It’s already 2017 and believe it or not, some people are still thinking about entering the world of fashion blogging. Loads of industry people have already prophesied that if you’re not already famous, you probably never will be, but not all of us get into it just for the fame. Some, such as myself, are really just looking for a creative outlet and to create a body of work. And besides, there’s no telling that somewhere out there is a future fashion star just about to start their own Instagram feed.
I receive a lot of questions from newcomers about how to get started and how to do things right, so for the purpose of convenience, I’m going to write it all down here. Right now, I’m going to discuss the most asked about topic in blogging: photography gear.
It’s understandable that a lot of people instantly think of the camera as the fine line that separates the noobs and oldies (it’s not), but there is a minimum level of kit that you need to acquire to produce work that brands would be willing to back. After all, social media is a very visual platform and if your images are not on par, at the very least, to what everyone else is publishing, you’re going to get buried. What you’re happy to spend is entirely up to you, but you’ll definitely have to invest in your craft if you want to eventually charge brands for your work. Here’s a list of things you should consider.
“Your images look awesome, you must have an amazing camera!” I get this a lot – it’s pretty much the most common unintended insult a photography enthusiast hears. While equipment does help, a fancy SLR does not a great image make. The camera doesn’t see, nor does it know the right moment to capture. It’s merely a tool that allows you to translate what you have envisioned in your head into something others can perceive. #blogger #mydubai
This is the most obvious and most important item on the list. You’re going to want to buy a DSLR if you don’t mind the weight, or a mirrorless system if you’re looking for something that you can fit in your purse. Forget your camera phone, use something that’s designed to take photos instead of a multitude of other things. Actually, fuck your phone, I hate seeing iPhone images. Don’t ask me about the whole Canon or Nikon debate either, because I’m biased and I’m going to tell you Nikon makes bodies with better sensors for a lot cheaper.
Olympus OMD EM5 ii
Sony a7R ii
Look who’s been a good boy this year 🎅 Finally got my hands on this highly sought after portrait lens from @sigmaphoto! Can’t wait to start creating gorgeous images with this hunk of glass! #fashion #blogger #mydubai #sigma A photo posted by Jim Joquico | FashionChameleon (@fashcham) on
The first advice I give to whoever I’ve successfully goaded into buying a camera is to buy the body only and get a separate set of lenses. The kit lens that a camera is usually bundled with is not something you’ll want to use anyway because, well, they’re crap. In fact, they’re the reason first-time SLR buyers end up getting disillusioned with their first-ever capture on the camera because it looks nothing like the imagery that manufacturers use to market their wares.
Get the body and a prime lens, preferably a 50mm 1.8 to start with. This lens is what most bloggers use to achieve those blurry backgrounds that work well with lifestyle and OOTD snaps. Now don’t be alarmed that it doesn’t zoom in or out – it’s not supposed to. You’re going to have to learn to zoom with your feet instead.
Once you’ve mastered the 50, you can explore other focal lengths. A good second lens would be an 85mm, which is perfect for portraits because it has literally zero distortion. You’ll have to back up a bit from where you would normally stand using a 50, so you’ll want to use this one only if the space permits.
It doesn’t matter what you want to do – light is going to play a vital role in creating images worth double tapping on Instagram. Photography is, first and foremost, an art of capturing light. And while I always advocate friends to shoot only during certain times of the day, you can’t always do it. You’ll have to manipulate light on your own and the only way to do that is with equipment. Pick up a Chinese flash gun, like the super cheap YongNuo 560 Mark IV and a couple wireless triggers, and suddenly you’re seeing yourself coming up with photographs that you otherwise couldn’t have unless you had the time to wait for perfect natural lighting.
Feeling like life is just flying past you? Let it. Stand still, soak all the action in and learn. It’s not a race, we’re all headed in the same direction anyway. #travel #photowalk #streetphotography #blogger #mynikonmystory #notatourist — Shot in Tbilisi with Nikon D750 and Sigma 28mm 1.8 EX DG A photo posted by Jim Joquico | FashionChameleon (@fashcham) on
You can get away with not using a tripod 90% of the time, true, but what about the remaining 10%? There are a whole list of shots that you cannot otherwise make without having something to keep your camera steady for the whole duration of your exposure, and it’s these images that will set you apart from the rest of the pack who don’t know how or when to use a tripod.
I know this is not gear, but classes are vital to learning how to work and make the most out of all the equipment you’re going to buy. Do not be one of those people who shoot with their expensive shit in full auto mode. There are year-round workshops at Gulf Photo Plus that provide an interactive learning experience in various formats. You can also do it the online way, a number of institutes and academies offer photography lessons on the web.