Ahh photography. My old friend. How you challenge and frustrate me always. Photography is possibly the most difficult, but rewarding, part of blogging for me. I think a lot about how to improve my blog photos and I enjoy studying what the most successful beauty photographers are doing right. I thought a lot about what good photography boils down to. I went back in forth in my noggin many a time and finally decided that these are the five essential points.
The first thing that comes to mind for beautiful photography is lighting. Having enough light can make or break a photo. It allows you to see your product properly and adds a fresh, clean look to your photos. Getting enough light can be an issue. Daylight tends to have the nicest effect for photography. Setting up shop next to a window and using a reflector (which you can find for next to nothing on amazon or make yourself) is a good bet. If you still can't get enough natural light there are amazingly affordable lighting kits on amazon. You could also simply buy some daylight bulbs and go lamp crazy.
Additionally, it's worth making sure you really understand how to balance your f-stop, shutter speed and ISO to be getting the most out of your camera. I've got a run through of the basics here.
Something that instantly makes photos look more sophisticated is adding white space. Having a lot of space around whatever item(s) you're photographing gives it breathing space and allows you more options in your prop placement (which I'll touch on in a minute). Tamira Jarrel, for example, is a master of this. Check out her Instagram account and you can see just how beautifully she utilizes white space.
Adding texture to your photography is a wonderful way to add visual interest. It means that you're not relying just on colour to add a little something something to the mix. Textured backgrounds are a great place to start. Marble, wood planks and bedding are some good basics to work with. I often use those in my photography and find them to be quite foolproof. Adding texture with props – metal trays, flowers, fabrics – is also helpful. It's worth noting that sometimes no texture is the best way to go. A beautiful product shot on a plain white background can have a dramatic effect too.
Having a clear colour scheme is vair important and possibly one of the most challenging things to pull off. Sometimes I'll have a mascara tube in a blindingly ugly colour or a blush in hideously tacky packaging. That can throw off the photo. So either I have to remove it from the picture or find a way to display it while hiding its most ugly features.
I also like to think about if the background and props that I'm using actually compliment the products I'm displaying. Generally I like to decide what vibe I'm getting from the products and then build up the photo theme around that – monochromatic, pastel and airy or bright and colourful.
How you place your products or props can completely change the way a photo looks. You can create a rigid and organized structure that appeals to your inner OCD (like this image) or you can be more free flowing. It's also nice to create distinct shapes with your products, like a cascading effect for example. To shamelessly reference Tamira again, this photo perfectly displays how much of an effect you can create simply with the placement of products.