Hey Loves! I’m hoping everyone had a good weekend and is having a good start to their week! I’m here to give y’all some free game, for those that are interested! I often get asked who takes my pictures, and I get even more of a reaction when I reveal to people that I take all of my pictures myself. Yes, all by myself. Occasionally if I’m with others I might ask them to take a quick snap for me. But you better believe my tripod goes with me literally everywhere, just in case. You ever get asked to take your friend’s photo and it comes out bomb, but then you ask them to take yours and it’s trash? Story of my lifeeee lol. This pushed me even more into perfecting taking my own photos, I found ways to capture what some people just don’t have an eye for. They may not realize they cut off the top of your head, or didn’t capture your shoes when you wanted the picture to show the entire outfit. And I also don’t have to worry about annoying my friends with my perfectionism. Now I’m not saying I’m perfect with taking my pictures, but I’ve definitely improved over the years and I enjoy it thoroughly. It’s become my greatest hobby! So stay with me through this, I’m sure you won’t regret it. Im gonna give you seven crucial keys with taking your own photos. I’m also gonna announce a special surprise that you don’t wanna miss out on!
How It All Began
As most of you know, I started blogging in 2016. Even before then, I found interest in taking my own pictures. My mom actually bought me my first miniature tripod. I remember I used to prop it up on the trunk of my car. It’s funny because every area that I needed to take a picture at had to have a spot I could reverse my car in front of, or a flat surface that was tall enough to see my entire body. Whew, how times have changed. That mini tripod was a gem though and really helped me capture some of my favorite photos. I did crack a phone or 2 with it though, I’ll get into how you can avoid that later. But for now, let’s get started.
I always start with finding inspiration for what I’m wanting to shoot that day. It’s usually based around a location, or even the weather. For example, if it’s a nice day then I’m most likely in the mood to put on a cute outfit and have some fun in the sun. I’m also a person who looks for inspiration everywhere and in everything. As far as a location, I can just be driving to run an errand and I’ll pass a location that I think is super cute or unique. It could be the way the buildings are structured, or really nice landscaping that’ll draw me to it. I’ll either snap a quick photo or take a mental note. I also find inspo literally within my apartment complex and it’s exterior. I took SO many of my pictures in my last complex, you have no idea. Since I’ve moved to my current apartment, I’ve found more great spots as well. In fact, all of these photos were taken down the street from my apartment. I was just walking and stopped in a location that I thought best fit my look and the sunlight. Needless to say, location of your photo is important. It can make or break your photo, and I’ve seen it break plenty. The person may have on a cute outfit, but if the imagery behind them was messy or unappealing then it threw it all off. Or sometimes it’s the opposite, you can keep your outfit super simple and let your location/background speak for the photo. And your background doesn’t HAVE to be anything extravagant at all, especially these days since we’re all stuck in the house. Take it from me, the majority of my photos have been on the floor in my living room. But it’s forced me to get a little creative with what I have in my apartment. You just want to have a clean background or location! Props are also your friend. For example your accessories, or your coffee mug, can add to your photo if your background is more simple. It’s all about finding inspiration no matter if you’re inside or outside. I’m hoping I’m making sense, stay with me guys! See below some recent props I used in my living room that were actually for a photo and a video.
What You’ll Need
I take my photos with my iPhone XR. I do have a professional Nikon camera, but for my preferences my phone has been easier and takes better quality photos. I probably will invest in another camera one day, but for now my phone is convenient. I’ve upgraded my storage and iCloud space to be able to hold all of my content, as you can imagine my photos take up the majority of my phone’s space. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a camera because you don’t necessarily NEED one to capture great shots of yourself. Moving along, I’ve been buying tripods for years, as I mentioned earlier. I started with a short one that I had to sit on top of things. I’m so happy that I evolved to a tripod that extends to about the height of my waist. It also comes with a Bluetooth remote, which is SO helpful. You do have to somewhat hide it in your photos [see examples below] but it’s worth it instead of walking back and forth in between shots. I used to use my self-timer on the camera, but this was becoming too time consuming. Having to walk back and forth to reset it in order to capture multiple photos, PLUS I’m super picky about my photos, so you can imagine how long it would take me to get enough to post throughout an entire blog. The Bluetooth remote that came with my tripod is a literal life-saver. Use my link to shop the tripod here– it’s the 40in, click the link again if doesn’t appear the first time. It holds your phone securely and allows you to shoot photos vertically or in landscape [sideways] with it’s flexible holster. You can use it as a handheld selfie tripod or extend it to place on the ground to capture a full photo of yourself and your angles. Best investment thus far! And yes sometimes it may appear as a shadow in your photos. Sometimes I allow it if I like the angle I’m standing at, other times I reposition the tripod further into the shadow of something around or in front of me and that will sometimes disguise it from appearing in your photo. [I take most of my pictures posing from my right side, so I’ll move the tripod further to my right.]
When To Take Your Photos
If you’re a daytime picture taker like me, you probably love natural lighting. I do have some photos in lit closed areas, or at night as well, but the majority of my photos are outside in natural sunlight. One thing I do have is great natural lighting in my living room, which is where I’ve been taking the majority of my photos lately. If you are an indoors picture taker, you definitely will get the best results by taking photos in well lit areas. You don’t have to be directly in the sunlight either, the natural lighting will illuminate the entire room. But whichever you prefer, I do a balance of both. The best outdoor lighting in my opinion is during golden hour. If you’re not sure what golden hour is, it’s the hour between the sun starting to set and actually setting. Taking pictures while the sun is beaming fully can create a lot of shadows and squinting. I’m no photography expert, just speaking on what I’ve seen in some of my own photos. Sometimes I’m fine with full beaming sunlight, but most times I’d prefer golden hour sunlight. I’ve found that my pictures complement my skin and my minimal editing when I take them during that time. See below and above images that I captured during golden hour.
Learning Your Angles
This is isn’t necessarily something that I can teach, I wish I could but it’s more based on personal preference. I learned my angles over time, by analyzing my photos, what I felt captured what I was going for and made my body look the way was intending, and just repeating it. I think this is often why people repeat poses in the majority of their photos, because they like how that makes their body look. Everyone has what they consider as their “good side” and mine is my right side. So the majority of my pictures will be angled from that direction. That’s right, capitalize on your features that you love and pose with them in mind. If you have great teeth, smile more! If you love your curls, pose more with your hand in your hair, or any way that draws attention to it. If you have long legs that you love, maybe lower your tripod to shoot more at an upward angle to complement your legs. Pose according to what you’re trying to show, accentuate you’re features that you love! Also if you’re trying to capture an entire look in a photo, play with different full length poses such as capturing yourself walking towards the camera, or pose turned to show your best side. Bend your knee or kick up a leg to draw attention to those shoes! Some prefer sitting poses over standing, and this is possible with your tripod too. Position it at an angle to the right or left of you, make sure you’re fully in frame, cross those legs or lean forward in your knees for a more edgy pose. So for example with my posing, I really don’t do anything special. If I’m really loving the jeans that I’m wearing I’m most likely gonna be posing to where my hip is poking lol, it sounds silly but it is what will make me like the photo. And let me add that in too, posing is for YOU, and what YOU will love about the photo. I don’t take my photos for anyone but myself. It’s really something that takes practice and that you learn over time. It honestly doesn’t take much to look effortlessly posed in your photo, and don’t forget to capture what you want to appear in your background [whether you choose to be close up or stand far away from the lens]! It’s a lot of trial and error, so don’t get frustrated with yourself. You may have to go back and forth to your phone a lot to check and make sure you’re aligned with the camera. I find markers on the ground that help me to know where to stand. So for example: I’m standing by a certain crack in the pavement or spot on the ground and I’m capturing a test shot. I capture the shot, then look at the photo and see that I’m standing in the right spot for the camera to capture what I’m wanting it to, then I just continue to stand by that same crack or spot until I capture the image I love. Make sense?
I’ve been taking my own pictures for so long, it just comes natural. Even posing, it’s something that’s so hard to teach. It came from practice honestly, figuring out what made my body look the best. Most of my angles usually revolve around capturing my entire outfit. But here recently, it’s been more so just capturing whatever is cute since I’m not really putting on full outfits. So again, it’s all about what you’re wanting the photo to capture. One tip I’ll share for my recent sitting down photos is shown in the photo below. I have a mirror standing on the ground [it hasn’t been hung yet, but that’s okay because it’s found a new purpose LOL]. But I place it in front of where I’ll be sitting, then I put my tripod in front of it, lowered to its height. This allows me to see my reflection and my phone’s camera screen, making it easier to align with the camera instead of having to guess if I’m sitting too close or too far away. I hope these tips helped!
Some Things To Avoid
If you’re shooting outside, beware of windy days. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve cracked my phone a couple of times trying to shoot photos while it was windy. The wind can be so strong, and the stick on your tripod isn’t made of steel, so it will blow it over if you’re not paying attention. If you have no other choice but to shoot while it’s windy outside, I would suggest lowering the height of the tripod, and placing it on top of something sturdy instead. Also wrapping the base of the tripod and it’s stands with like a couple of jackets or something heavier that can keep it leveled. This helps sometimes, although sometimes not so much and those are usually the days when I say forget it, the wind can have it today. Also! Taking photos when the time is in between getting dark and officially night [7:30-8pm ish here in Texas] can make your pictures look super grainy, and even brightening them up doesn’t help much…at least not for me. However, if you’ve mastered this please do share!
I prefer natural edits on my photos, the same as I prefer my makeup. The main app that I use to edit my photos is VSCO. It’s the easiest to navigate and has plenty of options, always giving my photos just the touch they need. I use it’s C1 filter, it fits my skin tone and aesthetic the best. The first app I ever started using to edit my photos was Afterlight. It was good for the beginning stages but I eventually wanted more for my photos. I also have LightRoom and Tezza. I don’t do a lot to my photos, but that’s just my personal preference. I prefer natural in general, so that’s why I chose the filter that I work with. Sometimes I add a little grain to my photo as well, I like it as an occasional added detail. It’s hard to suggest which filters for you to choose, it’s solely based on your preference and how you want to look in your photos. If you prefer natural like me, stick to the filters that don’t change your appearance much after applied. You don’t want to choose anything that makes you look artificial or not like yourself. I also don’t feel filters are an absolute must, I follow plenty of bloggers who don’t use filters at all and their pictures are bomb. Needless to say, there are definitely some great editing apps out there! So once you’ve edited your photo [if you wish] then you’re all set!
I pray that you’ve found this information super helpful! And please, if you feel I left out any information or have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments! It’s sometimes hard to teach something that you just do, you know. So I hope that I covered the basis of it! And now for the surprise, GIVEAWAY TIME!! Yes, I’m gonna gift one of you with this exact tripod to start your personal photo taking journey! You must be subscribed to my blog, and following me on Instagram! Tell a friend, and leave a comment on my IG photo if you’ve read this blog and are ready to start your journey! Winner will be picked this Friday via my IG stories so make sure you’re tuned in!! Good luck! And thanks for reading! Until next time, stay safe and blessed my loves!