I arrived back in London late on Friday night after a day trip to Germany to promote the Bright.Bazaar book, but that didn’t stop me jumping out of bed on Saturday morning to head to Emily Quinton’s photography workshop at West Elm Market. (If you’ve yet to visit you can click here to take a tour of the new West Elm store in London.) While Emily’s photography style and subjects are rather different to mine, it was still incredibly inspiring to hear her explain her approach to taking better photographs. Emily did a fantastic job of switching from the basics to providing insight on more advanced areas of photography. Despite having taken countless snaps in the past year since I started to take photography more seriously, it was a useful process to actually stop and take the time to focus once again on the core ingredients that help formulate the perfect snapshot. I thought it might be useful to share 10 of the need-to-know basic (but oh-so-important) tips from the day:
1. Follow the light by looking for the brightest rooms in your home and then plan to shoot when the light is on your side.
2. Purchase inexpensive wrapping papers from a stationery store and tape them to the wall with washi tape for an instant background.
3. Always think about texture – painted wooden boards, old baking trays and fabric off-cuts work really well.
4. Try to remember the Rule of Thirds: nine times out of ten your photo will look better if you place your subject off-centre; splitting your frame into three equal parts will help with this.
5. Leave negative space so you can add text or to give visual emphasis elsewhere in the picture.
6. Think about how you can style your subjects to make your pictures look more natural and inspiring.
7. Order small some test prints (around 5p each) from SIMLAB so you can see how your shots look in print.
8. If you’re thinking about investing in a dSLR, don’t order the kit lens but get a 1.8 50 mm lens instead (Canon example).
9. Don’t be lazy! Move into your subject rather than using your zoom as the more flexible you are the better angles you will find to take your shots.
10. If you’re shooting indoors be sure to take your pictures with the lights off and use natural light instead.
Do you have any top photography tips you would like to share? Or perhaps there’s a specific detail you like about the pictures I’ve shared here?
// Photography and styling by Will Taylor