Taking Pretty Pictures: What I’ve Learned

Y’all. I was going to title this, “how I take my top-notch selfies,” but that title is so comical that I had to change it.

 

I was going through my older posts and just shaking my head at some of the pictures. I still have a lot to learn, but praise God I have come a long way! Lol! I’m talking about food photography for sure, but, to be honest, I’m going to talk about how I take my selfies. LOL!

There’s a LOT of things I have learned about photography since starting this blog, and I’m going to break all of it down below. But first, I do want to acknowledge the elephant in the room and that is that I am my own photographer. Sometimes a friend of mine will take a beautiful picture of me, and I’ll post it, but for the most part, I get inspired spontaneously, and I’m the one that runs and grabs my camera to take my own photos.

Here’s a few of my favorite selfies:

 

 

I know what you’re thinking. “YOU took these? But how? You’re not even holding the camera!”

And that kind of closed minded thinking is what is preventing you from taking bomb ass pictures. I’m kidding… kind of.

Here’s what you’re missing: self-timer. Honey, you can’t even spell selfie without self-timer.

 

So here’s my Lesson One of taking social media worthy gems: Self Timer.

The newer iPhone’s actually take “bursts” when you turn on the self timer. That means you can move around after the final flash. You can chose from 3 seconds to 10 seconds, watch the flash blink at you, and then the iPhone will take 10 photos real quick! Which is super cool if you want to do an action shot; like you and a friend jumping into the pool. Or, if the wind is blowing all over the place and you really need at least 10 photos to find the one good one, (or 50, if you’re anything like me).

Lesson Two is Lighting.

Lets compare an old photo from the beginning of the blog to a new one, shall we?

Lighting is so important, y’all. So important. I really did think the first picture was pretty great. Lol, I’m dying. I was using my expensive ring light and everything! There’s QUITE a few things I’ve learned about using lights. How to cast shadows, how to avoid over-exposure, and how having the light directly above the plate/person/thing is NOT the best position for it. At all.

But, what I’ve really learned is how important natural light is. The second picture was shot right in front of my back door on a small collapsible table with daylight pouring in through the glass. I hardly have to edit any of the photos with the natural light, where before I was spending hours in Lightroom and Photoshop trying to get the pictures to look halfway decent!

Before taking a picture, make sure the object you are shooting is well lit. Play with shadows, move the object around. Never take a photo with the sun behind you. That’s lighting 101. Never, ever, do it.

I think the best way to master lighting is through a lot of trial and error. Have fun!

 

Lesson Three: Background

Oops.

I was constantly doing the most with my background when I should have been doing the LEAST. I mean, I don’t want my background to be completely bare, but it does need to be less distracting. Way less.

Let’s compare:

 

hehehehehe

When I first started blogging, I really wanted my background to match the theme of whatever I was making. There’s little sequined pumpkins in like 5 different posts from back then. I thought that each photo, not just the final few, had to have the back ground visible instead of just focusing on the step of the process.

See how much cleaner and more attractive the picture of the oats is compared to the witches fingers? Less is sooo much more. Even when taking selfies, keep the background minimal.

 

Lesson Four: Take the picture for you, not for people around you.

This is mainly for selfies, but if you love walking around downtown and taking pictures of the yummy food your city has to offer, or if you want a picture in front of a brightly colored building, but there’s not really anyone you can ask to take one for you (or anyone you trust to take a good picture- LETS BE HONEST), DON’T BE AFRAID TO TAKE IT YOURSELF.

Seriously, the selfie shaming that people do these days is laughable.

“OMG, look at that girl taking a picture of herself, she is so conceited.”

“UGH, I hate it when people take pictures of their food, JUST EAT IT ALREADY!”

I always think it’s cute when I hear people complain about people taking pictures of their food because of SO many reasons.

A) there’s a 99.9% chance that the person is going to share their picture, and someone is going to see it and say, “yum I want to go there!” which leads to:

B) more business for said place. Who cares if it’s a popular place like Starbucks? Someone is sharing their drink and people are seeing it, that’s free advertisement. Esp if it’s a small restaurant that needs the free publicity, maybe you should be considerate and take a photo of your plate and share it. Just sayin!

C) maybe their plate has a toe nail on it and they’re about to let Yelp know!! Do you leave reviews on Yelp? Do you help out visitors like that? No? Then don’t complain about people taking pictures for you and letting you know what they think.

D) Has your friend ever posted a picture of the BEST TACO EVER from a cute Tex-Mex restaurant that you now want to try? Did you “like” that photo, or better yet, comment on it and say, “OMG so yum! I need to try these!” If you’ve answered yes, then close your eyes and imagine your friend self consciously pulling out his/her phone to take a picture of her food at the restaurant, and some cynical person making a snarky, rude remark about it. Does that make you feel uncomfortable? Good. Stop being that person.

 

Now, for the people who are still self conscience about taking selfies in public I want you to know that every single selfie I took above, there were people around, and all of them stared.

People were totally judging me for being in heels at the lake, by myself, taking selfies. But, ya know what, that picture is one of my mama’s favorites and I never would have gotten it if I was insecure about what complete strangers thought of me.

I’ve had cars honk at me while they’ve drove by, I’ve heard mom’s at the pool say things like, “I’m just waiting for her camera to fall in. I can’t take my eyes away.” But not only is my camera still 100% dry, but those pictures I took are bomb and your 14 year old girls are wishing they could take pictures like mine. And so are you.

 

I’m NOT concerned with what other people think when I take a selfie. I don’t take a million selfies (I left high school a long time ago), but when I do, you bet I can feel the judgment radiating off of the strangers that walk by.

Please do yourself a favor and stop caring about what people think. My Instagram is my own digital scrap book. My mom has boxes of photos under her bed, and I have hundred of photos on my computer.  I pick out my favorites and add them to my digital scrap book, and she still wants me to come over to scan her photos into the computer so she can have a digital scrap book, lol. Times are changing. You can either accept it, or be a cynical, judgemental turd that makes other people feel bad.

Don’t be a turd.

Just take pretty pictures 😀

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Mama Sherry
    July 17, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    I love it ❤️❤️❤️

  2. alex
    February 8, 2018 / 3:07 pm

    you have come SUCH a long way, and you’re still growing! i’m so impressed. you inspire me, girl

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