A couple of weeks ago, I documented the process of this photoshoot on one of my Instagram stories, and, as I was doing it, it occurred to me that it might make for an interesting blog post, too.
I mean, not if you’re a fashion blogger, obviously – or any kind of blogger who regularly has to take photos, really. If you do that, then you already know what’s involved in getting those shots, so, you know, move along, nothing to see here. From the various conversations I’ve had with non-blogger friends, however, I know that the whole process of blogging can be a bit of mystery, so today I thought I’d set about de-mystifying a little bit of it, by taking you behind the scenes of an in indoor photo shoot…
(Oh, and before we get started, I should probably say that these photos were all taken with my phone, in extremely low light, so apologies for the quality!)
The clothes for this particular post arrived about a week before the post went live. In this particular case, I wasn’t given a deadline for the post which was a huge relief, because the day after the items arrived, I came down with a heavy cold/flu, and was totally out of action for the next few days. (Even if I had decided to force myself to shoot the photos anyway, I don’t think there’s enough makeup in the world to have hidden my red nose and under-eye baggage…) This kind of situation, however, is pretty unusual: most of the time, I’ll be given a strict deadline, and invariably a really tight one, too. It’s not unusual for me to receive items on a Friday, say, for a Monday morning deadline, which basically means I have to cancel my weekend plans to try to get a post together – not fun.
(Well, I mean, it IS fun compared to some other jobs I’ve had, obviously – this isn’t supposed to be a whine-fest about how hard my job is, or anything like that – but you know what I mean…)
Once everything has arrived, my first job (And this bit really IS fun, not gonna lie), is to try each item on, to make sure it fits, and is going to be suitable for the blog. In this case, I shop with Boden frequently enough to have a good idea of their quality and sizing, so there weren’t any issues, but if something doesn’t fit properly, or I just don’t feel it’s something I would wear, I would get back in contact with the brand at this point, and arrange to either exchange or return it: there’s just no benefit to either of us for me to take photos in something I don’t feel comfortable in, so I think it’s best to be honest if something doesn’t work out.
While I’m trying everything on, I’ll also normally have a little play around in my closet, trying different combinations, and working out how I’ll style the items when it’s time to photograph them. I don’t actually go as far as to write anything down here, and sometimes I’ll change my mind at the last minute, but it’s always good to have at least some idea of what I’m going to be shooting!
Next, it’s time to get ready:
(I like to listen to music while I’m doing my hair – helps ease the boredom!)
Most (although not all) of the outdoor outfit photos you see on the blog are taken when I’m on my way out somewhere anyway, so my outfit, hair/makeup etc are chosen with whatever it is I’m going to be doing in mind, as opposed to how well it’ll all photograph. When I’m wearing something specifically for the purpose of photographing it, though, I’ll generally make a bit more effort: I tend to find that, if I’m having photos taken, I need to wear a bit more makeup than I’d normally wear (or I just end up looking like I don’t have any features at all, basically), so here I am, plastering on the slap, while my long-suffering assistant (a.k.a. Terry) is down in the office, setting up the camera and lights, assisted by Rubin, who was absolutely fascinated by the whole process:
For these photos, we had some spare planks of the flooring we have in our bedroom lying around, so we decided to put them on top of the carpet, to create a better backdrop. That’s not something I normally do, and I don’t really think it made much difference, but I’m always looking for ways to make these indoor shots look a bit better, so it was worth a shot!
It was still light outside at this point, but it’s much too dark indoors to get decent shots without extra lighting, so I used one of my two studio lights (I would have used them both, but there wasn’t enough space in the room!), plus an external flash on the camera (Which is a Nikon D7000, if you’re particularly interested…), with a diffuser attachment on top of that. Er, yeah, I really wasn’t joking when I said there’s not much light at this time of year!
I talked quite a bit about my photography kit in my Photography Tips for Bloggers post, so go and have a read at that if you want some more info on any of this stuff. Suffice it to say that it’s a bit of a pain having to set everything up (I really, really envy bloggers who live in warmer/drier climates, and can take all of their photos outdoors in natural light!), but it’s really the only way I can get useable photos at this time of year – and sometimes in spring and summer, too, if it’s a particularly dull day.
Once I’ve finished getting ready, I come downstairs, where Terry takes a few test shots to make sure the lighting and focus is OK, and Rubin sits and watches me, like I’m his favourite TV show EVER:
(He literally didn’t move from that spot the whole time I was shooting. It was flattering and, well, a little bit creepy, to be honest…)
After that, Terry hands over the camera remote, and I take the rest of the photos myself. If I’m just shooting a single outfit, I’ll normally just get Terry to quickly take a few snaps, but if I’m going to be shooting a few outfits in one go, I’ll just use the remote, rather than take up too much of his time. Quite apart from that, I get weirdly self-conscious having my photo taken indoors, for some reason: it doesn’t really bother me when we’re out and about, but when I’m standing in my own office, I get really awkward, and don’t know what to do with myself, so I will take most of the phoots myself, although Terry did have to take the camera for the jumping shots, because I’m just not coordinated to be able to jump AND click the remote at exactly the right time, apparently.
On this particular day, I think it took around an hour and a half to get all of the photos I needed. My work still wasn’t done, though, because once I’d packed away all of the photography equipment, it was time to sit down and take a look through the photos:
There were a LOT of photos: a LOT of photos. Most of them, however, got instantly rejected, because, well, they looked like THIS:
OK, they didn’t ALL look like this, but, for any given set of photos, I can more or less guarantee that I’ll have my eyes closed, be pulling some strange face, or just generally looking awkward in around 90% of them: true story. As for the rest, it will normally take me another hour or so to sort through them all, and then edit them in Photoshop, to get them ready for the blog. Even with all of that extra lighting, indoor photos will still come out too dark to use without a bit of editing, and I also have to re-size them all before uploading, so that was my final task of the day.
Then, after all of that, I can actually start writing the post – which is actually the easiest part of the whole process for me!
So, I hope you enjoyed this little look behind the scenes of blogging life: maybe next week I’ll do a behind-the-scenes of my behind-the-scenes post, just to really confuse things. Or, OK, maybe not…