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5 Tips For Photographing Beauty Products

Hello Hairspray & High Heels readers! My name’s Chelsea and I blog over at Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles. In my little corner of the internet you can find recipes, kids activities, and even the occasional outfit post or DIY! I also share what it’s like to be a mom to a three-year-old little spitfire and the craziness of being a nursing student and mother. I’m so honored that Angela’s taken enough of a liking to the photography on my blog to have me over today to share some of my photography tips and tricks with you guys today. I hope you enjoy & I hope to see you over at Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles soon!

Photos are the one thing that truly draw me into a blog. Just think about the photos you see on Pinterest that almost move the mouse to the “pin it” button for you. They’re bright, beautifully staged, and creative photos that draw you in even if you might not ever actually replicate that fancy nail design or hair style. If you’re photographing beauty products for your blog or even for Instagram, or you’re a blogger looking to improve your photography, then you’ve gotta read the tips I have for you today. You, too, can create those pin-worthy images for your blog. With a nice camera (or even your iPhone), and these simple tips, you’ll be capturing all your beautiful nail designs, favorite beauty products, and everything else in between in no time!

Take a minute to study these photos. What do you notice? What pops out at you? Is it the brightness? The background? In order to take a good photo, you really need to know what a “good photo” means to you. You really have to study the photography of other beauty bloggers or of your favorite Pinterest images and decipher what it is you love about those photos. I’m really no professional, honest. I just bought my first DSLR on January and learned how to shoot in manual shortly after. I still consider myself very much a beginner, but I think that still gives me the ability to dish out and teach the things I’ve learned to other beginners like myself.


one | Lighting: Think bright, but not too bright. The one mistake I made when I first got my camera and started taking pictures was thinking that the object I was shooting needed to be in direct sunlight in order to get a good photo. That couldn’t be more far from the truth. You want to take your photos near a bright natural light source like a large window or an open door, but not in the afternoon sun on the sidewalk in front of your house. Playing around with the lighting is something I constantly do when I set up to take photos. Sometime’s it’s more flattering to have light coming in from one side or the other and sometimes it’s more flattering to have your subject facing the light source. And remember, natural light is best. Try to avoid taking photos at night or with a flash at all costs. The artificial light distorts the color in your photos, while the natural light brings out the beauty of the products you’re showcasing. That’s the overall goal afterall, isn’t it?

two | Props: Including props and staging your photos helps to make them more appealing and create a story within your photograph. As you can see, for the hair products, I added bobby pins and a hair-tye to “style” the photo a little more. They help add a little something extra to the photo, don’t they? For other pictures I’ve taken for my blog, I’ve used these Anthropologie mini latte bowls, this $2 plate from Target, and a serving tray from Target as well. I love the plain white of the plate with the little bit of texture around the edge. It’s simple and I love simple! If you’re looking for even more inspiration, I suggest checking out Live Laugh Rowe and A Night Owl Blog. Both have an incredible talent for staging their photos and do so in ways that I only wish I could!

three | Backgrounds: Let’s face it, no one wants to see your messy living room or kitchen in the background of your pretty blog photos. It’s just not all that pretty and appealing to the eye. Instead, grab yourself a piece of plain white poster board and set it up as the background for your photos. Or better yet, make yourself a faux chalkboard background– that’s one of my favorites to use, actually. (DIY Faux Slate Chalkboard Photo Background) Remember that when you’re shooting from above, what’s under your subject is even more important than your back drop. I know a lot of bloggers use photography backdrops such as these on Etsy and some just take the pictures out on their deck, on decorative tile in their house, or on their hardwood floors. You just have to figure out what works best for you and for the specific photos you’re taking.

four | Angles: Play with your angles. Don’t just sit there and take photos of your subject from one point of view, move around, and take pictures from every angle possible. You may surprise yourself. You’ll capture light and shadows in different ways and highlight your subject in different ways as well. Get down on the ground and take a photo from that angle and then grab a chair to get one directly overhead and continue snapping until you find that “perfect shot.” That’s exactly what I do when I take my photos and you know what? I never, ever choose the first photo for a blog post. It’s usually one of the last photos I took, so it really pays to play around a little bit.

five | Think Vertical: I don’t know about you, but Pinterest is my #1 referral for my blog. It has been for a while, but I saw a huge increase in my re-pins and traffic from Pinterest when I began creating pin-worthy vertical photos. A vertical photo takes up more real estate on Pinterest and the more space you take up, the more likely someone is to see your pin and the more likely they will be to re-pin it. You see, Pinterest limits the amount of space an image can take up horizontally, but vertically the size isn’t limited as much. And I say “as much” because they’ve just recently added an “expand pin” button on the mile-long images. The sweet-spot-size for me has been 1000×3000 pixels. The only trouble I have is remembering to take vertical photos while I’m snapping away. So just remember to “think vertical!” Examples: Watermelon Mint Lime Water, 3 Ingredient Grilled Salmon, and Grilled Chicken Caprese Lettuce Wraps.

All in all, I hope this advice helps you with your beauty photography as well as your blog photography in general. It just takes practice and really understanding the lighting. The lighting is the most important aspect, in my opinion. Before you know it you’ll be shooting gorgeous Pinterest-worthy photos, I’m sure of it! And when you get the chance, you’ll have to come visit me over at Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles! Thank you to Miss Angela for having me today!

Post Contributed By: Chelsea Thom

BIO: Chelsea, of Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles, is a 23-year-old nursing student and mother. In her free-time she enjoys practicing her photography, doing crafts with her little girl, Alea, and reading.

Originally Published 08/2013



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