NEW COLUMN ABOUT RUNNING A BLOG!
so the other day as i was driving around i realized i had the entire contents of a DIY shoot in my passenger seat. my back seats were filled with bundles of tulle, clothes and shoes from a style shoot and my trunk was stuffed with supplies for an interior shoot. it was at that point i fully realized it…i’m running a blog. out of my car.
things with designlovefest have happened so fast, and creating all this original content hasn’t been easy. it is getting easier, but there are so many things i had to figure out on my own (and so many i’m still figuring out!)
although putting in all this effort has been so rewarding, i would have loved a resource when i was starting out. some advice and tips on the things i was trying to do, and some sage guidance on what pitfalls to avoid.
i wanted to start this new column because it’s something that would have helped me tremendously, and there are just so, so many things i’ve learned that i want to share. from producing your own shoots, to staging and styling, to working with brands and managing a team of contributors, so many elements go into creating your own brand and business. i really hope to demystify some of these things, and i want to know, what are you wondering?
please comment with your questions and i’ll try to answer as many as i can. i will be sharing things from my point of view and sprinkling in wisdom from my friends, contributors and other experts on the subjects at hand.
this week we’re going to cover DIY shoots and what you need to make it happen…
• have fabric on hand to lay down for overhead shots. it can be a tea towel, tablecloth or just scraps. i’ve shot on curtains, rugs, you name it. when you’re taking tight shots, all that matters is that it looks clean on camera. everyone needs a neutral canvas or linen backdrop.
• i like to shoot between 7 and 10 am to get the best natural light. it’s important to find a bright, but shady spot. try to work in direct sunlight. this means looking around for whatever room gets the best light…sometimes it’s my bedroom, sometimes the living room. do a couple tests in each room…sure, you can fix the brightness in photoshop, but it’s best to start with that beautiful light!
• it’s much easier to style when you can do it in frame. by this i mean looking through the lens to see what the photographer sees, or have it set up to see the shot immediately on a laptop. you get much more control and can ensure the final product is the best it can be when you can adjust as you shoot. a lot of the times i shoot a quick photo on my phone to show the photographer the angle that i am envisioning. they can take it or leave it.
• think details! kim, who photographs all our make it posts says, “I’ve learned that it is really important to capture each step of the process as you’re doing it, even if you don’t end up using each photo. Most bloggers are naturally visual people, so the more visual details the better!”
• while you can certainly shoot with an iphone, having the right equipment helps. says kim, “I always use a wide lens because it’s easier on the eyes to see a wider perspective of the process rather than basic close-ups. oh, and one more thing, GET COMFORTABLE WITH A TRIPOD!!” this will help make sure the framing is consistent in each shot. kim definitely learned to love the ‘pod through working on our DIYs.
• keep a kit on hand. we have a big tupperware bin filled with the essentials that come to every DIY shoot. the canvas blanket, scissors, pens, glue, etc. this is helpful for cleanup too – just throw it all back in the bin! and speaking of supplies…we like to invest in good looking ones. for instance, having gold scissors around is going to make your photos look snazzy. see!
• based on pinterest research, people pin the finished shot the most (by far!) so put in the most effort when you are styling that shot! people like to pin the finished project or an environmental shot that incorporates the item. when you are choosing the shot to use, look at the image small. does it read clearly in thumbnail form? then that’s the one you want to use! pinterest is just a bunch of tiny images and you want to make yours read in a sea of photos.
• for ease of shooting & time saving, it’s best to prep the project so it’s ready to shoot in different stages. for example, natalie shows up ready with several different versions on the craft: finished, half-finished and all the supplies to make it. you don’t actually want to be making the craft the day of!
• a lot of effort goes into actually posting / linking / adding graphics / writing the DIY posts. i require that the photos are due at least 2 days before the post date so I can prep everything in advance.
• plan out your ideas! i am always thinking about how i can style the environmental shot the night before so that i am not wandering around aimlessly, wasting people’s time when they come over to shoot. natalie is usually setting up her steps for kim to shoot while i am in the other room styling the finished shot (have a backup plan too!)
check out some examples our our make it posts here. have a burning question? comment below!