Say Cheese: Photographing Outfits in Public

Today, SJ from Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has kindly agreed to write about taking blog photos in public…

Back in August I wrote a post on my blog that centered around photographing outfits in public. The idea for the post came about after I attempted, blogtographer in tow, to shoot an outfit at a small festival. The friends I was with spotted me posing 100ft away and, such was the freshness of the air, I could almost hear their giggles and the click of a camera shutter from across the field.

It got me thinking about taking photos of outfits in public. In the same why that it’s easy to mock the Tumblrs dedicated to diners who Instagram their food before eating it, non style bloggers may find it hard to understand why we photograph our clothes at all, let alone in the presence of the general public.

There is a common misconception that bloggers, of the fashion variety in particular, are a vain bunch who love having their photo taken at every possible opportunity. Well this isn’t true for me and I don’t think I’m in the minority. I admire those who can create intrigue without ever showing their faces but I also love reading blogs that offer the sense of a story with every OOTD post – back gardens are rarely likely to induce that fashion editorial feeling, right?

Chances are, if you’re a fashion blogger you’re a highly visual person that sees every graffiti-covered wall or perfectly lit archway as a potential photo opportunity. Although I’m still taking tentative steps to photographing outfits in public, I can say with my hand on my heart that the few posts that do feature my city in the background are some of my personal favourites and often the ones that generate the most interest from my readers.

But the million-dollar question is surely how to get over the fear of shooting your outfit in front of Other People. This is a topic that Bonjour Blogger will cover at a later date, and your suggestions are welcome in the comments, but for now here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way…

Think of a cover story – from a photography project for uni to selling your clothes on eBay, come up with a simple cover for why you’re taking photos. Complete strangers WILL ask you why you’re standing in the middle of the road with nothing but a tripod for company and if you want to avoid the whole ‘what do you mean you haven’t heard of blogging!?’ thing then a white lie like this is recommended.

Know what you want to achieve before you leave the house – if you’re thinking about shooting in public for the first time then you’ll probably want to get the process over and done with as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to plan ahead, such as making sure you take any accessories you want to use with you, practising a new pose or two in the mirror and making sure your camera battery is charged. A little preparation can make a shoot a lot faster!

Have a giggle – sometimes having your photograph taken in the proximity of friends and family can be scarier than a street full of people who are just going about their business. Trying to laugh if your mum catches you mid-pout is far better than sulking and will relax your whole body, making those outfit shots even better.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with taking outfit photos in public? Share your thoughts and tips below!

  • Maria

    A cover story is definitely the way to go, I usually go with photography project although my neighbours DO think I am insane!

    Maria xxx

    September 22, 2013 at 11:04 am Reply

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