Lifestyle | 8th October 2015

Photography Tips for Bloggers: Part 1

I shared with you all on Twitter a few weeks back that I would be doing a mini-series of posts on Photography tips for bloggers.  Finally after the madness of my Wedding, Minimoon and Paris Fashion Week I can now bring you the first instalment!

I’ve been working with Olympus since the summer and I’m sure you’ve all seen this camera that bloggers are raving about, the Olympus Pen E-PL7.  This entire series, along with the majority of pictures on my blog have all been shot with this genius little camera.  I guess the point I’m trying to get across is that you can be a blogger and create incredible imagery without having to buy a 5D!

I’ll give you a little more info on this camera to start off with because there are so many reasons why it’s now become the must have piece of kit for bloggers.  Firstly it’s a compact, therefore the size and weight instantly won me over.  For years I’ve lugged around my huge DSLR (plus lenses) to events, shoots and fashion weeks; they’re pretty damn heavy, not to mention the fact that they barely fit in any handbag I own.  A chunky DSLR pulling down your shoulder is not a good look!  Not only is the camera itself small and lightweight but so are the lenses which accompany it, I have a 45mm and a 75mm along with the pancake kit lens which came with the camera and I haven’t struggled to carry these around with me.
Secondly the Pen has integrated WiFi which for bloggers is a must!  I pride myself on my imagery, even when it comes to my Instagram images, they have to be the highest quality.  With the Pen it allows you to connect straight to your iPhone, so you can download those amazing quality photos in seconds which is great for when you’re out and about at events and when an iPhone photo just doesn’t cut it.
And lastly (well just for today, there will be more info throughout the rest of the series) the price tag.  This camera starts at £409 (depending on colour and package) which is incredible value for money!  Additional lenses obviously will add to the cost of your blogger kit but I would definitely advise buying this and the 45mm (£149) lens over an entry point Canon or Nikon DSLR!


  1. Use reflections.  Ok yes so I may live in London and be spoilt for choice for big tall shiny buildings but location doesn’t have to come into it.  So if you don’t live in a city why not try, a cafe window, a metallic surface (for detailed shots), a mirror and even your sunglasses…you just need to think outside the box.  Play around with your angles and experiment but don’t forget to double check your shots for the reflection of your photographer 😉

2.  Creating the blur.  If there’s one thing that all bloggers want in their images, it’s the blurred effect.  If we go back to photography basics this all comes down to the lens, you need a lens with a low f stop (aperture), I use this 45mm or this 75mm which both have a lowest f stop of 1.8.  Remember to shoot in Aperture Priority mode (which is the ‘A’ on the top dial on the Olympus Pen).  If you have no depth of field in the shot, i.e. your back drop is a flat surface which is close to your subject then you won’t achieve the blurry background to, so my tip is to to blur something in the fore ground to give your picture more depth, this lamp post for example.  It could be a post, a railing, or even something small which you can hold in front of lens to create that effect (don’t worry it will be so close to the camera you won’t be able to tell what it is).  Just make sure your focus square is on the subject you want to be crisp and that is incredibly easy to do with the Pen thanks to it’s touch screen.

3.  Get low.  I find shoe shots the most difficult to be creative with, especially when wearing flats.  My tip is to get low, don’t shoot from above.  My apologies to those husbands, boyfriends and unsuspecting friends out there who you have roped into taking your shots but they are going to need to get on the floor.  It’s not all bad, the beauty of this camera though is that with the flip screen they will only need to crouch down and they can have the camera as low as possible and still see what they are shooting.  The advantage to getting low is you will be able to achieve a greater depth of field (blurred background).

3.  Use props.  Yes it’s the obligatory ‘Starbucks shot’ but you know what, it works.  We all drink coffee, ok that’s a lie, I actually have hot chocolate with a months worth of calories in spray cream on the top in my Starbucks cup, but you get the gist.  It’s natural and not forced or set up, and that’s what I like my photography to be about, looking natural.  So to get those detailed shots of nails and jewellery use props, don’t just hold your hands out in an un-natural position.  If you’re not a fan of the ‘Starbucks shot’ try holding a pair of sunglasses, using your phone, or perhaps looking inside your wallet or handbag, it’s an everyday thing we all do to make your photos more realistic and also relatable to your readers.

4.  Prepare your Inspo.  When I’m shooting a big brand collaboration I like to really go all out and research the type of post that I want to be creating.  What vibes are you going for with your look? 70’s, modern, norm core, grunge, beachy?  Pinterest is a wonderful tool, use it to find inspiration for the type of shots you want to achieve.  I sat down with Jay, my photographer who shot this post and we searched Pinterest for ‘city shoots’ and decided on a DKNY campaign style theme.  Once you have a clear focus in your head on the type of shots you want to create your shooting time should decrease and if you use a less creative person than yourself to take your pictures (because yes, not everyone has a professional photographer at their disposal), this will give them a visual idea of what you’re looking for.

Another great site for getting inspo for your posts is Fashion Editorials.

There are 3 more posts to come in this series with more photography tips and tricks, hints and shortcuts for shooting with the Olympus Pen, flat lay 101, and also a special post on editing with Lightroom, all this to come over the next 3 weeks.

This post was shot with the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and the 45mm and 75mm Lenses
Photography by Jay McLaughlin

O U T F I T  D E T A I L S

Jeans – Levis
Blazer – New Look
Shirt – H&M (Similar here)
Shoes – ASOS
Bag – Topshop
Sunglasses – Yesstyle
Bracelet – Forever 21 (Similar here)

S H O P  T H E  P O S T


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