Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How to Shoot an Outfit Post

Today for my 'Tips Tuesday' I thought I would follow Kiki Mincks advice (from the lovely blog According to Kiki) and do a series of posts on photography.  Now I'm certainly no expert, but I do work as a photographer, strangely enough, so I suppose I have some knowledge.  I also spend an extraordinary amount of time taking photos of myself...so as well as being slightly weird...I am getting a bit of a dab hand at the whole 'Outfit of the day' game.

So....as well as needing to have a slight sense of lunacy about you....this is the advice I have to give....

As I have found this whole outfit posting thing is extremely time consuming and is not for the faint hearted.  You need to come up with the outfit, style the thing, do your hair and makeup, find a location, take the photos, edit the photos and then write up your post.  For me there is several days work going into a single post, and the 'behind-the-scenes' activity involves a lot of kid wrangling, random driving, standing awkwardly in front of a camera on a tripod and embarrassing myself in public.  Don't worry, there will come a point where you will stop being embarrassed and just learn to ignore the weird stares you get....but you need to stick with it to get past that hump of 'hey there...I look like a total idiot.'  In reality the whole process is a lot of fun and I have noticed that the element of fashion on my blog has started to gain a lot more attention from readers and even from brands.

Hair and Makeup
Now this is something I do struggle with because I'm terrible at hair, and I'm amazed that I've managed to keep it this long as it is....usually I have short hair like a boy.  But if you can find a few styles that suit you, and that don't cause you to dummy spit in the process of creating them, then you're on a winner.  Makeup is not my strong forte either, basically because it is only recently since I started wearing it, and even then I'm a tinted moisturiser kind of gal, and usually poke myself in the eye with my mascara.  I find that lipstick makes all the difference with an outfit shoot, so if you can't manage the rest at least paint up your pout.
I also like to think pretty hard about location, finding something that will match the theme of my outfit.  For example, something dreamy like the lace skirt in the photo above...
....or something a little more urban....like this....
I keep in mind what is in the backgrounds and how that will highlight the colours I am wearing or help tell a story.
These cows were a whole story unto themselves.  They were so funny.  Came bolting up from the bottom of the paddock to join in.  Most convenient. 
Sometimes something like a simple door is enough.
Or you might let nature do the talking.  Whatever you choose, think carefully before hand because where you take your photos can really make for an interesting outfit shoot.  This is also important if you have regular followers.  Keep them interested and inspired by showing them different places and creating different moods, rather than just using your front door as a background every time.  Not that your front door is bad...I mean I did it here...
with my The 12 Shirts of Christmas post, but I also popped in a different shot like this....
...just to mix it up a little.
Getting Technical
Ok, when I say technical I don't mean to freak you out...I mean photography can be pretty confusing sometimes, but just a few little things that can make the world of difference.
Natural Light
Natural light is something I use for all my photographs, which is why I'm always outside on shoots, but I also always make sure my flash is switched off.  There is nothing wrong with using your automatic settings, if that is what you feel comfortable with, just switch off the flash as it's not flattering when it comes to portraits.  The other thing, which you all probably know, is to shoot during the magic hours of either early morning or early evening, when the light is at its kindest.  This I personally struggle to do because I have to fit my crazy outfit shoots around kids, kinder drop off and pick ups, my magazine work and my daughter's nap time...so often I shoot in the harsh light during the middle of the day.  For this I have discovered that Picmonkey is my friend, a quick and easy editing tool that you can use for free.
Shooting at midday and trying to make it work?  Stand in the shade, the light is way less harsh.  Also think about where your light source is coming from.  This is something I haven't played around with much, but am looking to in the future.  For example, doing your photos inside with the light filtering in through the window.  Or having the light source coming from behind you.
The composition of your photography is talking about the whole package.  The way you have styled the shot, how you have arranged yourself, as well as all the other surrounding details. 
Here I've played with the idea of Leading Lines, where I've used the road to direct the viewer's attention into the picture.  It further helped this concept when I started to wander up the road...
The Rule of Thirds is probably one of the more well known guidelines when it comes to composition.  Take your scene and divide it into nine sections, so imagine drawing three horizontal lines and three vertical lines across the picture.  You then place yourself on one of these lines or where the lines intersect.  This will create a more balanced shot as you are naturally drawn to look at one of these intersected points.
Framing is something else you can think about, so basically where you create a frame within the picture itself.  For example...
...even this little bit of post and archway have given me a nice frame.  They have also given me something to do with my hand, so helped alleviate the awkwardness, and stopped me from falling over in these shoes.
Props isn't something I do an awful lot of, but I want to do more, because they are not only handy in giving you something to do with your handys, but they can be fun.  Such as my bike....
...or these flowers...
...this bag...
....and I tend to use my hat...
...a lot.  But then that's a bit of a cowgirl thing.
There is a lot I could tell you about editing, which I simplify by using Picmonkey for my outfit posts, although I do use Lightroom with the photos I take for the magazine I work for.  I find Picmonkey is faster when I am trying to push out a bunch of photos quickly for my blog and it is so easy to use. 
Other hints I can give you are to learn to be nimble on your feet, as you will do a lot of running, as you fire off your camera and rush to get in position, (although purchasing a remote here would be super handy!), perhaps learning how to do your makeup well would be a bonus (I also need to take this advice), and practising a few poses in the mirror, which you can remember to fall back on, so that you aren't left standing like a stunned mullet in the middle of the street....with your own camera trained on you....while people wonder what on earth it is that you are doing.....



  1. I have been waiting for this post! I think what I love most about your photos is that you use nature as one of your biggest props. Not to mention your lighting always seems to be on point. For now, the only natural light I have to work with is at about 1 PM when I'm on lunch. Those days when it's light until 9 PM couldn't come fast enough. I'd say my biggest struggle is the tripod game. I feel so silly and I really try to find spots where no one can see me. I need to get over it. haha

    1. The lighting issue can be a problem, but I find that a bit of editing later can help soften photos if I have had no choice but to shoot in the middle of the day. I know...the tripod thing! It's a problem, but I get around that by shooting out in the middle of nowhere....I bonus of living in the country I guess. Often it's just the cows and sheep making faces at me....

  2. This post is very helpful esp. to those who are planning to start outfit posts. Happy Wednesday dear! :)

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  3. These are awesome photography tips, Amber! Sorry... "Ambah!" haha! I took art classes and a lot of what you mention also goes into prepping for a drawing/painting/work of art. You're right it is a lot of work! I use Picmonkey too, and love it for simple and (almost) effortless editing!
    You chose outstanding pieces from your previous outfit posts to share in this post. I loved having a little look back at your work, too!!

    Keep up the awesome photography and thank you for sharing your tips!
    Much Love,
    -Stephanie Eva

    1. Thank you! We need to see more of your art me thinks!! All my past outfit posts are under the banner heading 'Cowgirl Up' if you wanted a giggle at my earlier attempts of outfit shoots....

  4. Brilliant tips! I must remember to use some of them for my ootds when the weather gets warmer. x


    1. Thanks Bianca! Shooting outdoors is the best!

  5. Just found your blog, lovely photos :)

    Love from Kitty (http://cripplebaby.blogspot.ie)

    1. Thank you! And thank you for following along on GFC. Heading over to check out your blog now!

  6. Great tips!

    I love the photo of you with the bike and the flowers in your hair! :) It is hard trying to set up a photoshoot, but you did really good job.

    Daisy x