Saturday, February 5

Quantum entangled outfit blogging

As you guys know all my outfit photos are self-portraits. Every once in a while I'll call on my husband or my Dad to assist with an awkward angle or a shoot in a crowded area but usually it is just me and my tripod (private pile). Having hundreds of self-portraits under my belt I figured I'd give you my two cents on the technicalities of being an outfit blogger at once behind and in front of the camera



Whatever camera you use, in my book there are two pieces of essential kit you absolutely require:

Skylight, UV or any old filter at all
It 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 tripod
This 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?)


Post production
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)

73 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post! Always interesting to learn how other photographers go about taking and editing their pictures!
    I swear by my trusty gorillapod (not that I take self-pics much these days anyway, but for those times when I do).

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are such great tips, thanks!!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are a fantastic sourcer of information my dear friend.
    I am still withour photoshop, but I will treasure your tutorail for when I get it.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    ReplyDelete
  4. THANK YOU SO MUCH...you are giving me the confidence to try some of this...now I just need the time!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is such a great, informative post. You look lovely, too!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Stef, this is unbelievably helpful. Not that I'm going to do it all, but this is truly a how-to of many things I've never seen before, or heard of before. My own tripod is probably too light, but the traveller in me simply can't have a heavier one (anyway, the camera's not worth much) ; )

    I can honestly say I'd never thought of checking people's connection speeds, though I'm trying (badly) to cut down on the number of pictures these days anyway.

    I do actually have a question, though it may not have a solution for my camera/lack of remote. Do you know how people get themself in focus and the background blurry when not standing in the centre of the picture and using the self-timer? Sorry if that sounds like a journeyman question...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fantastic post! These are such good tips, I will try thinking about some of them next time i take a picture, especially now everyones saying they prefer outdoor ones. Though i'm never gonna get to your level of professionalism i don't think! Mainly my approach is to stand in the centre of the frame, or slightly to the right, make sure the levels are set up so that details on me are visible and hope for the best!

    ReplyDelete
  8. wow, great post. I'd assumed your husband took all your photos!
    one suggestion for posing, which sounds silly but works: clench your butt muscles before taking the picture. for whatever reason, it makes it possible to project any emotion on your face, especially a genuine smile (perhaps it feel so awkward your body will try anything?)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Solid advice. Going to pay more attention to "charting my eyes across the image". and I know that there have been outfits I've had to reshoot on another day because of some little detail I failed to consider the first time around. I'm getting pickier the longer I blog.

    ReplyDelete
  10. what great help!
    i totally need a better tripod. mine is soo flimsy and i worry about my camera falling and dying every time i use it...

    thanks!
    x

    ReplyDelete
  11. wow! never knew that filters were so important. i think one came with my camera but i have no idea how to use it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I actually need to book mark this post of yours and read it from time to time. I do so many things wrong......for example should I not be taking photos in front of snow because it is out of focus but it is a bright light sheet of stuff that's directly behind me.....is it distracting? Especially when I wear bright outfits and try to create a contrast?

    Plus my tripod and camera both are very flimsy.....a little point and shoot and a fold-able lightweight tripod. I wonder if this lens thing only applies to big cameras or not....like DSLRs or not?

    Regardless I might have to bug you with more questions later on. Thank you Stef, maybe because it's you saying this things maybe because you focus on the artistic/ compositional part of the photoshoot more but of the countless photography related posts I have read in the last one year. This appealed to me most.

    Love

    Tashrin - A Toronto based personal style blog

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh and that grey and pink dress is divine, I have admired it for months on Mod Cloth. Unfortunately the colour was too pale for my brown skin, but you look stunning in it. Would you keep a request and style it with lace ivory tights and pearls and maybe a fascinator one time? I just really wanna see how it looks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. These are all WONDERFUL tips. Thank you so much for sharing! And I adore your photomontages - they always make me smile. For my blog photos I always find that if I'm extremely tired, asking my husband for help is the best idea instead of getting frustrated trying to get all the shots on my own. Kudos to you for all your amazing self portraits :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great post, really helpful tips! I've been looking into getting a dSLR, so this will be a great reference :D

    ReplyDelete
  16. These tips are great. I am so intimidated by my camera and don't even talk to me about editing. Yikes. This makes it less scary.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You should be working for some high fashion magazine doing this sort of stuff. You're really inspirational and incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  18. These are some wonderful tips. Thanks so much for sharing them. I confess that I'm sometimes in a rush when taking my outfit photos even when I'm alone. I guess maybe it's a mood thing. And it's always a downer when you think a photo looks good in your review screen, but looks awful on the computer. By that time I'm almost always too lazy to re-do it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. ~ * ♥ * ~

    Fantastic post Stef ~ it's great to read such a clear, concise guide. Most of the time I don't consciously think about any of this stuff, although I do do the mental "Now, shoulders back, remember to look at the camera...etc" dialog!

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

    ReplyDelete
  20. ~ * ♥ * ~

    Fantastic post Stef ~ it's great to read such a clear, concise guide. Most of the time I don't consciously think about any of this stuff, although I do do the mental "Now, shoulders back, remember to look at the camera...etc" dialog!

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

    ReplyDelete
  21. These are some wonderful tips. Thanks so much for sharing them. I confess that I'm sometimes in a rush when taking my outfit photos even when I'm alone. I guess maybe it's a mood thing. And it's always a downer when you think a photo looks good in your review screen, but looks awful on the computer. By that time I'm almost always too lazy to re-do it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  22. You should be working for some high fashion magazine doing this sort of stuff. You're really inspirational and incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  23. These tips are great. I am so intimidated by my camera and don't even talk to me about editing. Yikes. This makes it less scary.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Great post, really helpful tips! I've been looking into getting a dSLR, so this will be a great reference :D

    ReplyDelete
  25. These are all WONDERFUL tips. Thank you so much for sharing! And I adore your photomontages - they always make me smile. For my blog photos I always find that if I'm extremely tired, asking my husband for help is the best idea instead of getting frustrated trying to get all the shots on my own. Kudos to you for all your amazing self portraits :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh and that grey and pink dress is divine, I have admired it for months on Mod Cloth. Unfortunately the colour was too pale for my brown skin, but you look stunning in it. Would you keep a request and style it with lace ivory tights and pearls and maybe a fascinator one time? I just really wanna see how it looks.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I actually need to book mark this post of yours and read it from time to time. I do so many things wrong......for example should I not be taking photos in front of snow because it is out of focus but it is a bright light sheet of stuff that's directly behind me.....is it distracting? Especially when I wear bright outfits and try to create a contrast?

    Plus my tripod and camera both are very flimsy.....a little point and shoot and a fold-able lightweight tripod. I wonder if this lens thing only applies to big cameras or not....like DSLRs or not?

    Regardless I might have to bug you with more questions later on. Thank you Stef, maybe because it's you saying this things maybe because you focus on the artistic/ compositional part of the photoshoot more but of the countless photography related posts I have read in the last one year. This appealed to me most.

    Love

    Tashrin - A Toronto based personal style blog

    ReplyDelete
  28. wow! never knew that filters were so important. i think one came with my camera but i have no idea how to use it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. what great help!
    i totally need a better tripod. mine is soo flimsy and i worry about my camera falling and dying every time i use it...

    thanks!
    x

    ReplyDelete
  30. Solid advice. Going to pay more attention to "charting my eyes across the image". and I know that there have been outfits I've had to reshoot on another day because of some little detail I failed to consider the first time around. I'm getting pickier the longer I blog.

    ReplyDelete
  31. wow, great post. I'd assumed your husband took all your photos!
    one suggestion for posing, which sounds silly but works: clench your butt muscles before taking the picture. for whatever reason, it makes it possible to project any emotion on your face, especially a genuine smile (perhaps it feel so awkward your body will try anything?)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Fantastic post! These are such good tips, I will try thinking about some of them next time i take a picture, especially now everyones saying they prefer outdoor ones. Though i'm never gonna get to your level of professionalism i don't think! Mainly my approach is to stand in the centre of the frame, or slightly to the right, make sure the levels are set up so that details on me are visible and hope for the best!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Stef, this is unbelievably helpful. Not that I'm going to do it all, but this is truly a how-to of many things I've never seen before, or heard of before. My own tripod is probably too light, but the traveller in me simply can't have a heavier one (anyway, the camera's not worth much) ; )

    I can honestly say I'd never thought of checking people's connection speeds, though I'm trying (badly) to cut down on the number of pictures these days anyway.

    I do actually have a question, though it may not have a solution for my camera/lack of remote. Do you know how people get themself in focus and the background blurry when not standing in the centre of the picture and using the self-timer? Sorry if that sounds like a journeyman question...

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is such a great, informative post. You look lovely, too!

    ReplyDelete
  35. THANK YOU SO MUCH...you are giving me the confidence to try some of this...now I just need the time!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. You are a fantastic sourcer of information my dear friend.
    I am still withour photoshop, but I will treasure your tutorail for when I get it.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    ReplyDelete
  37. These are such great tips, thanks!!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thanks for this post! Always interesting to learn how other photographers go about taking and editing their pictures!
    I swear by my trusty gorillapod (not that I take self-pics much these days anyway, but for those times when I do).

    ReplyDelete
  39. loveandpeaceFMarch 18, 2011

    wow, this was REALLY helpful! I try to be creative with my self portraits but I never even considered most of these things...I feel like this will actually improve my blog! THANKS! :D

    - www.itsanewkate.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. I was attracted by your cool quantum physics inspired title, wonderful cover photo and tips :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have one question:
    Did you take the pictures at the top yourself?

    ReplyDelete
  42. Yes, I am lucky enough to have a back-up tripod which held the digital camera I took both shots with. My heart was hammering in fear of a random gust of wind though, because my backup is one of those light weight tripods I am ranting about in my post :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. As someone who's been taking outfit photos of herself forever with no help, I love these tips! So many bloggers have partners to take their photos it can be a little disheartening!

    Now if only I could upgrade my camera....

    ReplyDelete
  44. great ideas. I usually don't do too many outfit posts because I don't have too many people prone to taking photos of what I wear, but buying a tripod is surely on my to do list now!

    alexandra @
    shoependant.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. sparrowandurchinMarch 18, 2011

    I love this post! I really need to take more care in my photos. But winter really gets down on image taking especially when the sun is never out. Anyways thanks for this post it's wonderfully written.

    Lauren
    Sparrow & Urchin

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wonderful post!! Very helpful!
    I am new to both blogging and DSLR photography. These tips help a bunch!

    Mel

    P.S- You look lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  47. ~ * ♥ * ~

    Fantastic post Stef ~ it's great to read such a clear, concise guide. Most of the time I don't consciously think about any of this stuff, although I do do the mental "Now, shoulders back, remember to look at the camera...etc" dialog!

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

    ReplyDelete
  48. Great post, really helpful tips! I've been looking into getting a dSLR, so this will be a great reference :D

    ReplyDelete
  49. These are all WONDERFUL tips. Thank you so much for sharing! And I adore your photomontages - they always make me smile. For my blog photos I always find that if I'm extremely tired, asking my husband for help is the best idea instead of getting frustrated trying to get all the shots on my own. Kudos to you for all your amazing self portraits :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. Oh and that grey and pink dress is divine, I have admired it for months on Mod Cloth. Unfortunately the colour was too pale for my brown skin, but you look stunning in it. Would you keep a request and style it with lace ivory tights and pearls and maybe a fascinator one time? I just really wanna see how it looks.

    ReplyDelete
  51. wow! never knew that filters were so important. i think one came with my camera but i have no idea how to use it.

    ReplyDelete
  52. what great help!
    i totally need a better tripod. mine is soo flimsy and i worry about my camera falling and dying every time i use it...

    thanks!
    x

    ReplyDelete
  53. Solid advice. Going to pay more attention to "charting my eyes across the image". and I know that there have been outfits I've had to reshoot on another day because of some little detail I failed to consider the first time around. I'm getting pickier the longer I blog.

    ReplyDelete
  54. wow, great post. I'd assumed your husband took all your photos!
    one suggestion for posing, which sounds silly but works: clench your butt muscles before taking the picture. for whatever reason, it makes it possible to project any emotion on your face, especially a genuine smile (perhaps it feel so awkward your body will try anything?)

    ReplyDelete
  55. Fantastic post! These are such good tips, I will try thinking about some of them next time i take a picture, especially now everyones saying they prefer outdoor ones. Though i'm never gonna get to your level of professionalism i don't think! Mainly my approach is to stand in the centre of the frame, or slightly to the right, make sure the levels are set up so that details on me are visible and hope for the best!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Stef, this is unbelievably helpful. Not that I'm going to do it all, but this is truly a how-to of many things I've never seen before, or heard of before. My own tripod is probably too light, but the traveller in me simply can't have a heavier one (anyway, the camera's not worth much) ; )

    I can honestly say I'd never thought of checking people's connection speeds, though I'm trying (badly) to cut down on the number of pictures these days anyway.

    I do actually have a question, though it may not have a solution for my camera/lack of remote. Do you know how people get themself in focus and the background blurry when not standing in the centre of the picture and using the self-timer? Sorry if that sounds like a journeyman question...

    ReplyDelete
  57. This is such a great, informative post. You look lovely, too!

    ReplyDelete
  58. THANK YOU SO MUCH...you are giving me the confidence to try some of this...now I just need the time!!

    ReplyDelete
  59. You are a fantastic sourcer of information my dear friend.
    I am still withour photoshop, but I will treasure your tutorail for when I get it.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thanks for this post! Always interesting to learn how other photographers go about taking and editing their pictures!
    I swear by my trusty gorillapod (not that I take self-pics much these days anyway, but for those times when I do).

    ReplyDelete
  61. loveandpeaceFAugust 24, 2011

    wow, this was REALLY helpful! I try to be creative with my self portraits but I never even considered most of these things...I feel like this will actually improve my blog! THANKS! :D

    - www.itsanewkate.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  62. I was attracted by your cool quantum physics inspired title, wonderful cover photo and tips :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. I have one question:
    Did you take the pictures at the top yourself?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Yes, I am lucky enough to have a back-up tripod which held the digital camera I took both shots with. My heart was hammering in fear of a random gust of wind though, because my backup is one of those light weight tripods I am ranting about in my post :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. As someone who's been taking outfit photos of herself forever with no help, I love these tips! So many bloggers have partners to take their photos it can be a little disheartening!

    Now if only I could upgrade my camera....

    ReplyDelete
  66. great ideas. I usually don't do too many outfit posts because I don't have too many people prone to taking photos of what I wear, but buying a tripod is surely on my to do list now!

    alexandra @
    shoependant.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  67. sparrowandurchinAugust 24, 2011

    I love this post! I really need to take more care in my photos. But winter really gets down on image taking especially when the sun is never out. Anyways thanks for this post it's wonderfully written.

    Lauren
    Sparrow & Urchin

    ReplyDelete
  68. Wonderful post!! Very helpful!
    I am new to both blogging and DSLR photography. These tips help a bunch!

    Mel

    P.S- You look lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  69. These are such great tips, thanks!!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

    ReplyDelete
  70. These are some wonderful tips. Thanks so much for sharing them. I confess that I'm sometimes in a rush when taking my outfit photos even when I'm alone. I guess maybe it's a mood thing. And it's always a downer when you think a photo looks good in your review screen, but looks awful on the computer. By that time I'm almost always too lazy to re-do it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  71. You should be working for some high fashion magazine doing this sort of stuff. You're really inspirational and incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  72. These tips are great. I am so intimidated by my camera and don't even talk to me about editing. Yikes. This makes it less scary.

    ReplyDelete
  73. I actually need to book mark this post of yours and read it from time to time. I do so many things wrong......for example should I not be taking photos in front of snow because it is out of focus but it is a bright light sheet of stuff that's directly behind me.....is it distracting? Especially when I wear bright outfits and try to create a contrast?

    Plus my tripod and camera both are very flimsy.....a little point and shoot and a fold-able lightweight tripod. I wonder if this lens thing only applies to big cameras or not....like DSLRs or not?

    Regardless I might have to bug you with more questions later on. Thank you Stef, maybe because it's you saying this things maybe because you focus on the artistic/ compositional part of the photoshoot more but of the countless photography related posts I have read in the last one year. This appealed to me most.

    Love

    Tashrin - A Toronto based personal style blog

    ReplyDelete