BLOGGER LONDON BEAUTY QUEEN TALKS SHOOTING PRODUCT, ARTFUL ‘SPILLS’ AND TAKING THE PERFECT SHELFIE
With Caroline Leaper
How many beauty flat lays do you shoot in a week and how do you keep them all looking different and exciting?
‘I probably do five a week, but I try not to do every single post as a flat lay because I like to mix it up on my different feeds. I do a mixture of flat lays and what I would call ‘real life scenarios’ where I stand the products up in a situation and style a scene around them. It could be a shelfie taken from a front angle rather than a bird’s eye view, and just adds another perspective to things. Some beauty products don’t have the most beautiful packaging – some come in big round tubs, or plain black boxes – so alternative shots like shelfies can really help stop them looking boring or distorted.’
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How important is the backdrop to a great beauty shot, then?
‘I think it’s almost as important as the product itself. When I first started blogging six years ago, I had this awful blue Ikea table in my flat and I just used that as my background for everything. But as I’ve honed my photography skills I’ve found that plain backgrounds are best, as they don’t distort the colour or look of the product- particularly important if you’re shooting a fragrance. I’m giving away my secrets now, but the ‘marble’ backdrop that I use most at the moment is actually a massive marble tile sample from a kitchen supplier – it lives in my office on the floor.’
On the blog I'm talking about trust in the bloggersphere, ethics and transparency. Give it a read and let me know what you think. Some great comments and questions already: londonbeautyqueen.com (Link in bio) Btw, the @urbandecaycosmetics & @gwenstefani collab is perfection… #urbandecay #gwenstefani
How do you organize your products and samples?
‘When samples come in I put them in my inbox, which is a plastic crate, but if it’s something newsy and exciting, then I will do a quick snap for Instagram before coming back to it again later for the full blog post. Once a week I go through the box and sort the products into what needs to be photographed next, what needs to be tested and so goes into my bathroom and my makeup bag, and what’s actually not very interesting and goes into a bag for my mates to have. I’ll often do a charity night where I invite friends, say bring a bag, and then charge them £10 to fill up. In one evening it’ll make £200 or so for charity, so it’s good fun for everyone.’
How do you pick which products should be in your shot? What’s your editing process?
‘I like to use each picture I post to illustrate a story, so that it’s never just a snap of a random bunch of pretty looking products. For example recently Essie launched a new nail polish collection that was all about Florida and so I wanted to tell that story visually. I used a map of Florida as a background (I’d been last year) and added props like sunglasses and a tropical bronzer brush to add to the idea. Sometimes though, it is about focusing and just saying ‘look at this great new product’ and for those moments I’ve got lots of lovely trays and bowls to create a setting, that gives plenty of attention to the sample.’
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Lids on or lids off – what’s your policy?
‘It depends completely on the product and what the colours and textures are like inside. Nail varnish is the hardest to do – if it works then it looks really good and it does really well on social media, but sometimes your ‘spill’ is a mess, the brush is a mess, and it’s generally making a mess all over your office! Barry M had a new nail varnish collection a while ago and I poured them out – put the bottles on their sides on a white tray and let them naturally run – and I received all these negative comments about wasted nail varnish… That was unexpected!’
What are your favourite camera settings to shoot beauty still life pictures with?
‘I’m surprisingly rubbish with a camera and I have to admit that I pretty much just shoot on auto. That’s really why I chose the Olympus Pen – it has got all the technical settings and lenses for when I do want to use them, but if I need to get the shot quickly, I can just trust it on auto. It allows me to concentrate on the part of the job that I’m best at – setting up products and styling. I use it for all of my Instagram pictures as well as the ones on my blog, because it’s got built in wifi, so I can just send to my phone and post straight away.’
Is the @olympus_pengeneration really all that? I've written a post one year on, reflection on twelve months with it in my life. Spoilers… I blooming love it. All the info on londonbeautyqueen.com right now (clickable link in bio) #olympuspen #olympuspengeneration #photographer #photographylovers #bbloggers #fbloggers #lbloggers #pin #30plusblogs