photography tips

Behind the Scenes of a blog photoshoot

October 20, 2015

Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com

You know when you look at photos that people post online and think they’re so great, and maybe you wish that when you baked/cooked/crafted your space looked as cool as that? Me too.

Which is why today’s post is a little look at what goes on behind the camera of my blog post photos! I always love a good behind the scenes post, so I thought maybe you would too :)

Disclaimer: most of these photos are from my phone hence the terrible quality. But that’s real life! That’s why they usually don’t make it to the blog ;)

Okay, here we go!

Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com

Food photography is something that I’ve been in denial about for a long time. I always said I didn’t want to be a food photographer and then always ended up shooting/styling food, and enjoying the process, so I’m finally embracing it!

I got tired of my kitchen counter top real fast (it’s that grey one above) so I went over to Home Depot and bought a couple of different 12×18″ tiles. They’re only about $3-5 each, and if I’m shooting something small then I can make it work with just one. But really, for that price you could buy a bunch of the same and create your own bigger faux table top.

I’ll throw in some sort of tea towel (these IKEA ones are everywhere. Because they’re so perfect… and um.. $0.70 each) or fabric to break up the space. I really need to get some fabric or cloth napkins that aren’t just white, but until then these work. And I’m not sick of the way they look yet ;)

As for props, I try and keep it fairly simple. I start with the things that need to be in the frame and position them where I think they look good. Then I add in other things one at a time and try them in different places until I’m happy with it. I don’t have a giant prop closet, and don’t like buying things just to use once, so I find things to use from around the house. Just keeps my creative muscles working ;)

Behind the Scenes of Food Photography for The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.comBehind the Scenes of Food Photography for The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.comBehind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com

If I’m shooting during the day then natural light is my best friend. I use a low table (IKEA Lack tables are the perfect height for shooting from above) and put it near a big window with the most soft light – meaning light that doesn’t cause hard shadows. I also use a couple of pieces of white foam core (white bristol board or paper works too) as reflectors to bounce the light back into the shadow side of my setup. I’ll use an off-camera flash for a little something extra if it suits it too. The warm looking ‘sunshine’ in the rhubarb crisp photo above is actually my flash with an orange filter on it.

Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com

If I don’t have natural light I fake it all with studio lights like I did for the blood orange lemonade post. Sadly, I can’t find any iPhone photos of the set up of it, but it was basically like the other ones above except instead of a window I used a giant softbox.

I also used to shoot sooo many more photos then I needed. Depending on the post I use about 4-6 photos, and if I use any for my website its usually only 1 or 2. So when you take 50+ it’s a little hard, and time consuming, to narrow down.

Now I plan out 3-4 specific shots: from above, straight on, close-up detail, and with a person/hand/etc. This makes me focus more on getting one fantastic photo from each scenario which I’m usually way happier with. Of course there are still times when one angle works better then another, or I still end up shooting way more then I need, but it’s a good place to start and keeps me going when I feel like I’m out of ideas.

Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.comBehind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com

For my brunch post last year (click part 1 and part 2 to see the whole thing) I wanted to do something different so I cleared out our dining room, moved in a dresser, and used that as my setting. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery! But I wasn’t 100% in love with the photos I got out of this one and I think it’s because I was just trying to do too much by myself. This is a great example of how collaborating with other creatives would’ve made this much more successful. When you can focus on making your thing (cooking, styling, photography, etc) the best the result is a lot more satisfying. Lessons learned!

Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.comBehind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com

And sometimes it’s more fun to play with dinosaurs instead of food #ihaveethisthingwithdinosaurs #rawr

Click HERE to download the free iPhone wallpaper I made with these guys.

Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com

I love the getting ready process with shoots that have hair and makeup so I couldn’t leave out the lovely ladies from my Flock Boutique shoot this spring! Mandi Hutchinson did such a great job and they looked perfect for the shoot!

Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com Behind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.comBehind the Scenes of The Lovely Things blog photoshoots // www.thelovelythings.com

Well, I hope this gave you some insight into the not-so-perfect reality of blog shoots. If you have any questions let me know in the comments! I’d love to see your blogs too so share your links and I’ll check ’em out!

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