Whatever camera you use, in my book there are two pieces of essential kit you absolutely require:
Skylight, UV or any old filter at allIt doesn't actually matter whether you get one or the other because you're not getting this for some fancy-schmantzi effect. You need this to keep your camera safe.
Already got a filter screwed on each of your lenses? Fantastic. But if not: Don't make your lens go to work naked any longer! A filter won't cost the world but they are invaluable. Granted, if you throw your camera from a height not even a filter will keep it from smashing to pieces but it will dramatically increase your chances of retrieving an intact lens after a small tumble. Also, it'll cost you a pittance to swap the filter when you scratch it while your lens remains safe behind it.
A sturdy tripodThis is the one piece of kit you mustn't be stingy about. Don't get a lightweight. They're for the dogs when it comes to self portraiture. You want a heavy one. Plastic doesn't cut it when you leave your camera's side in a breeze. Make sure the head has a good safety catch that will grip your camera tight no matter which way the wind blows.
When you set up extend the thickest, sturdiest legs first, then the thinner ones if you need extra height. Only use the extending centre column of your tripod if you need to go higher yet. Your centre of gravity is going to be so high when you use this extension that your tripod is going to be much more prone to keel over. When you do use it hang something heavy from your tripod to be safe. Your handbag should do - those things usually weigh a ton ;)
There are lots of different tripods to choose from. Private Pile is a Manfrotto 190XPROB with an 804RC2 head. There are many like him, but this one is mine ;)
OK. You got your kit, here are some tips when it comes to image making:
Frame for the background. Unless I am taking a picture in front a solid block of colour I always choose my frame primarily for the landscape or cityscape.
Remember to check the corners of your frame for naughty chair legs and pick up that stray coke can unless you actually want it in shot. It 's a drag but it 's worth it getting rid of those eye sores.
As you peek through the viewfinder decide where you're going to fit within the frame and how you will pose. Sometimes I try to echo a shape in frame or balance a strong shape in the background by mirroring it/turning it on its head. (I know, I know, most the time I just do my signature "Lot's wife" ;))
This may sound silly but remember that you'll be obscuring part of the frame. When you're standing right in front of a street light it might end up looking like it is growing out of your head. Sometimes I forget I am not see through and accidentally stand in front of the most elaborate part of a mural. Doh!
Consider colours. You guys know how much fun I have blending into backgrounds or sometimes sticking out like a sore thumb instead. Give it a whirl: Think of your background as an extension of your outfit and see where it takes you :)
Chart your eyes path across the image. When entering a shop most people will look at the display on their right first. When viewing an image the first thing your eyes are drawn to is usually the lightest spot. So if you have a very bright out of focus area in the background be aware that we're all going to stare at that first and our eyes are going to keep on drifting away from your outfit and back to that spot. Ask yourself where your eyes are drawn to first and what path they take as your gaze moves through the image.
Review and reshoot. I usually end up sounding like a nut mumbling instructions to myself as I review the first few shots: "Move one step to the left" I instruct. "Stand up straight, don't pull such a sour face" I grumble. Reshoot. Review again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
And most importantly:
Don't rush :) Take your time and don't let the bemused passers by distract you. Or do, if you like a natter ;) I am a loner at heart so I have little advice on spectators other than this: No matter how flustered you feel at this attention, try and act confident about what you're doing. Don't be apologetic about being an outfit blogger. There is no shame in it. I know most of us feel otherwise sometimes but don't let such private woes affect how you present yourself. You're a blogger. Proud envoy of the interwebs. Just like lolcats. (See how I ruined a perfectly good power talk at the last minute there? You get my point though, right?)
It 's hard to get the frame just perfect when you're taking your own images. Don't be afraid to crop your photographs.
Can't tell if you got the right crop? Close your eyes and then look at the image afresh. Chart your eyes path across the image again (yeah. I know. Call me Ms Repetition). If you don't like where your eyes are drawn, try a different crop.
Full frame image on the left, final crop on the right: I cropped this image because the door frame on the far left kept drawing my eye (see the yellowish posters?). I also cropped a wafer-thin slice off the far right because I found a dark area at the bottom corner distracting. When looking at the image on the left my eyes kept pinging from left to right - the crop on the right feels a lot calmer to me.
Ensure each image you choose has something different to offer. A different angle, a change in distance, a variation in background. Repetition is the mother of all yawns. I know I break this rule sometimes :) but I really, really shouldn't.
Load time might also be worth a consideration when it comes to editing. Check out your blog statistics to see what speed your readership connect at. Will the majority load ten images in a flash or do they make a cup of tea (and drink it too) while they wait for just four of your pics to load? Use this data to decide on a maximum number of images to display in each of your posts (and how many posts to display per page).
Photo editing software is your friend. You can see details of the corrections I make to my final images prior to posting here.
Is there anything you swear by regarding your blog photographs?
Images used are outtakes from previous posts. (In Draft, After Lucybelle & Rubik's Cube)