Today we’re talking about creating beautiful luxe images. While I do believe that something as important as your signature brand images are best handled by a professional, that’s not always possible or even necessary when it comes to your social media and blog posts images.
You actually don’t need shelves and shelves of gorgeous props and professional photography equipment and a dedicated studio. For my own social media images, my studio is my bedroom (it has the best light!), I use the things I already own as props and I have only recently been favouring my DSLR camera over my iPhone.
Here are the hacks that make all the difference:
A plain white background is always a must. Depending on your brand, you might get away with colourful or textured backdrops, but if you’re new to styling and photography, I would stick with plain white for now. I have a few boards that I use as backdrops - a plain white laminex board from the hardware store and a beautiful wooden board my husband made for me (because I’m useless at DIY!), which consists of a few pine planks joined together, then painted with a sheer white paint on one side and left natural on the other. I decided on a sheer paint, so that the wood grain would show through and give the photos added texture and interest. I also have a white foam core board that I use to bounce light off.
That’s really all you need to get started. I’m now working on a few more DIY wooden boards that we’ll paint in different colours and I’m also going to purchase some marble contact paper (I hear Amazon is the place to go!), which I’ll stick onto a smooth wooden or foam core board. But don’t overwhelm yourself at the start, thinking you need a huge variety of backdrops! A plain white board is the best starting point.
As I mentioned before, I mostly use props I already own. Things like coffee table books, lipstick, perfume, notebooks, laptop and jewellery are all perfectly good props. Right before a shoot, I simply take a walk around my house and see what I already have that fits the theme I’m going for.
Keep an open mind when looking for props. Sometimes it’s the most unexpected items that make the photo. Here’s some examples of memorable props I’ve used in the past: my daughter’s yellow hair clips, old magazines, potted plants, a bit of ribbon or twine and wrapping paper.
Some relatively cheap ways to add a bit more luxe to your images:
- Fresh flowers - a small bunch from your local florist is all you need. Don’t bother with a fancy arrangement, most of the time one or two flowers in the photo is enough to make it shine
- Fresh coffee - nothing like a frothy cup of barista-made coffee to add a touch of luxe to your photo. And then you get to drink it afterwards, so there’s not really any downsides!
- Fresh bakery items - a couple of macaroons or a cupcake will make everyone drool over your images
This will largely depend on what you are using the images for. Personally, I like things to look more natural, a little off-centre. Not too chaotic, but not lined up neatly either. Experiment as much as possible to find your own personal style. Also keep in mind the style of your brand. Luckily, for most of us, our brands reflect our personal preferences, so this should come across naturally, but it’s always good to keep your brand and your ideal client in mind.
I use the VSCO Cam app on my iPhone do edit most of my photos. It has fantastic filters and settings to create that brightness and clarity I love in my images. I also like Snapseed, especially for touching up any specific areas of the image. My latest obsession is A Color Story, which is excellent for getting that really bright, colourful look. You can also layer different filters, which is great for precision! Have a play around to see which editing app suits your personal aesthetic the best.
And that’s it! I hope you’ve found these hacks useful, it always helps to have a bit of a roadmap! But the most important thing is to be easy about this. It takes time to develop your style and to figure out the things that work best for you.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and if there’s any particular area you’d like more help with, so leave me a comment below and I’ll get onto it!