Pimp my instagram
February 3, 2013 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Pro tips or tutorials on taking A Beautiful Mess style photos please.

I am wondering how to take pretty girly blog type photos looking at those from blogs like a beautiful mess or more artsy vintage ones like these.
I am going to start off with using my Samsung galaxy phone but I have a Canon G9 at my disposal... My brother has a DLSR which is happy to lend me. I am a complete beginner and was hoping for your pro-tips on lighting, composition, things like shutter speed and aperture and ISO, or any photography tutorials you might know of that are useful for taking stylish (rather than technically well-done but stock photo style) photographs because google mainly directs me to those.

Thanks =)
posted by dinosaurprincess to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Most of the shots on A Beautiful Mess usually look like they were taken in natural light, so in a very well lit kitchen or living room. This is probably the most important thing to remember when photographing. Natural sunlight will always look the best.

If you are looking for beginner photography help (which often deal with lighting, composition, understanding shutter speed and aperture) I would suggest taking a class at a community college or if you are in university, looking into the art department. If you are opposed to taking a class then the tips here at A Beautiful Mess are pretty useful for getting your photos to look more like theirs. Also you could look for beginning photography tutorials in google. Even though they often give tips on how to shoot polished stock photos, you can still use those techniques to make artsy-fartsy girly blog photos. More than anything, it just takes a lot of practice to take well composed and well-lit photographs.
posted by ruhroh at 6:50 PM on February 3, 2013

The first thing that ruhroh touched on is probably the most important for taking product shots like ABM does: natural light. More specifically, diffused natural light. If you look here or here or here or here or here you'll notice that not a one of those has harsh shadows. Diffused lighting can be created by putting anything gauzy between your light source (usually the closest window) and your product OR by waiting until the light is not coming streaming directly in the window. North light (i.e. light coming in from north-facing windows) is usually pretty awesome for this because there are few-to-no times of year that sunlight will ever come streaming in.

There's also a lot of contrast adjustment going on in their photos. Problem is I can't tell you which way to go with your photos since they're working from both ends and you would have to as well. For example: the original of this photo was probably pretty high-contrast and they've lowered it to make the whole thing softer to mimic the aforementioned soft natural light. On the other hand, this probably had almost no contrast originally so they've upped it to make it interesting instead of flat and boring.

Color balance is also something they're playing with (though not as much as I'd originally anticipated). This image was nowhere near as purple-magenta originally, I'm sure.

Finally, what odinsdream said is true: the shallower depth of field evident in some of these photos is obtainable only through a piece of fancy glass, and likely not able to be reproduced by your phone, maybe not by that G9, and possibly not even the DSLR if all that you're handed is the standard 18-55mm kit lens. Nikon and Canon both have a 50mm f/1.8 lens that retails for sub-$100 and that'll make depth of field for days if you're doing product shots.

Lagniappe: they do a good job with that number one rule of casual food photography in never showing the whole plate.
posted by komara at 9:02 PM on February 3, 2013

« Older the perils of being good with people   |   I adore him, but find his health problems a turn... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.