FBFF: How do you make all those pretty pictures?

We approach the end of another week, which I'm looking forward to since since this was a long one. This week's FBFF (Fashion Beauty Friend Friday), a group of questions organized Katy of Modly Chic around a relevant topic for bloggers to answer, is on blogger tools.  You can check out her site for more answers to the question and to find out more about FBFF.

Outfit: Skirt and Shirt: Anthropologie, Cardigan: Urban Outfitters, Scarf: Vendor in Montreal, Shoes: Adidas via Delias

What?  An outfit photo and FBFF answers?  This is madness!  Or I managed to get my act together enough to take a fair amount of pictures this week and this one made me feel awesome.  By which I mean I threw on all the comfortable things in my closet at the same time and then had a checkout girl tell me she really liked my style.  Compliments from strangers when I feel like I'm in ma going-out sweats?  I'll take it!

1. What technology do you use in blogging? (computer, camera, video camera, tripod, etc...)

I use my computer and my camera.  It's a little point and click- a Casio Exilim with 10.1 MP -and has the capability to take some pretty spectacular landscape pictures.  I have a 15 in MacBook Pro at home, which is what I primarily use, but the laptop I use at school is also considered a personal computer, so I've used that as well (dude, it's a Dell).

2. What computer and online technology do you use? (blogging system, photo storage, photo editing tools, etc..)

I use the blogger platform (it's free, user friendly, and was what a lot of my favorite blogs used when I decided to start a blog), upload my photos to Picasa at this point, and have so far used the Picasa desktop program to do editing.  I'd like to move into Photoshop at some point, but there's a decent amount you can do fairly quickly with basic photo editing tools.

3. What is your process for taking pictures?

Step 1. Get dressed!   Step 2. Take pictures- usually somewhere I can easily get to (like my dining room area lately, that's pretty easy to get to).  Ideally, there's something to focus on near where I'd like to stand.  I use the self timer option that takes three photos at a time, and then run into place, try to pose, run back to the camera to see if I've managed to get my head and feet both into the frame or if the light is totally wonky (and try to make sure no one see's me running).  Outside pictures where I'm racing to get them done before all the light was lost frequently required playing around with the iso settings and how the camera was positioned.  I try to make sure that there's a least one photo that looks decent in terms of color, sharpness, and framing where I don't look totally spazzy or have my eyes closed.  I'll take anywhere between 10ish to probably close to a 100 if I'm working in non-ideal conditions outside and need to make a lot of adjustments.  I prefer to try to take as good of a picture to begin with rather than try to mess around after.  Then I upload the photos to my computer and select a few to straighten and crop.  I will sometimes adjust the color, contrast, and lighting if it makes the photo look more true to life or shows detail better.

4. When it comes to backdrops for your photos what do you consider? Do you scout locations or shoot the same spot daily?

The most important thing I consider is location- is there somewhere I can co-opt as a tripod to prop my camera at around the right height and is it somewhere I can easily get to while there is appropriate light.  Then I try to figure out how much pedestrian traffic there is nearby (I can ignore cars, but am still not that brave about one or two people walking by).  I think when I have a later time period to take photos during (as we move towards summer), I might have the chance to get somewhere after work and before it gets totally dark, and would like to explore, but this will also mean investing in a tripod so that I'm not limited by trying to find somewhere to prop the camera up.  The majority of the outside locations I've used were used more than once and were places I was familiar with- places near my school or apt or along my route between the two.

5. If you could splurge and get one new piece of equipment what would you be buying?

A shiny pretty DSLR.  Someday, perhaps.  The truth is that won't happen until I start saving up money for it (which means spending less on clothes), but I also don't really trust myself with nice things, and I'm not sure how practical that is for bringing around with me.

Number four is probably the thing out of this that I most want to work on (along with getting a tripod), because while taking photos inside my apartment is safe, quick, consistent, and can be done at whatever time, it doesn't challenge me in the way that taking outside photos does.  Any suggestions for finding good outside locations when doing self-photography in a large city?

You can find out what other bloggers are thinking about these questions on Modly Chic, and read more about Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday here.

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