This is the first in a 4-part post series brought to you by ASOS Fashion Finder, dedicated to helping you showcase and promote your personal style through photography, social media and smart spending.
Smile. Don’t smile. Pop your knee! Stand up straight! Touch your sunglasses! Look to the left! Cross your legs and admire your shoes!
Photographing your personal style is as much about what happens in front of the camera as what happens behind it. In this post we have tips for both sides of the lens, whether you’re taking the photos, posing for them – or both! Whether you use a point-and-shoot or a DSLR, these tips will help you look your best in every photo.
If you’re on both sides of the lens:
- Use a tripod: Trust us, trying to prop your camera up on all manner of household objects rarely produces the results you want (and you risk damaging your camera). Photojojo has all kinds of tripods (and much more).
- If you have a camera that allows for it, a remote works better than the self timer feature (and makes shooting much easier and faster).
- Set the self timer: If you don’t have a remote, set the timer for the longest setting (usually about 10 seconds)
- Take a few test shots to figure out how long it takes you to get from the camera to where you want to stand, and perhaps even put a marker on the ground.
Photography Hot Tips:
- Natural light is your friend. Try to shoot outdoors as much as you can, and without a flash. Don’t be fooled, shade or cloud cover produces a better photo than too much direct sun (lots of shadows).
- Speaking of shadows, watch out for them! Be sure to position yourself so your face and outfit are well lit and there are no crazy shadows falling on you.
- Pay attention to what’s in the background of your photo. Make sure you don’t have a pole or a tree sticking out of the back of your head. If you can’t adjust the depth of field on your camera, a simple, not-too-busy background works best to showcase your look.
- Depending on the location you’re shooting in, you may want to let your readers see the scenery. Try moving farther away from the camera, but for composition, try to remain close to the center of the frame.
- Think about focus. If you’re using a DSLR switch the settings to manually select a focus point – that way you can be sure that your face (bag/necklace/sunglasses) is in focus and not something behind you. Nothing’s worse than a blurry blogger.
- If you’re not very comfortable with adjusting the settings on your DSLR camera (or using a point-and-shoot), the automatic setting should produce great results.
- For full-body shots, shoot vertically. This allows you to show your entire look without having to be too far away from the camera. Aim for having about the distance of your head above and below your head and feet, and center yourself in the frame. It may take a couple of test shots to figure out where the center is.
- For detail shots (shoes, accessories, etc) shoot horizontally so you can get in close. For inspiration, check out the street style photos of STREETFSN and Jak & Jil.
- Play with angles and perspective. Change your shots around to create more visual interest.
- Take way more photos than you think you need – you’ll want a variety to choose from in case your favorites are out of focus or overexposed. (Take the time to do this yourself or direct your photographer to snap constantly as you pose!)
“Well, besides great lighting, make sure your cameraman can make you laugh (I like when personal style photos aren't so serious). I also like close up detail shots so I can really see what you're wearing and what those earrings look like!” – Alicia, Cheetah Is The New Black
- Move around. Clothes are meant for movement, so show how they look when you’re walking, turning, sitting, standing, holding something, opening a door, etc.
- When in doubt – smile. You can feel a desire to take yourself a little more seriously when shooting outfit photos, but a natural smile or a laugh looks genuine and real.
- Try using props. It can make you feel more relaxed to have something in your hands to play with or hold when you’re in front of the camera. This could be a simple as a cup of coffee or your phone or handbag, but you could also walk your dog, pick some flowers or carry an umbrella – get creative!
- Try a still life. If you’re not feeling particularly photographable, arrange looks on a clean floor-space or hanging in front of a blank wall. You can also arrange accessories and jewelry on a table or dress for cool, up-close shots.
“Act natural and don't try too hard. it comes off less believable. also, remain true to your own style vs. trying every trend you think you should be photographed wearing.” – Meghan, Wit & Whimsy
Editing Your Images:
- On an Apple computer, iPhoto works great for cropping, adjusting the exposure, and many other basic editing needs you may have. It’s easy to play around with (and easy to undo mistakes, too)
- There are also easy-to-use, free in-browser editing programs like Pixlr and PicMonkey that allow you to improve and adjust your photos and store them in the cloud.
- For outfit images taken with your phone, Instagram has great filters that are quirky, flattering and fun! (We also like these photo-editing apps.)
- Photoshop can do just about anything if you know how to use it, but even beginners can use it to lighten and darken, increase contrast, make a collage or add text. (There are also many free open source alternatives to photoshop you can use, found here.)
Sharing & Promoting Your Images:
- Beyond posting your photos on your blog, you can promote your look and your site using social sharing sites online such as ASOS Fashion Finder, and more. This is a great way to build traffic and community.
- Share a teaser image on your social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to pique your readers’ curiosity. Don’t forget to provide a link to the post.
- When sharing your looks, be sure to “tag” the brands you’re wearing so they can see your style and share it with their community as well.
For more resources, check out these posts:
[Image credits:Luis Hernandez, Atlantic-Pacific, Cheetah Is the New Black, Tuula and Gary Pepper Vintage.]
I love these ideas and this post. This was very needed especially the part about smiling in pics! I always have goofy smiles and or poses because that is just my personality. Thanks for this post…. Im going to check out ASOS Fashion Finder ASAP!!!
p.s. ipiccy is a GREAT online photo editor as well
Oh yeah! Smiling is so important, often times I tell myself silly jokes to get losened up and smiling.
Thank you so much for this post! I have been searching for photograpphy classes and tips like a mad woman!
Can someone help point me to a tripod that makes it easy to shoot vertically? That’s my biggest problem right now.
Hey there, what do you mean by shooting vertically? Angling your camera so it’s in portrait mode?
If that’s the case, then almost all tripods should do that. I just picked one up from around, you can buy used tripods for cheaper as they get expensive. Or go to Amazon (i just love reviews)
This one goes for about $55 and has a lot of great reveiws, and seems to address your issue.
Yes. The post says, “Shoot vertically” and “Use a tripod” but my current tripod doesn’t bend. You can only set the camera on it horizontally. I’ve tried bendable tripods like Gorrilapod, but I can’t get my camera to hang at a perfect 90-degree angle. It’s always off, and the photos end up tilted. Thanks for the link!
Oooh yeah, well, let’s see, some tripods have levels built into them, maybe look for one that has it so you can get that perfect 90°
Thanks for this post. It’s always so hard to get decent pics when you’re photographing yourself. Bloggers who have help (whether paid or pro bono) are SOOOO LUCKY!
I agree, it’s always nice to have help. But I have to say from my own experience, I learned a great deal from doing it myself. If I lived in a less busy part of town, I would still be setting up my tripod and doing my own photos, there is a lot that you can do with a tripod, and you also get to really learn how to take photos! Which always comes in handy!
Another question about remote. Do people use the remotes to start the timer and then drop the remote or hide it in a pocket? Personally, I hate photos where you can see the remote in the person’s hand.
Yes, you can set it either to firing automatically or with a delay, it really depends on your camera, but most slr’s have both!
People have come to think that me playing with or touching my hair in photos is my “signature pose” but I am often hiding my remote when I do it! Ha!
Clever and cute!
SO HELPFUL. I feel really weird taking pictures of myself, and I feel like they always look unnatural. Great tips.
Thanks for this post! Now i don’t feel so camera shy. I’m going to start doing OOTD 🙂
It was my constant query, but this tutorial saved my life, now I know how take my photos alone and without timer…
i just started doing OOTD so this would help me a lot!
Thanks for this post! My husband has beeen my photog but work has been super busy…we’re missing daylight! I’m going to have to take some pics myself…this was very helpful!
Nice post. I like the tips; they’re pretty comprehensive, covering most of what a starting-off self-photographed blogger would need. Thanks!
Great post. I am really committed to getting a tripod and remote. I am so afraid of breaking my new camera!
I also have to venture out to different neighbourhoods to add some visual interest to the background of my style shots.
Definitely inspired, looking forward to the rest of the series.
Great article and I LOVE the video of you Jennine! I was getting ready to purchase a new camera so now I know what to focus at. xoxo
I love pixlr.com! I will have to try PicMonkey next. I’ve been doing quick shots and edits on my phone for blogging, but I love the tips here and will have to implement them in my next few posts! Xo
Jennine, what do you set your aperture to? I don’t generally take outfit shots but I love your practical step by step guide right down to the height you set the tripod at.
This is exactly what I’ve been wondering! Thank you so much!
I love to work with an external flash, but i only use it inside! I have a lot of white walls in my house, so it is perfect for an external flash use! When I go outside I test the surroundings, I take pictures from every side to see where the light is the best! I adapt my camera to the light. I always use S or A (Nikon)! And my 35 mm 1.8 for detail shots! With detail shots I always create a depth. Sometimes a photo looks great on the little screen, but on my imac, it looks a little bit blurry! So take as many shots as you can! Oh and feel comfortable, go where there are not too many people! You are posing in front of the camera and it can look a little bit awkward.
I always smile because I look really sour when I am not (I am not a model, so I need to smile)! Stick your chest out, otherwise it looks as if you are too shy. Moving is not that easy to shoot, you need a good camera and photographer!
Great tips!! But I am surprised that you did not mention GIMP as a great editing tool. It’s a free download and it comparable to Photoshop. Love it! My problem is the posing. Tough as hell. I don’t know what to do with my arms. So I keep them straight alongside my torso. It’s especially hard to pose when you are taking your own photographs.
thank you so much for another great article, I am just starting out with my blog so right now I am like a sponge, taking all this new information in!
So helpful! I got a lot of good tips 🙂