How I Take My Instagram Photos


Camera - Olympus Pen E-PL7

I absolutely love my Pen and it makes taking photos so much easier. The quality it produces is really impressive and all of the functions give me the freedom to capture different types of photos. I have two different lenses that I use and I switch between the two depending the type of photo I want. I use the Olympus 14 - 42mm lens for closer range shots or when I have a lot of products to include in the photo. With this lens I can alter the aperture from F3.5 all the way up to F22 when shooting at 14mm. This is such a good range as it means I can use a wider aperture (lower F number) to get photos with blurry backgrounds, or have one main product in focus with the other items blurred out to draw your attention to the item I want. Having a narrower aperture (higher F number) gives me the ability to get all items in the photo in focus even if they are different distances away from the camera. 

The other lens I have is the Olympus 40 - 150mm zoom lens which does produce higher quality photos, but I can only use this when I'm taking photos of products standing up, as even with it set at 40mm, you're not far enough away from the products to fit them all in. The aperture levels on this lens range from F4.0 to F22 at 40mm which gives pretty much the same range as the smaller lens. Given that I am 5ft 4 when being slightly generous perhaps (I blame it on the hair) I would have to place products on the floor to take photos with this lens.

For Instagram photos I have it set on Aperture Priority mode 95% of the time as this is the setting I change the most to take my photos. I will also alter the exposure compensation setting within the camera to cancel out dark areas, as this helps to product a higher quality photo within the camera rather than having to edit afterwards. 


Background

I have two main backgrounds that I use for my photos, both of which were pretty cheap and readily available to buy. The first one is a white IKEA KALLAX shelving unit that cost £20.00 that I bought a couple of years ago. I use the top of the unit to lay out all my products as it provides a professional backdrop for the photos. It is very easy to clean too and any dirt that gets on can be easily removed with a wipe. I also use this for products that are standing upright, and have a white veil over the window which the unit it in front of. This then gives me a white bottom and background to get a consistent shooting area. 

The other background I have started using recently is an IKEA LACK side table which was £8.00. I have taken the legs off and use it as a large board which can be moved to wherever I need it. I purchased a stick on marble surface from B&Q for £6.00, which I then put over the whole table top. This gave me a cheap and easy way to get a marble background without having to get heavy tiles. It is easy to store away but do be hesitant when buying the stick on stuff as it's almost impossible to stick on without getting air bubbles in.
My Tartelette In Bloom palette photo, post up soon!

Products

My theme for Instagram has been makeup for quite a while now with the occasional exception. As you may have seen before I kind of have an obsession with makeup, which means I love trying out new products. This gives me a range of items to use for photos and I tend to upload photos quite soon after buying products or being sent them as PR samples. This doesn't mean I only post photos of recent items, as I will sometimes include ones of my favourite lipsticks of the season. I take photos of things such as my current everyday items that I use or my monthly favourites. Some of the photos that I upload are purely taken to use for Instagram, and some are ones that I also use for blog posts. You may see some photos uploaded to Instagram a few weeks prior to seeing it on the blog, as I pride myself uploading at least one photo a day.

Layout

I have a few different ways of setting up my products to try and get the best layout possible. The first method I use is flat lay, which is where I will take the photos from overhead. A little tip for keeping products such as lipsticks from rolling away is to use a tiny bit of Blu Tack to keep it in place. I tend to use props for my flat lay photos to add a bit more creativity into the shot and make it a bit different to other similar photos out there. I do also use props in some of my stood up shots, and you can see how I've done this in my LancĂ´me and Touch Of Silver posts. When taking photos of products stood up, it may be due to the type of product I am taking and how I want it to look. Sometimes I will use this layout when wanting the main product to be in focus and blur out some other elements. 


Lighting

This is such as important part of taking good photos, and I have improved my pictures by making sure I have better lighting. You may think you need expensive lights to get perfect lighting, however you would be wrong. I used to use a small desk lamp that emitted a fairly white light, however this wasn't enough for what I needed. As I only had one, it meant I would often get shadows behind products which wasn't perfect. 

Fast forward to where I am now, and I only use natural light to take my photos. The key is trying to get the best time of day to take photos as sometimes it will either be too dark to get a sharp enough photo. Be careful when taking photos with bright sunlight as this can give harsh shadows or wash out your shots. I know it can be hard to take photos during the day if you will be at work or out, so something I tend to do is to take photos in bulk when I get good lighting to ensure I'm not left without uploads. Even though natural lighting allows me to take good photos, I thought it was time to upgrade to a pair of softbox lights. This will allow me more freedom for what time of day I can take photos, especially when I gets later in the year when sunlight becomes a limited commodity. 

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