The Photography Setup


Photography and aesthetics is something deeply personal/subjective for everyone, and while I've never taken a photography class before, it makes me incredibly happy to receive positive feedback over the past few months regarding the blog photos. At the same time though, I'm kinda like 'QURL U NEED UR EYES FIXED' because I feel like I'm a bit undeserving, but what do I know, eh??

Anyways, I thought I'd share my own photography setup + some things/tips I've picked up over the course of blogging.

(Oh yeah, some people might find this post useless/common sense, [-coughcough- the photography mavens], so I don't mind if you jump ship on this post c: ) 
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The Materials


1. Posterboard/various magazine pages/background - Not everyone has ~beautiful~ mujis/white background you see in some bloggers' backgrounds (-coughcough- you know who y'all are). White posterboard/cardstock is ridiculously cheap, and bam, you've got yourself a classic white background to draw focus to the subject.

Sure, posterboards are fun, but when you want to experiment and add interest, feel free to use magazine/catalogs pages or print your own backgrounds onto cardstock!
(P.S.- My favourite magazines to use are the home style/improvement ones BECAUSE UGH, HOUSE INSPIRATION)

2. Tape - for those items inclined to roll off the table into the sunset, loop some tape on them to crush their rebellion.

3. Subject - Pretty obvious!

4. Decorations - When your background just doesn't cut it, add interest with decorations ranging from jewelry to ribbons. See anything else that's pretty + shiny? Add it on your background.

5. Terry cloth/microfibre cloth - YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE HOW DUSTY SOME CASES CAN GET. I feel like the packaging of the higher end products just seem to attract dust and fingerprints like nobody's business. Tissues don't always manage to clear that off, so the microfibre cloth is a savior.

6. Tripod - #SELFIESTATUS (that's all I use it for, tbh)
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The Basics 


Considering one's aesthetics in photography is probably the most important step in unifying all photos taken. There are so many styles, as each person's photography is as unique as themselves. This isn't one of those bullsht "u are ~*~UNIQUE~*~" moments. If you've been around various blogs, you'll recognize how different everyone's photographs are. 

I'm not going to lie, emulating another person's style is where we all start off, but along the way, we progressively change up the elements to create our own style. 

ENOUGH RAMBLING, HERE ARE MY TIPS:

Find Your Light
I sound like a broken record, but SERIOUSLY, natural light is an invaluable resource. If I can't convince you, let these unedited pictures do the talking.


Plus, having good lighting just makes it so much easier to edit photos after.

P.S. - This is my favourite window to photograph in my house.


Speaking of lighting, if you're using a DSLR, make sure you're on the right camera white balance for the effect you want. (I won't judge if you use 'auto'...)


Play With Arrangement, Shooting Angles and Backgrounds
Thinking of how you're going to arrange your subjects, in my opinion, is the hardest part of this process. ~ENVISION UR SUBJECTS~

Play around with the arrangement of the products and background in your head. If you're planning on adding large text in your photos, make sure you leave a bit of room in the arrangement to do so, otherwise you'll be struggling to make fonts visible on a busy background.


Sometimes, you'll feel like playing with subject arrangement just leads to nowhere. Rethink the situation with a new background. Or, call it a day and reshoot the next day with a new perspective.


Don't forget to mess with decorations!
Flowers = instant ~femininity~, and mess around with colours, textures and finishes of decorations to add ~interest~.  



Also, group similar or contrasting colours together!

Mmmm, different shooting angles.


Oh, and don't worry too much about being precise with the edges when shooting...(sounds weird), because you can easily crop out the ~unruly~ edges.


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The key to getting ~da money shot~, I think, is to think about the arrangement in relation to what you envision the final product to be. If you're adding text, make sure it's ~harmonious~ with the rest of the arrangement, because ain't nobody likes the blending options>stroke function....

(...stroke function is basically the white outline to make the text standout)(...it just looks tacky, but you can use it if you want, I guess??)

Don't ask why I keep photos of pizza on my computer.
Photography is about experimenting and finding your own aesthetic, but it should also be fun. Don't be discouraged if you don't get a decent shot in one day, or if your photos aren't as great as mine's somebody else's. Spend more time experimenting with setup and editing, and you'll be churning out your own glossy photos in no time! ʘ‿ʘ

Any photography setup tips you swear by?
(Sorry if this was a useless post, I didn't feel like putting up a review today...to be honest, all I really wanted to put up was a bunch of photographs, but that would have been seriously lazy...so photography setup post it was!)

58 comments

  1. Vanessa, this is amazing! I will definitely be applying your tips! White poster board = genius, why did I never think of that?

    www.natalielovesbeauty.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou!! :D
      Yeah, I used to use just white cardstock, but POSTERBOARD IS A LIFESAVER

      Delete
  2. This... This is art. OMG. Those pictures of the lip balms (and everything else) just wows my mind. I'm so nerdy omg. ;o; but yeah, lighting is #1!~ I remember my old old blog posts back in the daaay and I cry inside. Not that my pics these days are any better but y'know~~~ it used to be so bad and yellowy and dark. Dark times.
    Fab post as always!! (I keep random food pics on my laptop too LOL)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (NOT EVEN ART, MAN. GET UR EYES FIXED ._.)
      But yeah, those LIP BALMS ARE SO MODELESQUE IT'S RIDICULOUS @_@
      Yeah, when I look back to my old...super old posts I cringe at the photography and writing. Dark days, yo *-*
      Thankyou! c:

      Delete
  3. Thank you so much for the tips!
    Your photography is always so amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, thank you! c:
      (and it's not always amazing, heh)

      Delete
  4. As soon as I saw this post pop up on my bloglovin dash, I was all like "Drop everything, and get your a** right there, NOW" I've been looking for some great easy to do, easy to implement tips on taking better photographs, and you nailed it! Love the ribbon idea you had with the recent blush post, and those Chevron backgrounds are errrmyygoshh beautiful! Thanks for the tip - I'm going to have to pick up some nice papers to use as background :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. D'AWWW, TOO NICE OF YOU TO SAY THAT *-*
      Yes!! Pick up some nice papers/magazines to use as backgrounds!! They make it feel so ~luxe~ from the regular white backgrounds c:
      (TBH, I DIDN'T EXPECT THE RIBBON IN THE PHOTO TO COME OUT AS NICE AS IT DID. SO DARN SMOOTH)

      Delete
  5. UH...YOU ARE AMAZING? I still don't know why I haven't picked up a white cardboard yet considering I could just use that to cover up my messy desk instead of sweeping everything to the side and then sweeping it back again. I always forget about the shiny decorations. Why do I always forget about the shiny decorations? Can you just fly over and take my blog photos for me?

    Daphne | subgenre of a dream | bloglovin | youtube

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU FOR NOTICING THAT I AM AMAZING. (loljks)
      White posterboard/cardboard is a life saver. Dump it on a surface anywhere and it immediately looks so ~profesh~
      (I only put shiny decorations because I'm like 'OOOUUU DAT BLING BLING'. I have a low attention span, I know)

      Delete
  6. I've been meaning to get some blog photos taken since getting my new camera, some of these tips, specially the background has given me so much help/inspiration so thank you! I loved this post!?

    -Sarah xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huzzah!! (Thank goodness it has helped someone since I thought this entire post was obvious, heh)
      Thankyou! c:

      Delete
  7. Thanks for the tips Vanessa, I can't get over how professional your photos look omg*-* I'll definitely be using your advice, my photos are pretty boring haha, I want to try the fancy backgrounds! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou! c:
      Snazzy backgrounds do make everything better!

      Delete
  8. I defo need to use some of these tips! I'm always just too lazy to set up a proper background for my pics, and your pictures are always SO perfect!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, setting up the background is so time consuming, but having them show up so gorgeously in photos is a reward in itself! :)

      Delete
  9. I love your blog
    followed
    http://minimaysi.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post!! I really need to be more creative with my pictures. They are so ehh. Now I want some pizza.. ._.

    ahintofbeauty.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!
      UGH, SAME. CAN I JUST HAVE PIZZA 24/7.

      Delete
  11. this is a great post for inspiration. i usually have relaly boring photos w/ just plain white backgrounds. never thought to use magazine pages!
    brilliant.
    Jenn
    A Beautiful Zen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to make it more expansive but I was quickly editing it at 11:59pm (midnight release) BUT YEAH, MAGAZINE/BOOK PAGES ARE THE BOMB DIGGITY.

      Delete
  12. I love this post because it's an excuse to drool at your photography :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your posts because its an excuse to drool at your photography ;)

      Delete
  13. These are awesome tips V! I totally swear by natural light and tons of reflectors of foil boards for fill. Wrapping paper also makes for great backgrounds.
    And here I thought I was the only one with pics of pizza on my computer ;p

    Rowena @ rolala loves

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WHOAH WHOAH FOIL BOARDS IS ACTUALLY A REALLY GOOD IDEA????!!! I didn't even think to use those!! Saw a beautiful gold chevon wrapping paper the other day and thought currently beating myself up over not picking it up because it wouldve been a beautiful background *-*

      (Maybe we all secretly have pizza pics on our computers???)

      Delete
  14. this was really helpful!c:
    ugh I still have to find the right natural lighting around my house..darn you windows

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks!
      I find usually the windows near the house entrance are the best!

      Delete
  15. these tips are goood, i will start using the micro fiber tip :) really id ont know how you could work with ribbons so well. my camera seems to capture their imperfections, esp with fabrics thats why i cant get to take pics of my clothes haul properly. that baby lips is like an ad from united colors of benetton only they dont sell cosmetics at all :D oh and i wish i can use natural light the way you do, i rely mostly on the army of lamps in my room :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YEAH I DIDNT EXPECT RIBBONS TO BE SO PHOTOGENIC EITHER ._.
      LOL yeah it does!! Maybe Benetton should hire me to shoot for them ;))
      Lamps are fine too though! (Unless they have a harsh yellow cast?)

      Delete
  16. any tips for us bloggers that live in a basement apartment with basically no windows??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. UHHHHHH ;-;
      Studio lighting? I dunno, depending on your own lightbulbs and how yellow the light is, you could get away with it, I think. DSLRs have a 'fluorescent' light function/'auto' function and it seems to work fine.
      BUT yeah, indoor lighting seems to work fine though.
      (I'M NOT A PHOTOGRAPHY PROFESSIONAL OK ;-;)

      Delete
  17. omg vanessa you are amazing!
    you make me feel bad about some of my photos!!! (* ≧ ω ≦)ノ
    I really love your photos though! honest!!!
    yah! vanessa! this wasn't a useless post at all! (≧‿≦)
    you put a lot of effort to make the photos really pretty and the background is just ♥♥♥
    xxxo Charmaine

    Charrmyn [Click!~]
    OOTD! French Cafe [Click!]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES. OH YES I AM AMAZING. (loljks :D)
      Nah, Charmaine, you have some lovely photos of your own!! <3

      Delete
  18. Just stumbled across your blog and had to comment because this was an amazing post. Way more creative, advanced, and honest about the shooting process than many guides out there! Also, when I see makeup reviews with dust on the makeup case (or loose eyeshadow powder everywhere), my blood pressure rises and I am sad. Haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (This is one of those rare moments where I'm like "WHERE DID YOU FIND MY BLOG???!!!!?!??!!?!?" but thanks for taking the time to comment!)
      UGH, SAME!!! Sometimes I get a little overboard and use the brushes that come with blushes to clean off loose powder/dust precisely ._. (better use for them than applying blush, haha)

      Delete
  19. This was such a helpful post, thank you!! :D

    BeyondBlush

    ReplyDelete
  20. Definitely a helpfull post! Thank you! :)

    http://nelliescloset.blogspot.dk/

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you so much for the tips :)

    http://www.juliechagas.com/

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  22. Incredible tips! Thanks for sharing. Very helpful.

    Ray | Obey Ray

    ReplyDelete
  23. So happy that I just randomly came across your blog. Your content is just brilliant, and your photography... wow. I love your photos, these are great tips and I've decided to play around with a few different product backdrops now and decorations like satin ribbon, material etc. Thank you for doing such a wonderful post! x

    ReplyDelete
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    1. (AGAIN, WHERE DO PEOPLE FIND MY BLOG??)(Don't mind me, haha)
      Afhgjhhj, thank you so much!! Decorations do add a bit of interest to the entire arrangement! c:

      Delete
  24. Totally love this post! (sorry for late reply, have been busy with pesky thing called school) This has given me a lot of tips on working on my blog! You've got such a wonderful eye on things and every single one of these tips will help me with ze future blog posts! Thanks for doing this one love :)
    <3 Pauline, ­­Addicted to Makeup

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I was wondering where you dropped off to ;))
      Ahhh! I'd love to see future blog photos now!
      NO PROBLEMO, SWEETHEART. :D

      Delete
  25. This is an amazing post!! We loved all the tips and definitely agree with you about finding the right lighting. It's definitely the key to a great photo!! We'll have to apply some of these tips and hopefully our photos will turn out looking as professional as yours!!

    www.mkstyleramblings.blogspot.com.au

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou! YEAH, I always sound like a broken record when I say that lighting is the key, and yet I see too many blogs with bad lighting and it breaks my heart ;-;

      NAH, YOU GUYS ALREADY HAVE GORGEOUS PHOTOS c:

      Delete
  26. Thanx for the tips! I often find myself dealing with the shadow of my camera when I do a top down shot. I wonder how others do it!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. SAME. I've yet to try experimenting with foil to redirect light into the shadow-y areas! I know my photos could potentially benefit from that method

      Delete
  27. Love this post! I recently got a DSLR camera for Christmas and the struggle is real.... but with practice and by following great tips like yours, I hope to get better with photography. :) Thanks for this post!

    xo Brianna | Glazed Over

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The struggle is definitely real. Even I'm still learning how to use the DSLR! :(
      There's so many great tips and inspiration out there for using cameras!

      Delete
  28. Awwww this is a lovely post! Definitely learned a lot from you!
    Thank you so much <3 I've been thinking of getting a posterboard and a few pretty papers for background as well! kekeke. I love all the tips here~ Definitely gonna watch your blog for more tips :p

    Bella / http://everythingaboutbella.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
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    1. (I feel like people say that out of obligation,...but) THANKYOU! :D
      A white posterboard is actually so handy! Use them, toss 'em (or repurpose them), but they are amazing to use in photos!

      Delete
  29. I LOVE this! You've just answered every question I've ever had about how people get such beautiful pictures on their blogs, even such a simple thing as a white poster board never occured to me and I can't believe that?! Thanks for such an amazing post! xx

    Jade | skinsweet

    ReplyDelete
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    1. A WHITE POSTERBOARD IS STAPLE THOUGH. So inexpensive, and every bblogger needs one! :3
      (Thankyou!)

      Delete
  30. VANESSA U R A WONDERFUL HUMAN AND I LOVE U
    I completely missed this back in January! must have been the stress of those deadlines and blogging erryday! but this is actually golddust, and I've bookmarked it chrome and added it to ma stash in Opera (sometimes I like different browsers ok XD)
    your photos are always amaaaazing! I'm getting more used to shooting in AV rather than Auto, but its a work in progress! thankyou again so so so much!
    Iqra |The Blushing Giraffe
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
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    1. YES, I AM A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING. LIKE EVERYONE ELSE :D
      (But ILU too!)
      Oh geez, this post seems like ages ago, but hooray for it being helpful to you! (I'VE MADE THE BOOKMARKS, EH? ;))
      Oh, I don't shoot in AV, since I can just do that in M, but yeah, look at us getting pumped about photography! :D

      Delete