Day 268 – Photography for Bloggers Part 1a

I was not happy with the photos that I took for day 266 – my first attempt at flatlay, so I had to choices – to go away and try a different style of photography or have another attempt at this one. A second attempt won – after all the idea of the blog was to improve my photography, so stopping when I find something hard, is not the way I will learn new skills.

Flatlay might not be a style of photography that I like – all though many of the examples I have seen a very pleasing on the eye – they do include skills that are useful in all aspects of photographer – cross transferable skills.

So where to start … more research, I had a look on google and I read up:

  • Styling flatlay photography – I need to create a story, or think about what I want the photo to communicate. There are loads of ideas here.
  • Flat Lay photography tips – a video – I watched a demonstration on the thought process, and which talked about natural light creating the right tones.
  • I read up about light – not for just flatlay but for still life images – I found her light diagrams really helpful.
  • Adding contrast and brightening the picture works well.. along with keeping a theme.
  • A really useful bluetac tip in this blog along with encouragement that it takes practice.
  • I never even thought of “flatlay” for clothes – this could be a great way to display products, presenting them into a situation to create a mode.

Today I choose the room based on the light available – not based on where I wanted to take the photo.  I took the last photos in my lounge – it is south facing, with lots of direct sunlight, even though I tried to diffuse it through a sheet – today I headed west – and used my kitchen floor … as I often think the light in there is much softer. I think something has just dawned on me – it is about the light – not the space available…. why do I therefore use my lounge….

My inspiration – afternoon tea … the story – time for a break … peppermint tea, biscuits, pretty plates – I thought more about the composition. I wanted to include flowers – ideally pink ones, to match the flowers on the cups – my crop includes part of a daisy … I should have cloned it out … but it is a good example of including something that should not have been included. My papermint tea – matched my phone case … and I had the idea of including a web site on my phone that related to the post.

Afternoon Tea - F8, 1/80sec, ISO200
Afternoon Tea – F8, 1/80sec, ISO200

I rearranged – included more of the daisies, tossed in some mint to reflect the peppermint flavour of the tea, swapped the biscuits for cake and I removed my phone case as I thought it looked too heavy –  the mint looks messy, the daisies unrelated and I think the phone now looks too dark.

ISO160, F8, 1/80sec
ISO160, F8, 1/80sec

I tried again – I cropped closer – made the focus the story – my tea break… a cup of tea and a read of my phone – the image I wanted on the phone was not clear enough so I photoshopped my own image into it and I like it.

Afternoon Tea close up - ISO200, F8, 1/80sec
Afternoon Tea close up – ISO200, F8, 1/80sec

Today I was doing a lot of work for the Coastguard Association – sorting out paperwork, preparing raffle prizes for an event at the weekend, so I thought I would take a photo themed to that – the blue and yellow colours work well together, the blue-tac trick was excellent and worked well. There are some shadows – it seemed to bounce back from my reflector rather than the light source.

Inspired by the work I am doing for the Coastguard Association today - ISo160, F8, 1/80sec
Inspired by the work I am doing for the Coastguard Association today – ISo160, F8, 1/80sec

Following the inspiration I have seen on other posts – I then choose to crop tighter to try and get the image to tell a story – I also edited the colours in lightroom to create a more muted image – I stuck to a square crop as instagram flatlays are usually a square crop. I like this image – it tells a story … coastguard, raffle, pen to write peoples names on …  and is perfect for a blog post!

Close Crop - faded - ISO160, F8, 1/80sec
Close Crop – faded – ISO160, F8, 1/80sec

So what I have learnt

  • Light is essential, I need to learn more about light
  • Less is more
  • Flatlays and still life images need to tell a story – you need to think about what to include, and equally what not to include
  • I have so much more to learn!

Day 266 – Photography for Blogs – Part 1

I am doing an online course called Photography for Bloggers – I am not a blogger … or I wasn’t a blogger before I started my 365 project – but I might be. I share information online though this web site and through a variety of work related Facebook pages, so I can going to try include the old relevant post relating to the course as I hopefully my eyes are open into a new direction.

The course is not aimed at photographers necessarily… it is aimed at bloggers creating images to go with their content – this is different to someone blogging about photography…. you can take the photos on any device, but I am hoping it will increase my awareness in a different direction.

Week one, and I already challenge – produce a “flatlay” – great … I have never heard of a flatlay. But will a little research and watching the tutorials I am already learning something – a flatlay is a style of still liife photography… so I am going to have a go. It is able composing the subject and taking a photo directly above the subject on a horizontal plain with lovely lighting.

You have to consider:

  • The backgound
  • The lighting
  • What to include in the image to tell your story – colours have to complement each other, the image had to composed – the position of each detail through about and the end presentation considered.
  • Making sure the camera is positioned correctly … so the image is really a flat lay.

This was way harder than I imagined …

Cooking Flaylay
Cooking Flaylay

I had no idea what to take a picture of – the idea I think is to take something for your blog that relates to your blog content – my blog is about the photography,  but today I am given a blank canvas – I have to create the image rather than see it … and I just don’t know where to go with it.

My first attempt – fresh muffins, chocolate and coffee on a brown background… nice neutral tones, but I really don’t know why I put the marshmallows in – they are not relevant. Looking at the image you have to really think about what to include or what not to include. I also wasn’t on the right horizontal plane – I should not be able to see the side of the cup if the camera was at the right angle … I have a lot to learn.

Beach themed Flatlay
Beach themed Flatlay

A different scene – a different background – coloured paper, sea shells and a pebble … this one I feel works better, but rather than an irregular scattering or stones – I am not sure if the shells work …  I can see this style there definitely working to create interest in a subject – but what is the subject here – a love story on the beach perhaps?

Beauty Backlay
Beauty Backlay

A third attempt … goodies from the bathroom… the colours work really well together – but the background is too textured it is competing with the objects in the foreground. I am not level again … the tutorial said use a tripod – I didn’t … I need to set up my space and do it properly – taking short cuts won’t work … I need to get it right and with still life – you really need to get it right.

The image below – I moved some of the items around, I recomposed and took a different shot – the background is less obvious and it works better – but the lights is not right either.

Beauty Backlay
Beauty Backlay

I have come to the conclusion I need to try again – I can’t just change the subject when the image is not right, I need to come up with a subject that represents my blog post, compose it to tell a story about the article I am writing and try again. Maybe even tomorrow!