You don’t need an Instagram husband or a professional photographer to have awesome photo content on your blog… just a basic camera setup, patience, and a willingness to learn as you go.
This post has been a long time in the making… you guys have been asking and I’m finally going to spill all the deets on how I do it! Disclaimer: I’m not a professional photographer by any means. This is what I’ve taught myself and what works for me. For this tutorial I’m going to assume that you own a DSLR and know how to use it (if you’re still using Auto mode, switch to Aperture mode… that’s a good way to get some blurred backgrounds without feeling intimidated).
Equipment I use
I’m not going to get into too much detail here because this could take up a blog post all on it’s own 😉
You’ll need a camera, tripod, remote control, chalk, and a second tripod (I’ll call this “Tripod2” for the sake of this tutorial) to stand in as you. I use a spare tripod from my cheap studio lighting kit because A) I already had it B) the height is adjustable so I can make it the same height as myself. Any cheap adjustable tripod will do.
Optional: a backup battery.
Always keep your eye out for good spots for your blog photos! Keep in mind that you want to go somewhere without much foot traffic, but not so deserted that you feel unsafe… safety first and all that jazz. In a major city this can be tricky, but some of my favorite locations are schools & business parks (on the weekend), parking lots, parking garages, parks, and quiet neighborhoods. You’ll probably have a much easier time if you live in the suburbs or a more rural area where there aren’t people everywhere 24/7.
Once you’ve scouted a good location it’s time to set up your camera. Put your camera on the tripod and place Tripod2 where you want to stand. Now look through the viewfinder of your camera… do you like the composition? If not, keep adjusting until you like the way it looks.
If you adjusted Tripod2 to be the same height as you, think of it’s base as your feet and the top as your head… if you can see the whole thing then your whole outfit will be in the photo.
Now with your camera in autofocus mode, focus on Tripod2 & take a test photo. I use the focus dots in the viewfinder because I feel like the focus is more accurate using the red box on the LCD screen.
Check your test photo by zooming in on Tripod2 to make sure it looks crisp & in focus. All good? Now go back to photo mode & while you are still focused on Tripod2, switch the tab on your camera lens from autofocus to manual. Now you have your focus locked in!
Next, set your camera to remote shutter release (mine has an option between instant & 2 second delay, I always use 2 second delay)
Walk back to Tripod 2 and mark your spot (I like to make a little chalk mark but you can also use a rock, twig, etc. as long as you’ll be able to see it). Then move Tripod2 out of the frame.
Walk back to your chalk mark, press your remote, and say cheese! With the 2 second delay you’ll have just enough time to hide the remote and hit your pose.
Take a few photos before walking back to the camera to double check that you’re in focus (if you aren’t, redo steps 1-3). Keep going until you get some shots you love, then repeat in different areas if you’re changing up the composition of your photos.
- You are in complete control. You set the schedule (shoot a look & post to your blog same day if you need to). Keep shooting until you’re happy with the results.
- No need to worry about making awkward faces, the only person who has to see these is you 😉
- Much more affordable than paying for professional photography.
- You’ll constantly improve your photography skills!
- Being the photographer and the model at the same time takes time. I know bloggers who work with photographers can do an outfit in 20-30 minutes but it usually takes me about 40-50 per look.
- If you are shooting alone, you need to take extra precautions to choose a safe location (for yourself and also regarding camera theft).
- Some angles/shots just won’t be possible (walking across the road street style photos I’m looking at you!).
- Start by shooting against a wall, it’s the least intimidating way to begin. Once you feel comfortable you can experiment with different locations, composition, and action shots.
- The higher your aperture (f-stop) the better chance you’ll be in focus.
That’s it… Let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve taken your own blog photos before!