Sunday, May 25, 2014

How-to Take the Best Outfit Shots (Part one: The Camera)

I'm super excited to kick of my "Blogging Series" with this post. While I don't often take my own photos any more, my boyfriend and I work together to create the perfect shots. He's got the technical photographer eye and I've got the sense of what makes a great style photo. Together we've learned some tricks and I'm going to share them with you. Thanks Ashley for suggesting this as a post!

Learn your camera: No need to be redundant here, but learn your camera. You don't need the $2000 set up or lenses. Sure it helps, but nothing beats learning the settings of your camera. Ditch the auto shooting and get educated. There are plenty of resources on the internet about camera bodies, lenses, what white balance, aperture, and shutter speed mean. Learn it. Remember: The camera doesn't take the "good" photos, you do. So, even if you spend a lot of money and don't bother to learn the camera, chances are your photos won't be any better.

Location, location, location: Some people think the background does not matter and that's okay. But for me, the location is the most fun. It takes the photo from "the middle of suburbia" to "editorial". Not only does it step up your photos, it also makes outfit taking an adventure. Look at the difference of the two photos above. I could've stuck with the weird brick, but I moved. The background and lighting were much better.

Ideas: Rundown buildings, brick streets, brick buildings, open fields, grassy paths at the park.

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Photos I snapped of Abby
Positioning & zooming: The way a camera is held is very important. When I ask people to take my photo, I notice they naturally stand at eye level and shoot. This is not flattering for anyone's body. Also don't be afraid to get close, bend down, zoom, and make the subject fill up the majority of the frame. Be weary of titling the camera upwards though because it creates a bad angle. Photos that are very far away do not make sense for style photos.

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Lighting: This is obvious. Do not shoot at the brightest hour and do not shoot in the darkest. Learning your camera will help with this as well. If you are shooting and it's bright, find shade. Overcast days are perfect for outfit photos.

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Shoot the details: When getting dressed we sometimes put an emphasis on the small details. Like that cool new necklace or the bracelet arrangement. Those can be lost in body shots. So, it's always fun to get a little more artsy and document it. Plus it enhances the post.

Don't rely on editing, but do edit: A lot of people think that editing is magic and while Photoshop is kind of magical, it doesn't solve everything. I hardly edit my photos because they usually turn out pretty nicely. If I do, it's just brightening them.

Shoot vertical: When using a tripod or even a human, a lot of people shoot horizontal. This is great for detail shots, but not ideal for an entire set of photos. With vertical, you get a great head-to-toe view of the outfit. Horizontal makes the subject smaller and washes out the detail.

The Blogging Series @ Midwest Muse will continue on a semi-regular basis. Covering all aspects of blogging. Got a suggestion or question? Email me at
22 comments on "How-to Take the Best Outfit Shots (Part one: The Camera)"
  1. Yay! I'm so excited to read the rest of this series. I'm sure lots of readers (me included) will benefit from your knowledge :).

  2. Love all the tips. Thanks very much, Jessica for sharing your experience :D


  3. Wow, this is awesome! Skyla and I are total blogging/photo n00bs and learning everything can be so overwhelming. Looking forward to the series!

    Dearest Darling

  4. Such great tips. I love having all different backgrounds for outfit photos, its one of my favorite parts.

  5. Great post! I can't wait to see the rest of your series! I have been doing this for over three years now and I cannot get enough learning about it. It's amazing the tricks you pick up along the way. I love what you say about location--it is one of my favorite parts about OOTD photos too. I always try to match my background to my outfit and I think it leads to very fun (and sometimes comical and strange) adventures for sure!

  6. Loving these tips you're sharing! I've always loved the locations you find for your posts.
    Can't wait for part 2! :D

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  7. I love this series! I really need to start learning my camera- totally guilty of mostly auto shoots :/

    1. But you live in AZ so you're settings are always great!

  8. Great post! Looking forward to the rest of this series.

  9. Great tips! It's definitely a fun challenge to compose lovely photos. :] // ☼

  10. You always have the best pictures! Great tips!


  11. Haha I DRILL "not shooting at eye-level" into anyone learning photography. I totally agree! :P

  12. Great post and love all the fantastic advice! :D NOW I just need to put it all into use!

    Idealism never goes out of fashion

  13. Your totally right on the location front, a nice location can change an image hugely!
    Two Hearts One Roof

  14. Love this! Shooting vertical so much yesssss I always see every little branch in the background of horizontal shots and it's too distracting. haha

  15. L-O-V-E this post!!! I need to relearn my camera. I've been relying on auto far too much :(


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