7 TIPS FOR CREATING LIFESTYLE PHOTOS

Whether you're a lifestyle blogger or a small business owner, creating quality images to tell your story is important. I remember when I opened my first Etsy shop. Learning to create quality images was tough. But, I'm here to walk you through the steps to get you closer to quality images, bringing your business and blog to life. 

Yesterday, we chatted about flaylay and I'm excited because today we're talking about stylized lifestyle images. Both of these photography styles are perfect for highlighting your blog, business, and products. 

PLAN AHEAD

Planning is maybe my number one tip to save you time and maybe even a headache, haha! ;) When you've decide you're going to do a photo session, instead of jumping in head first, make a plan before you begin. I have started many sessions without a plan and many times I struggled all the way through. I didn't have a vision for what I wanted to create, I didn't have props picked out, and because of that I was left uninspired and discouraged. Before you get started make a plan and decide what you want to shoot, what your vision is, and how to want to execute it. Stay tuned next week... I'll be breaking down my process for preparing for product and brand photo sessions. 

USE NATURAL LIGHT

Using natural light is fundamental when creating dynamite images for your business and blog. Can you use flash and soft boxes? Absolutely. But, natural light will give you a more dynamic outcome. Find a window or a sliding door where lots of light is coming in, this will be your main source of light. If you're like me, you can take advantages of using soft boxes to help fill out the light in the room, but natural light is going to make all the difference in your photos. 

DEFUSE DIRECT LIGHT 

Now that you've determined your plan and set things up with your natural light, evaluate what kind of light is coming through your window. Is it an overcast day and the light is indirect? Is the sun out and the light is direct and warm? If you are working with direct light and it's casting shadows you want to defuse your light. A super easy and cheap way to defuse light is to grab a white sheet or a white sheer curtain and drape it in front of your window. 

CREATE DEPTH

Creating depth in your photos is another one of those things that we will do a lot for you photos. The tricky thing about creating depth is creating layers within your photos that really work. You want to create layers that work off of each other, highlighting your subject, and you always want to avoid tangents. 

UTILIZE NEGATIVE SPACE 

Negative space is ideal when creating images for your business or blog as it provides space for you to add text. With negative space you can announce upcoming sales, say thank you to your customers, or add inspiring quotes. 

MAKE IT LIVED IN

A photo that is lived in makes it more personal and tells more of a story. In the photo below, the tea canister is left open, adding life to the photo. In each of the make-up photos the make-up is open, as if it is in use. Utilize the props in your photos indicating that they are in use. If you're working with products, show the products in use. 

EDIT

Editing is going to make all the the difference in your photos. You are probably going to fall into one of two categories. One, you are shooting in JPEG. Two you are shooting in RAW. If you are shooting in JPEG, the camera is going to finish the photo for you. This means the camera will make it's own decisions about how your photo should look and compress it. With JPEG, it seals up all the information and bakes it... like a cake, ha! Once the cake is baked you can't make to many more changes to it. With a RAW images the camera gives you the file unfinished... unbaked. This allows you to really develop the image. 

Want to learn more about styling images for you blog and business? Sign up below for first access to our Brand Photography e-course! Plus, FREE stock photos! 

That does if for today, friends! How is your photography and business journey coming along? What are things that would help your business along? xoxo. Samantha


4 WAYS TO STYLE FLATLAY

Flatlay is by far my favorite photography style. With Flaylay you can create any type of story you desire; from desk inspired photos, to cooking, travel, style, beauty, and many more. Flaylay offers controlled versatility. With Flatlay you can style a variety of different type of photos with ease. The beauty of flatlay is the option to restyle as much as you need. When I prepare for a styled stock photo shoots, my first few styled photos aren't my last. My styling comes together as I warm up within my shoot. There are a variety of ways to style flatlays, so let's get started. 

THE DESK SET

Desk inspired flatlay are really fun! I always get started by including a keyboard as the main subject. This gives me an object to style around. For this particular flatlay I chose a color theme, pink and gold. I choose a variety of props and style them a few times to determine which looks best. It's important to always make the photo look lived in; this is why you often see items in use, like paperclips lying on the desk or unraveled ribbon. 

PERSONAL TOUCH

Adding hands to a flatlay can really bring your photos to life. Your hands or anybody's hands help to draw the audience in and direct the eye. Hands make the photo feel more lived in and helps the audience connect with the business or blogger. The key with adding hands to flaylay is utilizing a tripod and timer so your actually get your hands in the photo. 

Want to learn more about styling flaylay and product photography? Sign up below for updates on our upcoming e-course! 

LIFESTYLE 

I think lifestyle is maybe the quintessential flaylay. With lifestyle you can style any object and theme you like. For the photo above I styled a beauty theme flatlay. I kept it simple, by only including a few items, but I added interest and framing by adding flowers in two of the corners. 

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WHITE SPACE WITH TEXT

Styling a photo to include what space is another great flatlay. This type of flatlay is perfect for hero images of your blog posts, creating Pinterest images, or making announcements on Instagram. When styling props for this type of flaylay you want to focus on styling the edges of your photo. A simple way to do this is to add an item to the middle of your photo and then style your items around that. Once your styling is complete you then remove the middle item and have what space left to add text. 

What are your favorite types of flatlays to style? Are you in need of styled stock photos for you business or blog? Sign up below! xoxo. Samantha


BUSINESS & PERSONAL GOALS FOR 2017

2016 was a hard year. It ended up beginning surprisingly hard. Even though it was hard, I came away being incredibly grateful, Jesus taught me a lot in 2016. He taught how strong I really was, He sifted me, He molded me... All of which was relatively uncomfortable, but all very much worth it. 

When 2017 started I knew I needed to slow down and really evaluate what my goals were, all the things I was doing, and how to really focus. I am hoping 2017 will be a year of consistency and I believe Jesus is bringing me into a season of balance. So here's to 2017, friends. Here's to speaking our dreams into life, opening our hearts, dreams, and businesses, and giving them all over to Jesus. 

BUSINESS GOALS 

STEWARD THIS BUSINESS FOR CHRIST

Something I had lost track of was that this business isn't mine, it belongs to Jesus. He gave me the desires, the drive, the dreams, the skills, the gifts, and the talents. It's His business and it's my job to steward it well. To tend to it to the best of my abilities, to care for it and to serve you, customers, and clients. My goal this year (and every year after :) is to remember this business isn't mine, it's His. 

LAUNCH THE ELAH TREE E-COURSE

Guys, I have been trying to get an e-course launched for far to long... like over a year, haha! I knew I wanted to do an e-course, but it took me forever to decide on content, and then I kept getting caught up in actually putting it together. I'm so happy to say that I finally have a strong vision for this e-course (thank you Jesus!) and I'm really looking forward to writing it. I am hoping to have the e-course launched by the Fall, which gives me plenty of time. Friends, I would so love your prayers on this. Prayers that I will stay focused and prayers that doubt won't keep in. A sub-category of this goal is to have 50 people sign up! Woot! 

LAUNCH THE ELAH TREE STOCK COLLECTION 

I have been wanting to do this for a while, but for some reason I kept getting in my own way. I'm really excited for this one too! I will be creating custom styled stock photos for small business owners, bloggers, and instagramers. To be completely honest I kept putting this off because I was afraid. I wanted everything to be just perfect, but no business starts out that way, haha! I'm trusting that Jesus will fill me with His creativity and I will create images that serve you and your business. 

Sign up for the newsletter for updates on our e-course, the Stock Collection, AND free stock photos! 

PERSONAL GOALS

BALANCE

I really feel like balance is key this year and something that Jesus kept pressing upon my heart. I did a lot of running around last year, doing far too many things. I feel it's important to focus in on this business and create balance between it and home life. With balance comes the next three goals. 

QUIET TIME

Quiet time with Jesus has always been important to me and I've always done my best to make it a priority. Last year things seemed to get out of balance (there's that balance word again, haha) and I have been making strides at getting back on track with reading my Bible and spending time in prayer. 

READ

I am really excited about this one. I've never been much of a reader, but within the last month, Tyler and I have both been doing a lot of reading. The goal started out as one book a month, I'm feeling a little sheepish, as one book a month probably isn't that much to some readers, but I'll be killing it if I stick with this goal, haha! I have books picked out through May, so I'm on track. I'm currently reading Fast Track Photographer, which I'm really loving. Next month is The E Myth. April will be Business Boutique and May will be Love Your Life, Not Theirs. My list is currently filled with business books, but I'm open to suggestions if y'all have any books that you love. 

EXERCISE

Guys, I really love fitness, except last year I fell of the fitness bandwagon, haha! Tyler and I both do P90X3, which we really love and it keeps us in shape, but last year our exercise routine took a nose dive, so we're getting back on track this year. We've done pretty well so far and I'm excited to keep going. We always feel so much better when we exercise. 

That's does it, friends! What are some of your goals for this year? I would love to hear how you are going and how your goals are going. xoxo! Samantha


HOW TO STYLE A BATHROOM SHOOT + MY FAVORITE SKINCARE ROUTINE

Styling bathroom sessions is maybe one of my favorite types of sessions to style... or maybe it's just styling anything flatlay, haha! A great way to think of styling any photo is to think in layers. We start with one piece and then build, and layer on. 

HOW TO STYLE A BATHROOM SHOOT

STEP ONE

We create the base for our layers. Since we are styling a bathroom shoot we want to create a bathroom atmosphere. The base that we are working with is a marble backdrop. I love working with a marble backdrop because it's very telling of where we are shooting. Another great option would be a solid white backdrop. 

STEP TWO

We style our props. One thing that I think sometimes gets in our ways as photographers is we over think our props. Every once it a while when I'm preparing for my shoots I get stuck wondering which props I should use. The great thing about styling and props is that a lot of props can be every day items. When we moved a few summers ago, Tyler and I purchased all white dishes, I knew now matter what they would always work in styling photos. The same can work with bathroom props; from candles to bath towels. I have a set of wash clothes that are never actually used for the bathroom, haha! They are only used in photo shoots. 

STEP THREE

Layering our props. This is sometimes the hardest part of styling our photos. I think of styling photos in two different ways. One, filling the frame or two, keeping in simple. For this particular shoot I wanted to fill the frame and create a since of softness and luxury. I created a sense of framing with the wash clothes and flowers by filling each corner. I, then added to the warmth with the candle, and practicality with cotton pads.   

SHOP MY FAVORITE SKINCARE

Friends, this is seriously my favorite skincare ever. I have never had anything that worked so great for my skin and made my skin feel so soft and healthy! The first time I used the Redefine Cleansing mask, I felt like I was getting a facial. I love how super simple the routine in and how healthy my skin is. I start with the cleansing mask, next use the toner, moisturize with the overnight restorative cream and finish with the best eye cream ever! 

Friends, I am putting together a photography e-course just for you and I'm so excited about it! I would love to know what you would most benefit from learning and what some topics are that you would learn to love! xoxo. Samantha