Photography has never been a strength of mine and it’s an element of blogging I’ve always struggled with. The written word is undoubtedly my strongest weapon, whereas transforming that into a visual representation has always been problematic; it’s something I’ve actively had to try hard to perfect over the years, to the point where I continue to push myself and evolve my skills so that a three month old image can make me cringe with embarrassment. Although having a good eye can mean the difference between an ok image and an amazing one, there are little things you can do to create a bright and aspirational photograph every time – and it doesn’t involve waiting for the sun to rise to the perfect position. Natural light is undoubtedly the best way to brighten a pic, but with the winter months fast approaching it becomes increasingly tricky if you’re working full time and don’t have a full weekend to prep. Over the years I’ve perfected the tricks you can use to ensure your images remain bright and fresh, even when there’s no natural light to be seen – so why not give some of them a go and see if they can make a difference (especially now the clocks have gone back!)
The one thing that brings a photo together every time is the background on which all the elements are sitting. If you ensure this is light, bright or colourful it will flood the image with the corresponding hue and lift the overall look and feel. Whether you choose a worktop, table, magazine or opt for my personal favourite, marble sticky back plastic, make it on the white or pastel end of the spectrum – and ditch the dark. When shooting on auto, often the camera focuses on the background of the image to decide how bright to set the exposure; by keeping it light you’ll get a fresher and cleaner overall picture.
A cheeky way to change the overall look and feel of a picture is to introduce fun, quirky and light coloured accessories – like above. Keeping the overall palette of colour pastel brings together the image in a refreshing way, while ensuring it’s interesting; when it comes to editing, it’s also far easier to brighten an image with light accessories than those that are dark. I love things like jewellery trays, plates, quirky bronze shapes, candle holders, magazines, brushes and photo frames. Oliver Bonas is my absolute mecca when it comes to buying blog photography props, because they’re quirky, light and tend to offer a touch of texture too; some of my current favourites are below!
REFLECT THE LIGHT
Ever seen the professional photographers with those odd alien-looking silver circles on shoots? That’s the key to a bright and naturally lit image even when the sun isn’t doing what you want it to. A great light reflector can help to move the light you do have about, reflecting it towards your subject or helping to brighten an overall shot. They’re incredibly cheap (you can grab a fab one for less than a tenner) and incredibly effective, so it’s a wise investment if you’re struggling. It’s worth figuring out how you can stand it up though, as I’ve spent hours trying to manoevre myself into awkward positions – bluetack and a surface to lean on is imperative.
INVEST IN A SOFTBOX
One of the best things I’ve ever bought (from a blog point of view, lets not get carried away!) is a pair of softbox lights. These square and easily portable lights help to create a naturally lit image, without any glare; the ‘box’ like design helps to spread the light evenly too, so you don’t end up with any shadows or unsightly reflections. You can pick up this Softbox Studio Lighting Kit for less than £40.00 (it’s the one I’ve got and it’s the best forty quid I’ve ever spent,) and I promise they’ll revolutionise your images. Usually I can’t take an image past 3pm as soon as summer is over, but with these I can start snapping at 3am and nobody would ever know. They’re great for taking portrait shots too, as they enhance your features and wash out any imperfections.
EMBRACE THE EDITING
Photoshop may be a scary thought, but adding a touch of light into an image or brightening the overall tone can have the biggest impact if everything else fails; it can also help to add contrast and sharpen objects that may have been washed out by unnatural light. I personally love PicMonkey as a way to easily, effectively and quickly brighten my images without washing them out – just don’t get too involved with the process and find yourself with an over-exposed image that looks nothing like the original.
Do you have any other top tips for keeping your photos looking fresh in the winter?
PHOTO PROP INSPO
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