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When I first started blogging my photos weren’t exactly what you’d call great, and I knew it. I used to browse blogs with perfect pictures and then compare them to mine and want to quit blogging because I hated mine so much. Extreme obviously, but I felt embarrassed of my photos and for about six months, it was the one thing I hated constantly.

Now, I in no way think my photos now are anything to boast about, but they have improved thankfully. I am still trying different backgrounds and compositions to see which I like the most, and the lighting in my flat is practically non existent so I’m still working on getting around that issue but for the most part, my pictures are okay. Sometimes, I even get a shot I’m really proud of!

I don’t feel like I am consistently good enough at photos to give tips, so instead I’m going to take you through my photography process. When I first started blogging, my process was literally; put product on table, take photo on iPhone, upload. I’ve definitely come a long way since then!

Photography tips

Perversion 3 edit

I took the picture of Clinique High Impact mascara a couple of weeks into blogging. I had this weird obsession with fading the images in, which looks awful. I also didn’t edit my photos. The Urban Decay Perversion mascara was taken a couple of weeks ago. It’s not perfect, but the lighting and set up are a lot nicer to look at.

The Process

Whenever I have an idea for a post, I’ll make a note of what products I need to photograph, then when I have time I’ll bulk photograph everything. I use a Canon 1000d with 55-200ml lens. It’s normally on a weekend morning, as I can get a tiny bit of natural light in my living room (only in one corner of the room but better than nothing!). If I am taking photos in the evening, I’ll take photos with the ‘tungsten’ option on white balance settings, as this provides a slight clue cast which counteracts the yellow tones of rubbish light bulbs.

To get a white background, I’ve been recently using a large white canvas which I got for £2 from Home Bargains. I’m still playing around with backgrounds and compositions, so this will probably change but it’s okay for now. I’ll take around ten photos per product/ image, making sure I try a few different angles and set ups. I’ll also check each photo on zoom after I’ve taken it to make sure the colour, brightness and focus is okay.

Once I’ve taken my photos, I’ll upload them and from each ten photos, I’ll pick two or three to keep. Rather than deleting the other ones, I just move the ones I’m keeping to a separate folder! The final step is editing these photos, which I do on Pic Monkey, as it’s a free online editor. I don’t think my laptop could handle Photoshop! I normally crop, use the neutral picker (this is a life saver, you click on colours that are supposed to be white and it corrects the colour!), increase the highlights (which brightens the picture without making it too light and airy) and increase the shadows so the highlight and shadows are even. I’ll occasionally adjust the sharpness and clarity if the photo is a bit grainy, then I save it using the highest image quality.

I use the standard ‘large’ size on WordPress for uploading photos to my posts to ensure all the images are the same size, and voila! All is done.

I still want to improve my images; I’m thinking of investing in a day light bulb and my dad is getting me a macro camera lens for Christmas which I’m excited to have a play around with. I’m also still experimenting with the backgrounds and set ups of each image, as I don’t feel like I have a ‘signature style’ yet. I am also going to ensure my next flat is picture perfect, as the one I’m in at the moment is fine for just living but as it’s a student flat, the carpet is some weird pub like carpet, the walls are all painted a bit slapdash and the furniture is all a bit meh. I’ll be honest, the main reason we signed or it is because we don’t have to pay for the heating. I’ve just got a new job and Scott finished uni this year, so next year we’ll be able to afford a nicer flat AND heating!

What is your photography process? Have you got any tips or advice that has really helped your photography to improve?

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A large part of my job is outreach, so finding and contacting bloggers to work with. Whilst I know for some bloggers, working with brands is a big no go as it ‘compromises the blog integrity’, I know there are lots of bloggers out there who do want to work with brands so I thought I’d give you some tips on what I look for in a blog. Obviously different PR’s might be different to me but it’s always nice to have an insiders tip!

PR Friendly

Layout

Blogs with clean, uncluttered layouts with easy to find sections are always preferable. If I can’t find your details with a quick scan, chances are I’ll leave. Having a clear about and contact page are essential, and it’s also preferable if I can find your social media and Bloglovin links easily too.

Details

You’d be surprised how many blogs I’ve found who don’t include their name, which is frustrating if I really like their blog as I don’t want to email “Dear BLOG NAME”. It’s awkward for everyone. I shouldn’t have to check out your Twitter, Instagram and whatever else to know what you’re called!

I also dislike when someone doesn’t have their email readily available. A contact form is fab for instant collaborations, but I often scout blogs and list them to work with later, so not having an email I can store puts me off saving your details if I’m truly honest.

I work with a brand that’s UK only, so not having at least the country you are located from really winds me up. I don’t want to have to email “Hi, love your blog but are you UK?”, I want to be able to know from your page.

Content

I tend to look for detailed, well written content without spelling or grammatical errors. The odd typo isn’t going to put me off if I like your blog but if there’s easy mistakes in every sentence then I’ll have my doubts. The content needs to be engaging but informational and I look for blogs with personality in too.

Whilst I do look for good pictures, I know not everyone has access to amazing cameras or editing programmes so as long as the picture is large and clear, I’m happy. Tiny, dark grainy photos always put me off though; if I’m sending you a product, I want your followers to be able to see what it is.

Followers

I won’t lie and say followers aren’t important; if I send something out to someone with 10 followers and as a result it gets no response, I get flack for it. That being said, they are not the most important thing ever. If you have a good blog, photography or writing skills and you clearly engage with your followers and bloggers well, I’m happy to contact you and build up a relationship because it’s obvious you have great blogging potential and I’d like to build a relationship up with you.

You

I normally do a social media snoop on bloggers to get a feel for the person. I want to be working with someone who is engaging and actually a nice person, and also make sure they are a good fit for the company. If your Twitter is full of you badmouthing companies or being really negative, it doesn’t paint a great picture.

Obviously these are all just what I look for in a blog and I’m sure different PR’s have different criteria they have to meet, but for me the most important things are really how accessible your information is, how good the content is and how engaging your post would be if I sent you something. When it comes to it, I’m sending out gifts because it benefits the company and also to build relationships so I want to work with someone who I know is a good fit for the company and also who I know cares about their blog and their readers.

I hope this has helped anyone who wants to work with brands!