One of my most asked questions in comments, via email, and on social media (especially Snapchat where you see behind the scenes) has to do with blog photography. What equipment to use for blog photos? How do you edit your photos? Where do you buy your props? What are you using as a backdrop? I thought it would be a good idea to have a central location to point everyone towards when they have these questions by starting a mini-series. We’ve chatted about how to take photos of beauty products before but it’s definitely time for a refresher.
We’re going to focus heavily on equipment and then grow this mini-series from there touching on all of your questions. Blog photography equipment is what I get asked about most so it made the most sense to start here.
It took me forever to find the perfect lighting setup, I’m taking 99% of my photos when it’s already after dark just because of how my schedule is and that I tend to be more productive at night anyway. I knew I needed an artificial set-up that would do what I needed it to do. The Softbox Light Kit and Lowell Light are perfect for me and I don’t know what I would do without them. I want to show you my set up, and these photos are obviously dark and not great because I want you to have an exact idea of what the room looks like with no other lights on and no natural light coming in while I’m taking these photos.
So this is my office, I have most everything set up on this Folding Table because I needed a setup that could stay put together and I wasn’t constantly taking down because I am able to have an office. Minus the soft box lights, everything else is super easy to take apart and store if you need to though. The dog, that’s Joey, and he is standing where I usually sit to take photos to give you a better idea of where I am in relation to the setup. So the one softbox is a bit behind my right shoulder while I’m on the floor. The other softbox leans right up against the table and the lowell light is on the other side, wearing a t-shirt to dim that light a bit.
This is taken from behind just so you can see everything in it’s place.
The cool thing about doing all of this on a folding table is that there is enough room underneath for me to store the many props that I have for photos. The pink and blue canvas you see right there is something I do use as a backdrop. It’s literally just a $4 canvas from Walmart and $.99 paints that I just randomly DIY’d and it makes a perfect background. My camera strap is is gorgeous gold sequins and black and white stripes which you can find here.
CAMERA + LENSES
I use a Canon Rebel t5i to shoot with, I think I’ve maybe used the “kit lens” once or twice. I prefer the 50mm, it’s super affordable for beginners and it makes for great shots, I’d say 80% of the shots you can find on this blog are with this camera. I also have a 40mm which is absolutely amazing for flatlays, if you follow me on Instagram you can see first hand what this lens can do. This is also an awesome lens for travel and food bloggers, Carrie from Frugal Foodie Mama recommended it to me.
I hate to be the one who lets the secret out of the bag but you know that gorgeous marble background you see all over Instagram? Well, it’s all a lie. Most of us don’t have those gorgeous marble countertops. We’re using some version of this contact paper and sticking it to foam board to make it work 😉 And then for any other backdrop you see on my site, they’re most 2×2 pieces of vinyl from etsy. I love this glitter one, I adore this brick one and this wood one is fabulous.
And there we have it for equipment, oh and not shown is a step stool that I use to be high enough above the table to take my flat lays.
Before I go, I wanted to give you a peak at my camera settings for this lighting setup because if we’re letting out the trade secrets about blog photography we might as well share it all, am I right? I shoot in manual and I manually focus the lens, and below is what my settings are always at for this setup!
Keep in mind, like I said, I’m using this lighting set up for 99% of my photos. If you’re interested in some tips for taking photographs in natural light, head over to Chelsea’s post from Olive and Ivy Blog on Blogging Equipment because she’s a rockstar at it!
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