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6.1.15

MY 5-PIECE PHOTOGRAPHY KIT (THAT DOESN'T COST A FORTUNE)

There's no doubting the fact that photography now plays a massive part in blogging. Nearly five years ago I started this site with only a basic understanding of t'internet and a smartphone camera; for quite some time photos weren't nearly as important as the text that accompanied them. However, as the bloggersphere expanded and evolved, the focus definitely shifted towards glossy magazine-style images that could only be shot with an uber expensive camera. Although I'm no photography whizz, looking back at my early attempts makes me cringe; it's amazing how a little time and perspective makes something previously thought acceptable look like utter tosh. I've really tried to work on my imagery over the past year and it's definitely paid off, giving my words more life and showcasing products in a much better light. There are only five things I rely on to get my images looking as good as possible - and you'll be happy to know they don't cost the earth.


1. A Decent Camera
By 'decent' I don't mean 'must cost you at least five hundred British pounds' but in fact a camera that has the ability to focus and that you can use with ease. I have three different cameras for varying uses (Nikon for photography, Canon for filming and Olympus Pen for on-the-go) that all offer different qualities to my photos. However, any of the three would suffice for taking decent images - the important thing is that you set up your shots well and get creative with angles! I'm always changing my style and trying something new, but the most important thing is that all three of my cameras provide me with clear and bright shots.

2. LED Light Strip 
Although the intended use of these handy light strips is more relevant to tents than to cameras (it's a £6.49 camping light,) they're really handy at providing bright and 'natural' light when it's dull and dark. I have two that I place on either side of my subject to light the entire area and ensure my images are as bright as possible. It's best to have a play around and find out which angles work for you, but these super cheap lights make taking fab images a doddle - just be sure to never shine the light directly onto your products or it may look over-exposed.

3. White Tack 
A beauty bloggers best friend, White Tack allows you to secure those pesky lipglosses or eyeliners in place so you can take an awesome photo. I'm forever attaching a little to the underside of products to ensure I don't find myself running around after products that have rolled away; a little tack gives the control you need to position products in creative ways without giving the game away.

4. Polishing Cloth
Especially when working with makeup that can become dusty or smudged, a polishing cloth is your best friend. You can pick these up in Poundland and they wipe away even the most stubborn of smudge or fleck of makeup, minimising the need for editing or cropping once your images are downloaded. I use these to polish mirrors within compacts, shine up products I've used before photographing and to buff the surface on which I'm placing stuff. They're super handy! 

5. White Card 
There's no need to spend a small fortune on a mini photography studio when a few pieces of white card will do the job just as well. (I've also used cheap white blankets from Primark for a bit of texture.) I picked mine up from WHSmith for about a pound each and they provide a crisp, plain background to ensure the product stands out as much as possible. I much prefer a plain white background to floral or ditsy prints, as it keeps the image looking fresh and the focus on the product - however, coloured card works just as well.

Do you have any unique tools or special techniques that help you get a great shot?


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31 comments

  1. The white tack is such a great idea! I never even thought about that. I usually wedge a hair grip at the side so it doesn't roll about, but then i'm always really careful not to knock anything!

    I'm going to the shop at lunchtime to get myself some! :) x

    www.just-becky.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. I agree. will have to try this when photographing my items

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  2. Thank you for this - very helpful post!

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  3. White tack is so handy! I too have an LED light that attaches to my camera. It cost £13 and it revolutionised my photo taking!

    Stephanie
    http://missstephanieusher.blogspot.co.uk/
    http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3436251
    xxxx

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  4. What a great post, I'm definately having a hard time in Winter, taking decent Photos. I already have a camping light (LED strip) So I may have to give that a go. My dear old father is making me a DIY lightbox at the moment. So fingers crossed for better Photos in the future. I do need to get a better camera though.

    www.loevensmakeuprambles.blogspot.com

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  5. Great tips! I had not though about the camping lights, but then again I am lucky that we get quite a bit of natural light here so I take adavantage of that.

    A trick that I use to simulate those seamless backdrops is to use a foam cardboard: place it on your table and against the wall so that it curves. Ta dah!

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  6. Such a great post! I've always though that bloggers spent a fortune to make really awesome photos for their posts.

    Carpet cleaning Ealing

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    1. Most make do with what they can rustle up - unless you're an uber blogger and can afford £1000's on a mini studio!

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  7. Thank you for all the tips and tricks! I really want to try the LED lighting suggestion now!

    Francesca xo // EffStar Beauty

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  8. Wow these are all super cool ideas! I've been blogging for three years now and I've never thought that I could stick those stubborn rolling away products to the surface! :D And I'm definitely looking into those LED lights. I always take pictures during the day but it gets really hard in the winter when days are gloomy and cloudy. Thanks for this great post!

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  9. This year I'm putting in a lot more effort into my blog photography and these tips are brilliant. I'm always put off by having to spend lots of money but the white card is a fantastic idea!

    Bryony xx

    www.thebeautymagpie.com

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  10. Polishing cloth - this is the best tip ever!!! A tripod has definitely helped me, as I have such a shaky hand!! I really want a vlogging camera, may have to try the Olympus Pen seeing as everyone seems to love it at the moment!! Fab post :)

    Zoe Newlove | Beauty Blogger & MUA

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  11. Perfect timing with this post, I'm looking at ways to improve my photos without spending a fortune. I think I'll be investing in some LED strip lights.

    Dani | KaBOOM! Cosmetics

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  12. The LED light strip is such a good idea, I currently manoeuvre a desk lamp around, trying to get glare and shadows out of my shots! :)

    Jen xx
    www.kitsch-n-sync.com

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  13. White tack is my best friend when I take photos. I always have it on hand. x

    FARFROMPERFECTIONXO

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  14. White tack is THE BEST. I also agree that you don't need a super expensive camera to take good photos - even some smartphones these days are taking high quality images. I think it's just as much about your eye, composition and understanding your camera as it is about having something fancy.

    Milly // Mini Adventures

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  15. The led lights are a brilliant idea, I'm totally going to try this.

    Enter my Smashbox GIVEAWAY! http://50shadesoflizxo.blogspot.com/2015/01/post-holiday-depression-giveaway.html

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  16. Never thought of using a camping light! So much cheaper than dedicated photography lights. I'll definitely try that out x

    Alice Red | Beauty Blog

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  17. Amazing tips, thank you, just what I needed as I'm currently trying to improve my photography! Never thought of using a led camping light but it's a much cheaper (and genius) idea. I'm with you on the white background thing; I still need to get my hand on a large piece of white card! x

    Bridie | Upon My Sleeve

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  18. Ooh great tips. I'm rubbish at photos so will see if these help :)

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  19. The white tack is genius! And those camping lights sound interesting, may have to check them out!

    Lots of Love Lottie ♥
    www.lotsoflovelottie.com
    Lifestyle blog to make you smile :)

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  20. It took me ages to figure out to use white/blue tac to keep my products in place! xo

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  21. Thanks for the tips. Im trying to put more effort into my blog pictures. Will invest in the lighting and some white tac

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  22. I think Photoshop is another addition that you need – helps keep lighting even for all images and saves those which are too dark.

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  23. The little LED light is such a good idea, never thought of anything like that.. and same with blue tac! The amount of time I spend trying to not get the lipstick to roll away is ridiculous xx

    Through New Eyes | Beauty Blog

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  24. I work 5 days a week and have such a limited time to take photos so those LED lights sound so good! I always wanted lighting but never had the money or room for most of the lights people suggested, so I've just ordered two of these lights :) Great post!

    Lauren | laurenthedaydreamer.co.uk

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  25. Never thought of white tack - oh my gosh GENIUS.
    alicekatex ♥

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  26. This is a very insightful, helpful post! Thanks for sharing those awesome tips.

    Leather & Lipstick

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  27. OMG! A camping light is an amazing idea, thank you! I always struggle with picture taking because my house isn't so great for natural light. Thank you so much!

    iamkelskels.blogspot.com

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  28. I've got one of those LED lights (exactly the same!) that only ever comes out of the cupboard when we have a power cut - I'd have never thought of using it to help with my photo lighting until reading this. It's difficult to get any natural light at home when I'm back from work and it's already dark. Thank you!

    Amy
    www.getglam.co.uk

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