Using a location like the one above with Emma and such a long corridor behind creates such an amazing blurred backdrop. Try the centre of the road for incredible disappearing perspective or a long wall.
If you don't have a swanky lens and you are using a point and shoot or basic kit lens then stick with posing for outfits in front of a flat wall. This will hide the fact you have no depth of field. We all love a good coloured wall and you can find these all over the place. Pick a colour again that either ties in with your outfit or creates an amazing contrast. I love how bright the yellow wall is against my black outfit, or how pretty pink looks with a pink outfit. Hunt around and find yourself a great wall, white is also always a good choice.
WEATHER & time of day
Weather wise the best days for shooting are dry, bright and not very windy days. Wind is the enemy of every blogger and although a small breeze will add some lovely movement to your outfit photos, a gusty gale will make shooting a nightmare so best to be avoided! Ideally you want some cloud cover to diffuse the sunshine. Direct sunlight is never a good option for outfit photos as it creates all sorts of unflattering shadows. Standing in the shade is the best option and it always looks lovely when you can see the sunshine in the background. Standing around the corner works great as in the above photo and can give a glimpse of the sunshine whilst still maintaining you in the shade. If you do want sunlight in the photo then the best time of the day is whats called the "Golden Hour" this is the last hour of light before sunset. The sun is low and warm and you can create amazing photos by standing with it behind you, as in the middle photo above. Your photographer may need to play around with height to get the sun flare exactly where you want it.
Streets like London are great for shooting in the daytime as the buildings are so tall that streets are often in the shade no matter what the time of day.
Props are most definitely your outfit photo friend. From a coffee to a bunch of flowers, not only do they give you something to hold onto and do with your hands, but they add such life and realism into your outfit photos. There are so many props that you can make use of; from flowers, to your phone, to a book, all of them make great outfit props so be sure to take some with you.
If you are really not sure what to do with your hands then a hand in the pocket or in the hair can also look great and give you something to do.
MOVEMENT & ACTIVTY
Movement is one of the hardest things to capture in photos but one of the best. Not only will it give your photos life, but it will stop your photos from being you just stood stationery. Walking is the most obvious movement. Emma is the queen of walking shots and they are considerably harder than they look. The key is to walk a little slower to allow your photographer to capture you. They will need to pan the camera along with you which usually involves a hilarious scuttle across the road. If you are walking try not to look down or concentrate too hard. Looking off past the camera will work great and keeping a relaxed look on your face will mean you won't come across as angry in photos. You can also do the trick of simply stepping backwards and forwards on the spot as your photographer snaps away, this will give the impression of walking if you capture you with one foot up or stepping off the curb.
Your outfit can also provide movement too. Try swishing your skirt or throwing your scarf across your shoulder. Movement photos don't always have to be perfectly sharp either, a little bit of blur is fine.
Activity is another great way to get movement into your snaps. Try looking in your handbag or using your phone, both of these will add a lovely bit of movement to your outfit post.
LEVELS AND ANGLES
Experiment with levels in your photos. Try sitting down on steps or sitting up on a fence or a wall or leaning, this will give a different dimension to your photos and some varying heights for your outfit post.
Also get your photographer to experiment with the angles of the photos. Some shots need to be taken from lower down like this shoes and bag shot so your photographer will have to crouch and get low, but equally some shots look great taken from above like this trainer shot. Try lots of variations.
ITS ALL IN THE DETAILS
I love detail shots. They are my favourite shots to take and put on my blog. Think about the details of your outfit to capture and that readers will want to see, like sleeve details, jewellery and handbags. Don't forget the back of things, like if a dress has a back detail or a cut out. Try quirky angles and slightly arty shots for details and they look great on instagram too.
There is a reason why you see lots of bloggers wearing sunglasses in photos. It means you can utilize all your good shots without having to worry if your eyes are open. So embrace the sunnies even if you're in the shade.
FIND INSPIRATION- DON'T COPY
If you are unsure of what shots you want to take then try creating a pinterest board or mood board of the kind of shots you love and use it to create your own shots on the day. Its important though to be original. Don't copy like for like other peoples photos but find your own style.
TAKE EXAMPLE PIC
If you are shooting with your boyfriend, friend or mum then try taking a photo of them to show them the kind of shot you want. I do this all the time with my husband and in fact have a whole folder of photos of him looking grumpy stood in the street. This is the easiest way to get the shot you want as they can see exactly what you want in frame and just copy it.
SEEK OUT LOCATIONS
I get asked a lot where the best locations in London are. Of course we are all familiar with the white streets of Kensington where you can't move without tripping over a blogger taking outfit photos, but why not try to find somewhere different. I think there are soooo many locations out there you just have to seek them out. If you are shooting against a flat background then look for unique buildings or doors and for wider shots try heading out of central areas where things will be quieter and you'll feel less self conscious taking photos.
When you first start shooting, try everything. Try walking shots, try sitting, try laughing, try twirling. Go home and look at the shots, which show the clothes off the best? Which do you love? This will help you find whats works for you. Don't feel like you have to do everything. Just because bloggers do walking shots, doesn't mean you have to. Find your own style.
If its not fun, you'll be able to tell in your photos. Try and enjoy it and be relaxed. I love outfit posts where the blogger looks relaxed and happy so keep going until you feel more at ease, it won't happen straight away but it will eventually.
Hope you've enjoyed my Top tips for great outfit photos post. I'd love to know if there are more areas you'd like me to cover? I also got asked about how I edit my photos, and how I edit my phone pics? So do let me know if you'd be interested in reading this?