Can I just start by saying this is a photo heavy blog post! Last year I set about challenging myself to improve my photography for both blog posts and product photography for my online shop. I never thought I took awful photos – they have improved vastly from when I had my first online shop back in 2008 – but I felt scared of my dslr and wasn’t too sure what to do with props and backgrounds.
I had been aware of Emily Quinton for quite a while, mainly because she has a truly stunning Instagram feed, and I had completed an online course of hers in 2014. When I saw that a special photography for paper lovers one day workshop was being held at the Makelight studio I knew I had to attend – and I could not recommend it, or another course, enough.
The Makelight Studio is in south London so one night last October I headed off to my hotel for the night ready for a long day ahead of me. The studio is amazing, the natural light is something else – I can totally see why Emily loves where she works, it’s just perfect for learning about photography and she has recently created a YouTube video tour of the Makelight studio.
On the day, we started with introductions about who we were and why we were on the course, many with the same thoughts and feelings – intimidated by a dslr, is it ok to just use an iPhone, how to style for a blog post, how can I take good photos of paper products when they are just flat objects etc.
Firstly Emily talked a lot about light and how important it is to have natural light so to make the most of it on good days and on not so good days just hope you have a good bank of photos to continue to share online or to make blog posts with. We learned about taking photos by windows and how to never have a light on in the room you are taking photos in. Then we were off to have a practice with the various props and stagings that are in the studio – oh the stationery love was impressive and Emily had clearly loved shopping for props!
After lunch from the cafe downstairs (included in the price) we talked more about visual social media, how it’s always good to take photos for Instagram square and use the grid on your phone, and we got technical with our dslrs. All of us had bought along some of our own products which Emily had suggested so that she could answer questions we had about styling and we were off to take more photos.
A highlight of the day was seeing the ‘master’ of the flatlay at work creating one of her famous Instagram flatlays and trying not to giggle whilst she did it as a live Periscope film!
The day ran over but only because we were all asking questions and soaking up the advice whilst we could. I headed back to the car, and the M25, tired but with my head buzzing, and hopefully capable of taking better photographs to use on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but also in blog posts and for product photos.
If you have a goal of improving your photography, whether you are a blogger, a creative business owner or just want to take better photos of your family life I do recommend going on a Makelight workshop. Being able to ask questions and get practical advice is extremely useful and has made me feel more confident behind the camera lense.