Alice’s 5 Photography Dos and Don’ts

Alice from The Polka Dot Palace joins us today for a guest blog post:

I’ve loved photography for years, so much so, it was the main part of my degree. However, taking photos of myself, and photos of my makes, opened up a whole new realm of photography, and one that took me a long time to get my head round. If you’re in a bit of a bind, here are my top 5 Dos and Don’ts for making it a little easier.

Do: Find the light

Whether photographing indoors or outside, try to find what direction the light is shining. Ideally you don’t want to stand directly in front of it – think how if you take a photo in front of a bright window you can hardly be seen. Try to have the light on you, rather than behind you. This will brighten up your photo and show off the details of your amazing make.

Don’t: Always assume bright sunshine will mean excellent photos

Although a gloriously sunny day can make for great photos, it can also create harsh shadows and give you no option but to squint! If you want to take photos outside, a slightly overcast day actually gives a really nice even light.

When taking this photo I basically couldn’t see anything, and luckily the sunglasses hide my squinting eyes. The bright sun has also created some strange shadows on my face.

Do: Go with it

If you’re having a day that you just feel amazeballs, bash out photos of a few different outfits. Some people do this routinely and batch create their content, so they have it there ready to use over the next couple of days or weeks.

Don’t: Force it

We all have times that we feel meh and forcing yourself to take pics on these days will not end well. Just embrace the roughness and plan your photos for another day.

Do: Heed the prophecy according to Tyra

On America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks would always advise contestants to assess their angles and work out if they have a ‘good side’. Once you have a go-to direction to look or angle to hold the camera, you’ll probably find you feel far more comfortable, and end up with photos you’re happier with. For me, it’s always looking to the left!

 

Don’t: Assume photos from above are more flattering

In her guest blog post, Nisan made a fantastic point about how effective it can be to put your phone upside down so the camera is as low as possible. Try out different angles and work out what’s best for you.

Do: Double check your background

Found a beautiful spot in the park to capture a great photo? Check there aren’t any rogue overflowing bins in the background or trees likely to poke out of your head. It’s also worth checking the background straight after taking your photos. It’s beyond frustrating to finish your shoot, get comfy at home and prepare to share a pic, then see there’s a lamppost growing out of your shoulder.

Don’t: Think a location has to be amazingly glamorous to create a great picture

A brick wall can be all you need. Nisan is another great example of this; most of her photos are taken in the same spot at home and it totally works.

Do: Work out what’s best for you

Some people love to plan a shoot with a friend or partner as their photographer. For others, having someone else behind the lens is akin to nails down a chalkboard. Work out how you’re most comfortable and go with that. I’ve always hated having others taking my photo, so I invested in a (pretty cheap) tripod and Bluetooth clicker and it’s been a game changer.

You can see the difference between these two photos. The one where I’m wearing denim is taken by my husband; it’s not a terrible photo, I just look a bit uncomfortable and my hand has turned into a claw. In the second, which I took myself, the framing is more to my taste and I am so much more relaxed:

 

Don’t: Be hard on yourself

Easier said than done but try to be kind to yourself and enjoy the process. We’re all here to cheer each other on and share this wonderful skill, so have fun and get creative with sharing your makes.

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