Saturday, July 04, 2009

Beauty Blogging: Taking Nice Pictures

Nobody ever asked, but (being a self absorbed person) I think that my blog pictures are fairly pretty and I want to share the secrets. My initial plan for this blog (beside the fact that I am quite opinionated/got a lot of crap to say about stuff in general) is that since I don't have any pretty YSL, Guerlain, Chantecaille lying around, I will just make the best out of my stash and make my cheap stuff looks as adorable on my blog as how they look on the face.

A good picture starts with a decent hardware: Camera. Mine is a basic Sony Cyber Shot DSC-W120 7.3 Mega pixel.

Tell you the truth, ( at least for your beauty blog) you don't really need a $1000 camera to get the job done but please don't go for the polar opposite either: I personally don't take cellphone pictures seriously as they completely washed out the color and texture (an very important aspect of cosmetics). I mean, it's nice that you are being helpful, but at the same time you are really not helping at all.

When I buy a camera there are several function that I look for (which are quite basic actually) :

Price - I spend around 100 plus tax on this last year (After my HP got drowned) .

Optic - Carl Zeiss lenses gives some nice crispe images.

Macro-Close Up of lip gloss and Eyes, must have for beauty blogger

Screen-A big one would be helpful as you can use a mirror with one hand while holding the camera with other to make sure you are not shooting your nose instead.

Charger-I prefer a tiny one without cord so I can recharge anywhere.

Resolution-For blog, I only use 3 mega pixel (out of seven) and I always need to resize the pictures a bit. Unless you are spying, you don't need a super big resolutions.

Portability-Who wants to shoot lip gloss with a professional camera...(I mean, if I do it outdoor, people will give me weird face)

Anti Shake-Sometime picture are blurry are not because of the focus, rather, it's because of your shaky hand. I actually don't need macro mode that much as my camera has anti shake function.

Reaction Time- If you spot a cute raccoon or squirrel, you wouldn't want your camera to take more than 3 seconds to turn on. Oh wait, you are not a freak to are late for classes because she was taking pictures of squirrel...Never mind this one.

So far, the only thing I don't like about it is that it can delete an entire folder and once it's gone, it can't be undone...

Enough with the hardware, here comes the software (technique)

My camera is always in a flash-off mode because I love natural light, it brings out the texture of the stuff much better and it's more true to the colors especially on nail polish and eyeshadow. Well, using natural light doesn't mean taking picture right under sun at noon (you are going to get burnt) and taking picture at sunset or sunrise(when I am still hitting the snooze bottom) actually warm the colors up quite a bit so keep in mind.

I add logo on stuff that can be potentially used by nasty eBay sellers and other pictures that has the potential being taken. Did I mention that I absolutely hate people who take pictures (from anybody, not just mine) without asking for and receiving permission first so if you steal my pictures, I will call you bitch, seriously.

And another good way to avoid eBay related picture theft is to use the product first (let the dip show) before taking picture, I actually always try the goodies out before taking pictures anyway...

Well, you want something that actually look like a background. Like if your eyeshadow are shinny, you would want something plain to contrast/enhance the bling bling rather than something equally dazzling (give me a headache). Table top, manila paper or even fabric would be nice. But I am kind of get used to these...

Here is where I took most of my lip gloss galore pictures. (How in the world can he sleep like that?), these are actual fossil by the way. On a special day when I have extra time to burn, I look for pretty shell pattern like the one in Lancome Le Rouge Absolu Post.

You can use anything as background: sky, trees, flowerbed (you will see it later, it's super pretty.)paper towel, Free People (they have nice textured paper) pebbles etc. as long as it's clean and there is not too much going on.

Product Placement
Unless I am taking a stash picture (which I don't have that much of because I am in denial about how much makeup I have) , I put the goodies on the diagonal instead of level to the visual field, just because it looks better.

Well, I don't (That's why you can see my fine lines, swollen eyes, pimple, acne scar and dry cuticles) because I (am too lazy and) think those pictures look fake.

There is one picture on this blog that was accidentally auto color corrected, my skin turned purple on that. (I guess that's my natural skin color?)

Taking picture of myself
I think it's retarded...


  1. haha, how did you take a picture of your camera? Good tip about not letting ebayers steal pictures by using it first. That guy looks hilarious! You make me want to spend more time on my pictures...I'm normally just snap and go. My backgrounds can be pretty hideous sometimes.

  2. Smiley13tree:
    I used my cellphone...It's really slow (after punching in the numbers, I need to wait a few seconds for the number to show up on the screen before it actually dial) at least it has a mp3 player...

  3. great tips on purchasing new cam and the photo is funny! you are right, how can anybody sleep like that???

  4. Oh neat, I have the same model camera! It takes really great photos in natural lighting and I like all the different modes it has. ^^

  5. Lol! Purple, your natural skin colour?
    Stupid technology XD...
    I have to admit that I also think that taking pics of myself is 'retarded' - but I can't hire a model to do looks on, so I just use my face. Most people think I look OK, so I can live with it.

  6. Kim: Yeah, it works super well at natural light...but it's not that shabby at night either. I only use "auto" mode though...I don't know what the other one does, beside video recording one.

    Cris: When I "model" a products, I just think that it's pointless to do a full face when I can just have a closeup (I mean, I only use one product at a time anyway.)

  7. I was under the impression you had a pretty backyard, lol

  8. cjx3pooh:
    I did take many of the pictures my own balcony though (there isn't really a "yard" in our apartment unit). The post was written 2 years ago and now I try have a little bit more variety.


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