On a sunny and slightly sticky evening last week, I headed along to The Botanist in Newcastle for an event unlike any other I’ve attended. Viking hosted a blogger photography masterclass with Leeds based photographer Elouisa Georgio, where a group of us learnt tips and advice on how to improve our blog photography.
The evening began with Elouisa talking us through the fundamentals of photography, such as ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture. All of which are essential for anybody wanted to take good quality photographs. After we had been briefed on how a camera works, we were given a few tips and tricks on using lighting, shooting flat lays and food photography.
Elouisa’s Top Tips To Improve Your Photography
- Natural lighting is your best friend, learning how to work well with natural light can make or break your images.
- To get the best from natural lighting turn off any other lights around you. Natural light is blue toned, manmade lighting is very warm and can cause issues in your images trying to shoot with both.
- Use household items to help bounce and diffuse lighting – white card, tin foil, shiny surfaces, net curtains etc.
- If you’re lacking in light, use a tripod. This will allow you to shoot on a slower shutter speed whilst still getting a sharp crisp image.
- Use what is around you. Glasses, phone screens and other shiny objects can help create really interesting light effects.
- Don’t be afraid to work with shadows and light, knowing how to experiment with these well can really boost your images.
- Spacing items out too far isn’t always a good thing. Too much white space can be distracting.
- Don’t worry about all items being fully visible in the shot. Sometimes having an item peeking out the side can look really good.
- Don’t forget to use a tripod, this helps steady your image when shooting from above.
Food and product shots:
- Stick with three main angles for that perfect shot; straight on, 45 degrees and straight above flatlay.
- Don’t be afraid to decorate the shot with accessories, but not in a way to distract from the main focus of the image.
- Shallow depth of field works well when shooting straight on or 45 degrees
- A higher aperture works better for flatlays to ensure a crisp sharp focus.
My group started with creative portraiture using experimental light techniques. For this task, our group were given prisms and unusually shaped glasses which we were told to use and shoot through. We all rushed off to try and find the most interesting and well-lit spot and began shooting.
I’ll admit I found this task quite tricky, with the main issue being 10 minutes really wasn’t much time. Our group pretty much stuck together and I got given the job of being the model for a few of the shots. This didn’t leave me with much time to get some shots myself, especially as we were chasing the light too as it was beginning to rapidly disappear. Even so, I’m still pretty chuffed with some of the photos I managed to get in the end. My favourite is this shot I took of Beca, which I shot through the prism we were given.
Flat-lays, Food Photography and Product shots.
Because I spent the majority of the time working on creative portraits I didn’t really get much time to shoot some flatlays, plus I didn’t really have anything with me I could have photographed. It would have been better if we had told to bring along props or were provided with a few items to photograph. But I managed to snap a couple of photos of some of the nibbles that were on our table and combined flatlays and food photography together.
Once everybody had stopped shooting we were all told to select one image to submit, I chose the one of Becca. These were then printed out on one of the canon printers available to buy from Viking, which looked really impressive. Elousia then had the tough job of choosing her favourites, with the overall winner taking home a printer of their own.
Whilst she did this we were all served food and drinks provided by The Botanist. They always do really lovely food and as I went along a few months ago to review their new Vegan options, I wasn’t too worried about having plenty to eat. I wasn’t quite sure however what all the food was, so didn’t want to risk accidentally eating something with meat in. So I just stuck to french fries and potatoes- you really can’t beat a carb fest.
Personally, I did find the event a little on the large size. As much as I enjoyed myself I felt the event would have worked better if there were fewer people. Instead of having small groups each spending 10 minutes or so in one area, then switching. I feel like it would have worked better if the initial guest list was smaller.
We were also in a lovely part of the restaurant, but the layout wasn’t ideal. It was a little hard to hear Elouisa a little and there generally wasn’t much space. Overall though, I really enjoyed the event and took home some tips and tricks which I have since put into practice.
A huge thanks to Viking, Elouisa and The Botanist for this event, I had a blast.