So, not only did I figure out how to take a good picture, but I figured out how to get a good picture of me taken. We got so used to taking each other’s pictures we discovered which angles worked best, what didn’t work at all, and we even found the perfect balance of background and outfit (sometimes your background can drown you out).
Anyway, if you’re a blogger living in NYC and you don’t take #ootd shots, what are you doing?! You’re passing up an amazing opportunity to create beautiful blog pictures with the perfect backdrop. Seriously, bloggers and photographers will travel super far to get that “street style” look and you have it in your own backyard.
Anyway, here I am 10 months later and this is what I learned…
Candid shots are the best
There’s a reason “street style” images are highly sought after in the blogging world because they’re candid and candid shots are the best shots. It may seem easy enough and you may be thinking ‘Ok… act natural!’, but the perfect candid shot is really hard to achieve.
My go-to pose and the pose I make my coworker do is a slow walk or pacing back and forth looking at something of in the distance. Picture Kendall Jenner walking in slow-mo at a super hot guy in the distance.
For iPhone photos especially if I’m getting my picture taken, I’ll rock back and forth on my feet as if I’m taking a step forward. I’ll switch positions and look left, right, open my mouth a little as if I was going to say something then forgot… there’s a whole art to getting the perfect picture!
Basically the more you practice the candid shot, as ironic as that sounds, the better you’ll become at capturing it.
Rule of thirds rules
The rule of thirds is a concept I learned in college. It’s when you frame your picture in a grid of 3 x 3. What this means is you put your subject in one of the 9 boxes for an outstanding shot. It’s just more aesthetically pleasing for the viewer and it keeps your picture in an organized flow. (See example below.)
You don’t just have to fit your subject in 1 of the 9 boxes, they could be taking up 3 boxes in a row or 3 boxes diagonally, as long as there’s a method to the madness.
I like to keep my pictures pretty centered with me as the focus so I’ll take up the middle 3 boxes of the frame. If there’s a beautiful landscape around me or if I’m next to an amazing building, I may take up 1 box in the corner to focus more on the building/landscape.
Positioning the camera for best results
I used to hold the camera above me for a flattering angle but that’s only flattering when it’s a selfie. If you’re taking a picture of someone/something you want to hold the camera at your body level because this will appear to be eye level when you’re viewing the photos.
If you hold the camera too high and you’re taking a picture of someone, that person will look bottom heavy. If you’re too low taking a photo, the person may have a double chin. Everyone’s “good side” is different and you just have to play around and find it.
From my experience, with taking #ootd photos every single day, chest/stomach height is a great position to hold the camera.
Lighting is everything
I never really thought too much about lighting until about 5 months into me taking pictures/having my picture taken. I thought all lighting is good lighting. Well, that is so not true!
Obviously, you want natural light in all situations – indoor, outdoor, sunrise, sunset. You want to avoid that super yellow-y or bright white fluorescent look. Yellow is just ugly lighting and fluorescent lights can blow out your pictures and make you ghostly.
I’ll go outside around 2pm and find a street that is naturally lit but shaded. Direct sunlight is too harsh unless it’s during sunrise or sunset aka the “golden hour”. I personally like the afternoon light in a shaded area. (It’s easy to find such places if you live in a city because of the buildings.)
Getting the blurred background
A blurred background is known as bokeh – it’s when your subject is in focus but everything else is out of focus/blurred. It gives you that nice sharp, street style look that every blogger wants.
Now the iPhone 7 allows you to do this with a special setting, but usually you need a DSLR with a 50mm or 85mm lens (let me know if you want to know more about cameras and lenses). Obviously the more expensive the camera and lens, the better the quality of photos you’ll have.
If you don’t have the money to invest in professional camera equipment (this can cost into the thousands), there are ways around it using photo editing tools. Photoshop and PicMonkey both have tools that allow you to blur the background, but it’s a tedious process and you still have to pay for it (note: Picmonkey is mainly free).
I recommend any Canon starter camera with a 50mm lens. You can get the blur and quality for ~$400. Because the 50mm is so affordable, there’s a bit of trial and error involved in getting the bokeh effect. You want your subject to be a far distance from the backdrop. So if there’s a line of cars behind you and you want them out of focus, make sure you’re at least 15-20 feet away from them.
Learning photography is an entire beast in itself, and I’ve just grazed the surface. If you’re blogging as a one-man show it’s important to learn the basics so you have some idea of what you’re doing. Pictures are what draw your audience in and will get you noticed by brands. But like everything, the more you take pictures/have your picture taken, the better your pictures will be.
What questions do you have about photography or cameras? I’m no expert but I’ll do my best to answer all questions in a follow-up post and give you a shoutout!