How To Take Professional Photos, By Yourself!

One of the biggest questions I get asked since starting the blog is “who takes your photos?”. When I tell them I take my own photos, most respond with a shocked look on their face and are curious to know how I do it!

During the holidays, there will be lots of moments where you will want to take photos of you and your family, but nothing is more frustrating than trying to take photos, and having them not turn out right.

Taking good quality photos doesn’t always mean you need the best camera and a professional to take them for you. I’m going to walk you through how I take all my own photos and edit them, so you can take great family photos yourself this holiday season!

Lighting Is Everything

When I am taking my photos, the one thing I focus on most is the lighting. Natural lighting is best because it softly diffuses the image and the colours are the most realistic. 

When you are using natural lighting inside, you want to be facing a window but not standing right in front of it, as that can leave your photos being over exposed. Standing back from the window light keeps your photos bright, but diffused so it doesn’t wash your photos out.

 I try to take all my photos in the same lighting so that when I edit them, they all look cohesive. This is not overly important, but it’s an extra step that can make your photos look more professional.

For times when I don’t have as much natural light as I’d like, or I am taking makeup shots, I use my ring light instead. Of course, this is not a necessity, however, I wanted to share it with you in case you were interested!

Use The Highest Quality Camera You Can

You can take great photos without using an overly expensive camera, but you want to make sure you’re using the highest quality camera that you own. If you are using your phone for your photos, you’ll want to use the back camera, as it has a higher image quality. 

I take all my photos on my Sony A5000 camera and it has done a great job. It’s not an overly expensive camera but it takes high quality photos. It has a flip screen so you can see yourself, plus it has smart remote application, which I will touch on in my next tip!

Self Timer and A Tripod

This is how I take all of my shots when I’m by myself. My camera has a smart remote application, which allows me to use my phone as a remote to take the photos. I also use the self timer since I can easily push the button and run into the frame for the picture!

When I am taking my photos, I set my camera up on a tripod in front of a window and put on the self timer. I also use my phone or the flip screen to try out different positions before I start taking photos. It’s nice to be able to see yourself before you start taking the shots so you can get an idea of what will look good in the pictures.

Keep Your Subjects Close

When you are setting up and taking your photos, you want to position your subjects so there are no empty spaces.

And example of this would be, if you are taking  family picture, you want to make sure that all of the people standing together are close enough that there are no gaps. This makes the photo more visually appealing and helps the eyes focus on the main subjects of the picture.

Subtle Editing

I edit all my photos to make sure the colours are showing up correctly and to fix any minor lighting issues that there might be. I am not a fan of the heavy editing so I keep my changes to a minimum.

I edit all of my photos on my phone and I use a couple of different apps depending on what needs to be fixed. The main app I use is Adobe Lightroom and this is where I adjust all of the colouring of my photos. I edit every photo the same way to ensure a cohesive look. Adobe Lightroon is great because you can create a preset you like and save it to use every time you go to edit photos. If you are interested in the presets I have made, let me know! I am considering putting together a package of different presets. Leave me a comment below if you’d be interested in that! I currently edit all of my Instagram photos with one preset and all of my blog photos with another.

Another great app I use is the Snapseed app. I mainly use this one for editing out things in my backgrounds which I don’t want in my photos (i.e. lights switches, scuffs on my table, etc.). Snapseed has a healing tool which can spot correct areas in your pictures and is how I edit out the things I don’t want in my photos. 

 

Using these simple techniques to take your photos will drastically help you improve your holiday pictures this season! You don’t have to be a professional to take good family photos. Having these helpful tips and tricks will make all the difference.

Don’t forget to leave me a quick comment if you are interested in a preset package in the new year 🙂

Talk soon xoxo

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