Make light photography for bloggers workshop

I love writing this blog, but there’s no denying it often completely frustrates me.

I have tons of ideas for things I want to write about all the time, but only about half, maybe a third, ever make it up onto the actual blog. At any given time I have endless half-written posts sitting in drafts, waiting for that magic something before they’re completed and published.

And the magic something? Always a photograph.

Pink dahlia
Beautiful dahlia

I rarely have a problem writing – well, it’s what I’ve done for a living for the past 13 years or so – so if I have a spare five minutes and a bit of inspiration, I can bash a post out. (Though bashing is sometimes very much the operative word and I certainly don’t want to imply that I don’t go through spells, weeks sometimes, where I think everything I’ve written is a load of old twaddle. But, on the whole, I don’t find it a strain to write a blog post. Of course I don’t, I wouldn’t have a blog otherwise…)

But the photographs! God I find it hard to take a good photo! Especially when it comes to photographing all my craft paraphernalia.

Wooden bobbins
What are these little wooden bobbins for? I’m not sure, but they’re very cute

I have a million excuses: all the crazy old wallpaper in every room of our house makes it hard to find a normal backdrop, it’s very hard photographing anything with the sproglet around as he tries to grab the camera the minute I get it out, there’s no decent light in the house… All these are true, but fundamentally the problem is that I’m not a very good photographer.

Craft supplies
Now if only every project I made used as nice craft supplies as this…

I’ve written about this before and it’s true to say I’ve definitely seen big improvements in my photography since I started this blog, but yesterday, I took the bull by the horns and spent the day at the Make Light Photography for Bloggers workshop run by Emily Quinton.

Emily is one of those amazingly inspiring people who somehow manages to juggle things that most of us would take about four lifetimes to complete. She’s got four children, runs photography workshops, writes a blog the Startup wife and has the most mind-blowing Instagram feed I’ve ever seen on top of all that.

She was also super lovely, helpful and reassuring.

I picked up lots of tips across the course of the day, both technical and creative, to help with editing, styling and the way to approach photographs.

But there was one thing Emily said that really, really resonated with me and which will – I hope – change the way I go about taking photos for this blog.

She talked about how your photography should have a recognisable style. That people should be able to look at your photos and think “Oh, that’s a photo by so-and-so.”

And, you know though it sounds odd to say this, I had never thought of that before!

Light bulbs
Just waiting for my light bulb moment…

I think quite a lot about what style I want to aim for with my writing on this blog, what sort of projects I want to include, what sort of overall blog I want to produce, but it had somehow never, ever occurred to me to think about what style my photos should have (nor that this should match everything else)…

Because I still find it hard to simply take a “good” photo, if I do get one, I will certainly, definitely use it, irrespective of the style.

Butterfly hole punch
Side note: I need to go and buy myself one of these butterfly hole punches

But from now on, my dear readers, there shall be an end to that! I’m going to spend the next few weeks thinking about what sort of photographs I like, looking for inspiration in all places I can find it, and hopefully, slowly, starting to try and develop my own style as I photograph various projects and bits and pieces.

You’ll have to let me know how it’s going!

fabric garland
If only everything I made was as cute as this!

So, many thanks, Emily, for a hugely inspiring day. And if there are any other bloggers out there reading this in the London area who are looking to improve their photographs, I strongly recommend the workshop…

P.S. All the photos in this post are ones I took on the day. I was trying to focus on photographing crafty things (since that what I find the most problems with, usually) but inevitably I got a bit distracted by the beautiful dahlia and the amazing light bulbs…

Related articles:

  • I’ve started to edit one of my Pinterest boards to include lots of wonderful photos in the sort of style I love, if you’re interested, take a look at Great product photos
  • Despite my constant grinching on about my bad photographs, there are a few posts with pictures I’ve been really proud of: Peckham Rye Park, my old Hong Kong photos, some from a trip to Brighton and this random one of some chisels (!)
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12 thoughts on “Make light photography for bloggers workshop

  1. For what it is worth, i think you photograph flowers beautifully. I dont know what your are doing but i think you are doing something there. They are always my favourite photos on your blog.

    p.s. i split wine on my computer and now the apostrophe button doesnt work, hence lack of such above, the rest is just bad spelling.

      1. I think they are lovely and linger on those photos, ill take more of those please! Also now you have made me think I need a style too, damn you!

  2. Interesting. i’ve never thought about a style either. But I think I may have one (not sure if I am that enamoured with it though) that is developing. The idea of actually choosing one is revolutionary to me. I might have to mull on that some more and then perhaps do it.
    I can see why the dahlia caught your eye – it is stunning. Perhaps my fave flower.
    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

    1. Ah Libby, I definitely think you have a style. I’d say it’s very naturey, full of gorgeous textures and lots of rich colours (and very lovely)!

      Yes, the idea of *choosing* a style and then trying to take photos in that style is pretty exciting to me too!

  3. Oh I love those pictures! I have a real problem with blog photography, not helped at all by the fact that my weapon of choice is an iphone3. I’ve tried to up my game a bit recently but its really something that I want to work on more too.

    1. Thanks so much!

      Emily talked a lot about taking photos on iPhones, actually — and her whole instagram feed, which is insanely beautiful, is all taken on her iPhone — so there is definitely hope for the rest of us!

  4. Good for you that you did this workshop. These photos are already amazing! I can’t wait to see how your photography improves and how your own style develops.

    I find it hard myself to find “my own style”. I just take pictures of what I like and style it the way I find pretty. I just hope sometimes that this is “my style” and I hope that one day it will show. I don’t know if this is naive and I should really think about a certain style and try to stick to whatever that is. But I just hope that it’s a more natural process… it’s just hard sometimes to judge your own work.

    1. Thanks Sarah! Yes, the style thing is interesting — I’m sure it is something that just develops over time, but I love the idea of properly thinking about it too and deciding what you like. Having said that, I thought a lot about what I would like my style to be like, and none of the photos I have published on the blog since then have been even remotely similar to what I was thinking of! Ah well…

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