When I rebranded to Space on Third, I knew I wanted to change the way I used visuals on my blog and social media. Where I often relied on stock images (which can be great alternatives), I wanted to begin taking and using more original photography in my content.
I upgraded my phone to the iPhone 7+ in early April, which significantly improved the quality of photos I took on the go.
To really seal in my commitment, I also purchased a camera that would be a great starter for improved photo and video. I did lots of research and really thought about what I wanted and needed from a camera. In the end, I went with the Canon EOS M10 and I’ve been loving it so far. I already know that when I’m ready to add an upgraded camera, I’ll be staying in the Canon family.
Half the battle of getting great images to use on the blog and my social channels is getting the right shot to begin with. Making sure the camera is focused, the scene is set up well and the lighting is bright, natural but not too overpowering (think golden hour, not high noon).
Some general tips for getting a good shot, every time:
- Shoot in gentle natural light whenever you can. I take the majority of my photos between 6am-11am and 3pm-7pm (in the summertime) near windows. Try to stay away from artificial light if you can. Slightly overcast days also yield awesome photos!
- Don’t go zoom crazy. Shoot at the natural distance from the objects you’re capturing.
- Take the time to set up the shot well. Whether you’re snapping a flat lay or your coffee, move things around so that they look appealing in the frame (look at the scene through your camera/phone, not just the naked eye).
- Take a variety! On the 25th shot of that cup of coffee, you’ll finally have one worthy of an Instagram.
Once I have a solid shot, there are two main tools I use to edit all of my photos. The VSCO app and Photoshop on my computer. That’s it. I’ve played around with other apps and have used Adobe Lightroom on occasion, but I come back to this duo every time.
I hate for my photos to see over excited, so I try to keep adjustments to a minimum.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll probably notice that all of my images have similar tones and feels to them. This is super intentional for two reasons: it helps create a consistent feel for my brand online, even on platforms I don’t own (like Instagram); and, it saves me a TON of time when editing.
I use the VSCO A6 filter on every photo you see on my social media, which gives them all the same affect.
Once I apply the filter, I go into the editing mode and adjust the following settings:
- Exposure: how light or dark an image appears after you’ve captured it with your camera. I like my photos brighter
- Contrast: the difference between black and white in images.
- Temperature: I prefer cooler photos, so you’ll notice a blueish tint on my images.
I’ll make other adjustments as I go, but these are the main settings I focus on.
In Photoshop (I use Photoshop CC) I focus on the same settings: exposure, contrast and temperature. I love that you can check preview mode and see the edits you’re making in real time so that you don’t over edit and have to undo your work.
I also use Photoshop to easily resize my photos, which is great when you need one image in various sizes to share on different platforms. I usually need an image for Instagram, one for the blog and another for Twitter. Sometimes, these can all be one image but other times, I’ll pop into photoshop to make the change.
I also use Photoshop to make any graphics I need for the blog or for social (I edited the photos above completely in VSCO but used Photoshop to add the text). Sure, you can download apps to add text to photos on your phone, but I prefer working in Photoshop and having my branded fonts and colors on hand. Consistency is big when creating photos and graphics that make an impact.
Now, all of that being said, I’m no photography pro. Most of what I’ve learned has been self-taught and improved through trial and error. Feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.