My Creative Process: Photography

My Creative Process: Photography

I am asked all the time about my photography set-up and how I take my photographs; I am not a professional photographer, I learned from messing about with cameras and learning what I can do with them. There are plenty of amazing resources online that can teach you the technical side of photography.

While I am never going to write a "how to" photography post about how I take or edit my photographs (because that would take away the magic) I thought I could at least share my set-up.

The Cameras
I use a Canon 550D with the 18-55mm kit lens (I don't own or use any other lenses) for almost every shot taken for the blog and shop. I do occasionally use a Canon G12 PowerShot that I take everywhere with me because it’s so tiny and portable, unlike the 550D which gives me neck ache. I have a few standard settings I like to keep my cameras on and I mess about with the ISO and shutter speed where appropriate.

Settings and Lighting
For my flat lay shots I take photographs on a white surface - literally any white surface - preferably under a large window, in natural light. I loathe setting up the tripod to take photographs on days when the lighting is rubbish but I will if I have to. Owning a tripod and camera remote are incredibly useful and affordable pieces of kit to have. I use both for taking shots in the studio. For outdoor shots, I have a few standard settings I like to use but I play about with them to get the lighting right. Knowing when you can and can’t take a photograph based on the lighting conditions is super important, sometimes you just can’t take a photograph and you have to learn to live with that.

Editing is really important. I edit every single photograph I take and it makes them infinitely better than the original. If you don’t edit your photographs, you’re missing where the magic happens. Don’t be fooled into thinking photoshop is the devil, it’s quite the opposite. All photographs look better with a little (or a lot of) editing plus it can turn mediocre photographs into something amazing. I guess this might be an unpopular opinion because editing software like Adobe Photoshop doesn’t come cheap but I consider editing software to be more important than having an expensive camera.

On Photography In General
Having an expensive camera will not make you a better photographer; a good camera can only make photographs look clearer and brighter, it can’t teach you how to see good shots. It’s really important to understand that using the same combination of set-up and tools won’t produce the same photographs as someone else - and that’s a good thing. Learn from others but develop your own way of doing things. If you want to achieve a certain style, look at photographers you admire and photographs you like and see if you can replicate that aesthetic in your own way. It’s easier to learn when you are working towards a specific goal. But photography is just as much about personality as it is about the camera and set-up.

It’s really important to play around with your camera, practise taking photographs, and mess around with the settings; learn how lighting works and develop your photography skills over time. Discover how to do things in your own way; it’s all about practice, that’s all there is to learning. Oh and edit your photographs.