My Blog Photography Journey


This isn't intended to be like one of those countless advice posts on the bloggersphere at the moment. Rather, it is a way to share my own opinions and experience on blog photography, coming from someone who is a complete amateur! More than anything, I want to share with you the images I have achieved, and what kit I have used to achieve them. Please bear in mind I am not a professional photographer - so this is not technical advice, just my own experience. All of the pictures shown are taken by either my Mum or boyfriend, who are both amateur photographers. 

1. DECIDE ON YOUR INVESTMENT

I am going to start by saying that from my experience, spending more money on your camera kit makes a difference. No, it isn't necessary, but it is one of the most important steps. I wouldn't be able to make my posts look the way they do without a good camera and lens. This doesn't mean the best camera on the market, and a lens with a four figure price tag - but it does mean a level of investment. Hopefully the images I share below will demonstrate the difference the quality of the camera and lens can make.

This is only the case if you are after a certain aesthetic. I follow some blogs who shoot just with an iPhone camera, and they have fantastic imagery that works so well with their blog's aesthetic. If you want to start a blog and don't have a DSLR camera then please don't be held back by that - if anything it can encourage you to be more creative to achieve images that are carefully composed, rather than relying on the camera to do the work for you. However, if you want to achieve the kind of image I am sharing with you here, then this would be my advice..

2. MY CAMERA

When I first starting blogging I already had a DSLR, and I thought that because I did I would automatically be able to take photos that looked like those on the all the blogs I read and loved. Ohhhh what naivety! My camera was an entry level Nikon D3100 and I was shooting on the lens that it came with. I have since broken this lens and no longer have it, but from memory I believe it was a 30mm-110mm lens. Nothing wrong with either of those, but it wasn't getting me the results I wanted. I was aiming for a sharp subject and blurred background that is pretty standard for fashion blogs and street style photography, so I started doing some research.


Close ups and full length photos taken on my Nikon D3100 with my first lens (not a prime lens)

Through the power of Google and speaking to friends, I came to the conclusion that what I needed was a 50mm lens. That was the ticket to a blurred background heaven - and indeed it was. This was the motivation I needed, knowing I could achieve what I wanted, it spurred me on to really get to grip with my camera.


Close ups and full length photos taken on my Nikon D3100 with a 50mm 1:1.8 lens

As my birthday and Christmas pressie this year I got a new camera and lens. I spent ages deciding which to go for, and spent a long time in the shop trying all the different models out. (If any of you are based near Leeds, I can highly recommend the Flash Centre - the staff are really knowledgable and will spend as much time as you need explaining everything to you).

In terms of the model I wanted something with a flippy screen so I could start to film videos with greater ease. Obviously, the biggest decision maker for everyone will be the budget, and this will dictate if you can go for a full frame model or not. Now I am no expert here, but I believe the main benefit of a full frame model is the highest possible resolution and pixels (not something us bloggers need, as we don't want to be uploading huge file sizes). The second is what you will get out of your lens - which is pretty much the optimum quality that lens will allow.

My budget didn't stretch to full frame - so I went for Nikon D5300, which I now shoot my outfit photos with, using an 85mm lens.


Close ups and full length photos taken on my Nikon D5300 with an 85mm 1:1.8 lens. 


3. LENSES

The three lenses I have are 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm. My 35mm will allow me to shoot closest to the subject - this is the lens I use for shooting indoors where I don't have the space to step back to fit enough into the frame (see this post for an example). The 85mm allows me to achieve the most contrast between a sharp subject and a soft background. I find the 50mm to be a good in between lens.

As I said I am by no means a photographer - this is just what I have learned through my own trial and error. More than anything, you need to get to grips with your camera settings! Ditch Auto, stick to Manual and learn how to manage your lighting, etc etc. I am not going to go into detail about how I do this, I am not a pro at this at all and in all honestly I am probably doing it wrong!


From left to right: Nikon D3100, 30mm-110mm lens
Nikon D3100, 50mm lens
Nikon D5300, 85mm lens

Sooo as a review, here I have three images taken on the various camera combinations, all taken in the same location. The general rule for a blurred background is that the further the subject is to that background, the more blurred it will be (so if you're against a wall, it's hard to get the wall to blur). These three images are all taken on the road outside my Mum's house, so they really do show the differences in the cameras!