There was a time when I wasn't too fussed about photography... We have a shop after all! People could just see stuff in real life right?!
Wrong... In this digital age photography is just going to become more and more vital to stand out from the crowd and even reach the crowd! I can't tell you how many times in a week I have customers tell me they'd like 'the one from the photo on Instagram please'
In 2017 I sat scrolling Instagram drooling at the gorgeous well lit photos before me, beautifully executed, beautifully staged, baffled as to why my half arsed shots with my ageing iPhone didn't achieve the same results as I pointed and clicked at a dull shelf on a cloudy day?!
(Lets take a moment to truly appreciate the 2017 point and shoot shots...)
With absolutely no camera knowledge in January 2018 I bought a new one... how did I make my choice? Based on it being the one I saw a lot of bloggers and grammars using.. surely that'd do the trick!
Here's the thing... it's all very well buying a new camera. Understanding how to use that camera is a whole different kettle of fish!
Here' 5 things that have seriously helped me improve my photography.
I invested in a new camera. To be precise I invested in an Olympus Pen E-PL8 (because everyone seemed to have one! and I'm easily led!) It is, in my humble opinion rather sexy and extremely good! For the wifi straight to your phone alone it is worth every penny. Honestly this camera has made us more than it's worth in 12 months (I should be getting some sort of commission for this advert!)
Don't get me wrong iPhones are great! Especially the swish new ones, but I've found having a camera really help me with understanding depth, sharpness and photography over all. I saw almost an instant improvement with my photography despite never leaving auto!
2. GETTING OFF AUTO
Which brings us onto 'get the hell off auto'!
Auto's great right! I mean it figures it all out for you, smashing! But I tell you the satisfaction of getting off auto and exploring your camera properly is like nothing else! Suddenly you feel a whole lot prouder of what you've taken, you did that!
I met Jane from Love Your Lens who helped me with a one to one session to truly understand all that is F numbers and ISO, she was fab, she faffed with my camera and set it up right for me, advised me on some lenses and we styled some shots together. I have never looked back! Days later Tom and I headed to New York on holiday and I really have some beautiful photos all because if Jane!
There are lots of Youtube videos that can help too! It's well worth a search for a good blog to point you in the right direction.
Above is the shot I styled with Jane during our session.
It may sounds like common sense or completely irrelevant but I'm telling you switch those lights off and get rid get that orange glow and find yourself a light window, game changer!
4. FIND YOUR STYLE
This is so important!
To begin with you have no idea what you're doing, follow accounts you like, search Pinterest for photos that tick your boxes, you'll soon find a common theme. It's okay to love a shot, it's okay to take elements from that shot, ask that person if they mind you recreating that shot, but don't claim a shot as your own and rip that person off! They will have put a lot of work into what they've created, you wouldn't like it if someone copied you, so don't be an idiot...
Eventually you'll find something that works for you, your brand and those who follow you. We've worked really hard on our vase shots and 'potter shots' there's something so pleasing about a finished piece in the potters clay covered hands! (even if he does get annoyed with my instructions 'no... hold it naturally!')
Sounds rubbish right? Surely it's just point and shoot, job done?! I thought so too!
But time is how you'll improve. Take time to plan a photo, collect your props if you need any, make sure you have the right light. Take the time to set up a tripod it makes the world of difference! Have the time to take the photo over and over, move things, change your settings.
My camera is full of photos generally of the same thing hundreds of times! All slightly different with tiny adjustments. It sounds obsessive and bonkers but you really will see the difference, for fear of sounding like an art teacher... taking a great photo really does seem to be 90% observation and 10% actually taking the photo!
Above is my first ever proper attempt at food photography (I'm proud can you tell?) it was a good few hours of faffing... but worth it!
That's my top 5, the things that have really helped me improve over the last 12 months!
Step out of your comfort zone, push your boundaries, explore a whole new world!
I'll be sharing some other photography tips along the way so be sure to check back.