You already know that the foundation of a fashion blog is your photos. Unfortunately, we are not all blessed with a significant other, to take our photos. Even if you do have a good friend or family member who is willing to take photos for you, it may be a challenge to get your schedules to line up. Let’s face it, sometimes the only person to lean on in certain situations is me, myself and I.
Even if you have a designated photographer, it’s a good idea to have the skills for taking your own photos.
What do I need to take my own photos?
Not much is needed to take your own photos. All you really need is your camera and a tripod. If you don’t have a camera right now, your cell phone will do just fine. To snap you own photos, you have a few options.
You can set the self timer on your camera or you can invest in a remote shutter. A remote shutter is a small device that will allow you to snap the photo when you’re ready, while away from the camera. Make sure to hide this in your hand or a pocket when snapping your photos. You don’t want this showing in your photos.
If you are shooting inside, and you don’t have a tripod, you can get creative with ways to prop up your camera or phone. Having a tripod will make your life much easier, and is pretty much necessary if you will be shooting outside. If you will be using your phone to shoot your photos, make sure to get a universal cell phone tripod mount adapter so that you can easily mount your cell phone to your tripod.
Now that you have your equipment, let’s dive in deeper.
Location, Location, Location
Outdoor photos are the best way to capture images because you usually don’t have to worry about lighting. The best time to take outdoor photos is early morning right before the sun is completely up, or evenings right before it goes down. This is what’s known as the “golden hour”. Taking photos in the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak may leave you with harsh shadows in your photography. There are ways around this though. If you find a nice shaded area that is not too dark, you should be fine.
Scoping Out A Location
Always scope out your location before it’s time to take your photos. Never try to find a place to shoot on your way to take the photos. This will take up a ton of time and only lead to frustration.
When choosing a location, you’ll want one that is pretty secluded, but safe. The least amount of traffic that flows through your shooting location, the better. Keep in mind that you’ll want to avoid going on private property as much as possible.
Keep your car close by with the windows down and the doors unlocked. This will allow you to have easy access to any items that you may need to grab from your car. It also eliminates the horror of locking your keys in the car. Crazy things happen when multitasking.
Outdoor location ideas:
- A Residential block- this can be your block or another neighborhood
- On the side of a large retail store- they have nice blank walls
- In front of your garage- you will be close to home for easy changing
- Near an Office building-they are usually empty on weekends
- In a Park or Forest Preserve
- Top floor of a parking garage-if the top floor is not enclosed
The most important thing when you are out taking photos alone is to be safe and fully aware of your surroundings. Do not take any chances by shooting in a questionable area. If you feel even a little shaky about your location, find a new location.
Taking fashion photos of yourself inside is also an option, however, it may require more equipment to pull it off. If you have a nice blank wall in front of a large window in your home, then, you are golden! If you don’t, well you will need to set up a photo shoot location in your home.
Don’t freak out, this is not as daunting as it sounds.
Basically, you are going to need a backdrop and lighting. I purchased my backdrop stand from Amazon as a kit. It came with two backdrop cloths. One in green and one in white. They also threw in two umbrella lights. I use the umbrella lights along with my ring light for lighting when shooting my fashion photos indoors.
For full body photos, I prefer to use seamless paper. The seamless paper allows me to cover the floor for a more streamlined look.
You can get seamless paper in a few different sizes and a variety of colors. I use the 53” x 36 ft size. I would recommend getting your first roll in either soft gray or white. Those colors are universal. You will be able to take several looks with a white or gray background. You can add more colors and build your collection over time.
If you know that you will be taking a lot of indoor photos, then it’s a good idea to go ahead and invest in these items. Purchase one item at a time until you have built your studio.
Remember, you don’t need a separate room strictly for your photo studio. The equipment mentioned will set up and break down with ease. I use my living room space to shoot because it is the largest area in my home with empty floor space. When I’m done shooting, I break my equipment down and put it away so that we have the living room area back again.
If your space is limited, and you will be setting up your equipment and breaking it down, then it’s best to shoot your photos in batches. This simply means to take as many looks (in different outfits of course) as you possibly can in one session. You already have hair and makeup done, so take advantage of that.
Whew! Now it’s time to actually take your photos. Set your camera up so that you will be in frame. If your camera has a flip front screen so that you can see yourself in focus, this is great. If not, you will have to snap a few test photos, and go back and forth to see if they are in frame. Make sure to set your camera up as close to the subject (that would be you) as possible, being sure to keep your full body in frame.
If you are indoors, consider connecting your camera to a monitor, or your computer, so that you are able to see yourself on the screen.
When I am taking photos outside, I use the front facing camera of my cell phone because it’s just easier. Keep in mind that the quality of the front facing camera of your phone is not as good as the rear camera.
- Test out your poses in the mirror before your photo shoot to get an idea of what looks good.
- Study other bloggers and fashion models to get ideas for posing.
- In addition to stationary poses, try snapping photos while doing slow constant moves. This will capture natural movement in your photos.
- Put on some of your favorite music to get in “model mode”.
- Use burst mode with some of your shots to get several photos in. Sometimes I take over 300 photos only to get 2-3 good ones that I can actually use.
This seems awkward
Taking photos of yourself in public is probably one of the most awkward things you’ll do when it comes to your blog. Strangers are going to look at you as if you have three heads. As if they’ve never seen a girl with a camera. Come on people! Rest assured that you will become more comfortable with this over time.
If anyone gets curious and asks what you’re doing, I find that simply saying, “oh I’m taking photos for my fashion blog” is enough to satisfy the curious passerby.
Once, I had a lady ask me to take her photo. I just sort of laughed and played it off.
Changing your outfits while on location can be a hassle. If you can stay close to home while shooting, that would be the most convenient. But you may have a location in mind that is nowhere near your home. In that case, let’s talk about some options for dressing rooms.
- Car– Do it quickly and discreetly. Try not to flash anyone, but if you do, oh well, they will get over it.
- Coffee Shop– Dip into a local coffee shop or restaurant and change in the restroom.
- Tent– I don’t necessarily recommend this option if you are taking photos alone, but I thought I would through it in anyway. Portable changing tents are a good option that will allow you to be able to do your outfit changes anywhere. They are easy to transport and affordable. You can set these up quickly and easily almost anywhere. It’s best to utilize these tents when you are with a partner so that they can stand watch while you are inside changing.
So there you have it. These are my tips for taking photos on your own.
Now you have no excuse for getting content for you fashion blog and Instagram posts. Even if all you are working with is a cell phone, you can get great photos all on your own!
*all photos in this post were taken by me alone.