4 Easy Steps To Capture Beautiful Photos

November 7, 2014
photography tips, fashion blogger tips, how to take beautiful photos, fashion blog, style by alina

ASK ALINA SERIES: A FASHION BLOGGER GUIDE TO PHOTOGRAPHY

Kyrstin T asks: I was wondering how you achieve your photos to look so great, with the proper use of sunlight in the background but yet it doesn’t seem to catch your face and create a glare.

Hi everyone! I’m kicking off the ASK ALINA SERIES today with a photography tutorial inspired by an email from fab reader Kyrstin T. As you may already know, most of our photos are taken in natural light and specifically in direct sunlight. We love working with sunlight and the mood it creates in our photos. For us, understanding how to work with sunlight has been key to improving the quality of our photos over time. While it does help to have professional gear, achieving proper lighting is the first and most important step in our photography. Here are four best practices we follow and try to master to achieve the desired results in our photos. We hope they’ll help you in your own photography too.

1. Best Time To Take Photos
Whether we’re taking photos in direct sunlight or in the shade,  our best photos are usually the ones taken during the golden hour. This is when the sun is the lowest in the sky, thus creating the perfect conditions to capture well-lit, soft beautiful photos. The golden hour changes by the season and location. To find the golden hour where you live, visit golden-hour.com. The following is approximately when we generally take our photos:  Summer 6pm, Fall 3:30 pm, Winter 2:30 pm and Spring 4 pm.
photography tips, fashion blogger tips, how to take beautiful photos, fashion blog, style by alina

2. Avoid Unwanted Shadows
In order for your face to be evenly lit without any unwanted shadows, try either facing away from the sun or be in the shade when your photos are taken.  Sometimes the sun might come down at an odd angle from where you are, which may be difficult to avoid having any sunlight on your face. In situations like this I usually turn my face away from the sun or use my hand, hair or an accessory to deflect any unwanted light. See the example below.

photography tips, fashion blogger tips, how to take beautiful photos, fashion blog, style by alina

3. Use Buildings & Windows To Enhance Lighting 
In the fall and winter the sun sets 10 minutes earlier every week, which means we constantly have to race against time if we don’t buffer enough time. When the sun starts setting and there is not a lot of light left to work with, we will try to compensate by taking photos near a light wall or window. These objects act as a light reflector and it’s quite effective. Of course, you may choose to use a professional light reflector but we find it cumbersome to handle unless you have an assistant, so we never really use one.

hotography tips, fashion blogger tips, how to take beautiful photos, fashion blog, style by alina

4. Add A Slight Haze
We love a touch of haze as it creates a soft romantic mood in our photos; however, getting that perfect amount of haze without sacrificing clarity is very hard. The haziness you see in the photos is the result of the lens taking in too much sunlight. The best way minimize the haze is to change the angle you’re shooting. Sometimes just moving half an inch left or right can make a BIG difference. There is no magic step here even if you have the best camera and lens. You just have to practice until you get it right. :)

photography tips, fashion blogger tips, how to take beautiful photos, fashion blog, style by alina

After taking photos for a year now, we feel like there is still a lot to learn! If you’re a photographer or a blogger who has experience with photography, I’d love to get your thoughts and feedback. While we follow these best practices, we know from experience that the final quality of any photo (clarity, color, etc..) is also dependent on the grade of the camera, its settings, the lens and editing techniques. Having said that, achieving good lighting from the very start will significantly reduce the amount time you’ll need to edit the photos.

If you find these tips helpful or have questions, shoot me a message or comment below. If your question is picked, I’ll answer it in our next tutorial post. For reference, our camera is a Canon 6D and lens is EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM. Our photos are edited in Lightroom.

Our Gear

Thanks to Deb Shops for providing wardrobe for this post.

  • Andrea jueong

    This post is very useful.Thank you!
    http://fabuloustorture.blogspot.com

  • NESS

    Awesome post, just what I needed!

    Kisses from Croatia :*

    P.S. visit my blog, I just started writing it, and , as you know, new readers are always welcome :)

    Would You like to follow eachother on GFC ? That way we could stay in touch :)
    Let me know on my blog so I can follow back.

    Happy holidays!

    http://nessielicious.blogspot.com

  • http://www.lovemavin.com Maggie A

    This was very helpful! Thank you for sharing this.

    xo
    Maggie A
    LOVEMAVIN.COM

  • http://www.theeche.com El Mundo

    Wow …great tips and lovely post —thank you for sharing <3
    http://www.theeche.com

  • ShopiKnol

    you are so pretty :) nice tips… thank you so much…!!! <3

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    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      Glad you found them helpful! :)

  • Angela Nguyen

    thankyou for the tip! it’ll help me so much! x

    http://creatingcosmo.blogspot.com

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      You’re welcome Angela! Glad you found the tips helpful. <3

  • Emily

    Thanks for the tips!
    How do you manage to get the background so out of focus and keep yourself in perfect focus? Or is this something done in photoshop?
    -Em xo
    http://www.moonlightchai.com

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      The bokeh effect (blurred background) is created by the lens we use: http://bit.ly/1tNnrwy. It’s an amazing lens. :)

  • Vera Sawicki

    Amazing tips! Love your blog!

    http://www.blondeincashmere.com

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      Thank you Vera!

  • Jess galfo

    great tips! Your photos are always flawless :)

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      Aww thank you babe!

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      So is yours beautiful! <3

  • Lorna

    You are just beautiful! Thank you for all the tips :)

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      Thank you so much Lorna!

  • http://stylesensemoments.blogspot.com/ Marija

    These tips are awesome, we are taking photos for a year now also and really have so many more things to learn. Thanks for sharing ;) xoxo

    http://stylesensemoments.blogspot.com/

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      Your photos are pretty Marija! <3

  • chau

    Thank you for sharing these tips. Do you mind expand on that a little more, like what mode or ISO you set etc…. thanks

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      Glad you found them helpful! =)

  • Jackie Harrison

    Very helpful tips love your tutorial doll you look amazing in shadow or not enjoy your weekend.

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      Thank you so much Jackie!

  • Edwige A.

    Great tips beautiful! Thank you:-)
    Edwige | http://www.hypnozglam.com

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      Thank you Edwige!

  • Joey Steadman

    Thanks for the tips. I just grabbed a 35mm lens and look forward to portraits

    • http://StyleByAlina.com/ StyleByAlina.com

      That’s a great lens for portraits, Joey!