How to shoot your own photos

How to shoot your own photos

One thing I hear time and time again from people wanting to create content is that it’s hard to find someone to photograph them. Maybe you don’t know where to look, simply don’t have the funds or are too embarrassed to go out in public and model. The good news is that if you have the right equipment you don’t really need someone to shoot you. Trust me, you are plenty capable of shooting your own photos. It just takes practice and patience.

Keep on reading for my tips on how to shoot your own photos.

What you need:

A camera with wifi or a phone with a remote. There are plenty of cameras that have wifi that connect to your phone. I use a Canon 6d mark ii and connect it with the camera connect app  on my phone. This is awesome because you can see the live image that your camera is seeing directly on your phone screen. This way you can pose however you think looks best or adjust the camera if needed. If you don’t have a professional camera don’t worry, you can also use your phone. There are remote controls that you can use that connect to your phone so you can choose when to snap a photo!

A good Tripod. It helps a lot to have a tripod. While you could just prop the camera or phone anywhere (stack of books ..etc), a tripod helps you be able to put the camera at the best angle (like if you want it high or at waist height. There’s plenty of options that aren’t too expensive and I honestly think it’s so worth it and helps take your pics to the next level. I love a Joby Gorillapod because it’s so versatile. I love how it wraps around things and you can bend it at weird angles. I also have this adjustable one that holds both the phone my DSLR. If you have a camera with wifi and don’t know how to connect it to it’s app, try googling ‘remote camera app’ with the camera model to see what it uses.

Backdrops. While backdrops are really not absolutely necessary, they can be really helpful if you want a clean looking space or want to try different colors. I love it when I am too lazy to clean the house for a photo. Full Disclosure: I normally just use a bed sheet and hang it over my rolling rack (I use clips to hold it in place), but if you want to get more professional and avoid the hassle of having to iron a sheet, try different colors like light pink, black or whatever you want. You can easily buy photo backdrop stands to hold up rolls of backdrop paper.

Get to know your Camera:

If you aren’t familiar with your camera yet or are buying something new to start shooting your own stuff, then you should 100% start learning the basics of shooting manual. It will make your photographs look soooooo much better. It can also help if you are having problems with the auto focus (when it just wont focus on what you are trying to focus on). This can be so frustrating and make you give up. I can not stress enough how awesome manual mode is once you get the hang of it. There’s a lot of information out there (Youtube/blog posts) on how to get what you need and how to use manual camera settings. If you don’t know what gear (lenses…etc) to get, check out post on What Camera Equipment I use.

A few Shooting tips:

Get low. Having the camera lower than you will make you look taller and more powerful. I tend to always shoot from a lower angle (plus Im 5’4″ so I need all the height I can get). However, keep in mind that if you get too low then your head will appear smaller.

Leave Cropping room. If you shoot with more space around you it will be easier to crop the pic to fit your IG photo ratio. It also helps because then you can just crop in during editing to however you want it. Shooting too tight can be limiting. If you are shooting with a natural backdrop (like nature or your home and not a paper backdrop) it’s always nice to leave cropping room as the background is great for storytelling as well! Positive and negative space is so important in photography. If you don’t know about that then do a quick google search.

Make sure you contrast. Think about what you want with the image. Do you want to blend in? Do you want your outfit to pop? Dress for the shot! If I’m shooting with a pink backdrop for instance I will probably pick a complementary color or something that will stand out from it like black. If you have a solid backdrop you can have fun with the patterns, but if there is a lot going on (like a busy house) then maybe keeping it solid and clean will help balance out the image.

Move around.  Since you are alone, don’t be scared to try super weird poses or angles. It helps you see what is working. Check the images frequently and see what you can adjust. Giving different angles and poses makes sure you are covering all your bases and you never really know how it will look unless you try. Just go for it and go crazy!

Know your vision. Knowing your vision and what you are actually going for can go a really long way. It is especially helpful if you have reference images that can serve as a starting point for inspiration. I often look on instagram at my saved inspo photos or Pinterest before shooting! Are you trying to be minimalist? Loud and colorful? High fashion? Silly? Extreme? What colors, poses, angles will help you achieve this vibe?

Find the right light. I always shoot where the light is best. This can make or break your selfie so choose your spot wisely! I talk more about lighting in this post about shooting photos indoors. In general if you are indoors, shooting by a window with natural light is always nice. For example, in this image of me above, I am directly facing a window. You can see how beautiful that light hits! If you are shooting outdoors, try shooting during golden hour when the light is the most diffused. If you are shooting outside in directly hash light, try tilting your head up towards the light and even sometimes leaning back so that light doesn’t create weird shadows.

Edit. This is my favorite part. Editing is everything! You may be a minimal editor or go a bit more crazy. I typically use Photoshop or Lightroom on my desktop with DSLR photos or Lightroom Mobile on my phone for iphone images. There are also so many apps that are amazing for iphone shots (check this post here) .

PRACTICE!!! Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get what you want the first few tries. It will take practice and patience, but it is so worth it! You will start to understand the light better, your poses, gain more confidence and learn so much. Practice as much as you can!

I hope this is helpful for you!! There’s so much information out there that it’s impossible to cover it with one blog post but I hope this is a good starting point. If you have questions please email or DM me on IG and I would love to see if I can help.

xx Francesca

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