Photography Tips for Hand Lettering Artists. I’m spilling all my tips for learning how to take better photos and videos as an Art and Lettering Blogger!
Photography Tips for Hand Lettering Artists
Reader FAQs: “How did you learn photography? How do you take your photos and videos? What supplies do you use?”
These are questions I get all the time from readers in emails and social media comments, so I finally sat down to write a post with info on all my supplies and my main tips for learning to rock a camera.
Like anything, photography can be overwhelming at first. Becoming good at anything takes patience, a willingness to learn, and work. But just as with art and lettering, practice makes progress!
Learning the basics of photography is one of the best things I ever did for my business, and it’s also one of my favorite “just for fun” hobbies as well. Whether it’s capturing the “perfect” shoot for the blog, a memory from our travels, or just everyday moments with my family, investing your time (and some money) into learning photography is time and money well-spent.
I wouldn’t call myself a professional photographer. I’m a blogger/artist who started out taking super crappy pics on my iPhone. I worked hard to learn to shoot in manual because it’s a big part of doing well as a blogger and artist who shares their work on social media. I took a lot of classes and invested in some proper equipment. I’ve fallen so in love with shooting in manual, and while there’s always room to improve, I feel excellent about where my photography skills stand at this point.
This post isn’t a “How to do Photography” post because plenty of those exist on the web and I don’t necessarily feel qualified to write that type of article. This post is about how I learned to improve my photos and photography skills so I could take great pictures for my blog and social media.
Photography Tips for Hand Lettering Artists
DSLR Camera Body
I pulled my first DSLR out of the box on Christmas morning of 2013. The only thing I knew how to do with it was how to turn it on and take the lens cap off. To this day, I nearly always forget to take the lens cap off until after I go to set up my first shot and only see black. 😜
I started on a Canon Rebel T3i, a crop sensor camera body, and it was the perfect DSLR for a beginner. The Canon Rebel T5i replaced the T3i.
I recently upgraded to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III which is a full-frame camera body. While I won’t get into the difference between crop sensor and full-frame in this post, there are a ton of articles out there on Google if you’d like to learn more.
My Favorite Lens
It is noteworthy that all lenses are not interchangeable between the two camera bodies I mentioned earlier in this post, even though both are Canon. I learned that the hard way. Double check to be sure the lenses you buy work with your particular camera body.
My favorite lens is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4, and it happens to work on both camera bodies, score! Whether I’m shooting my kids, blog pics, or taking traveling pics, this is the lens I bring if I don’t want to carry multiple lenses.
This lens allows you to get such fantastic bokeh (blur) in the background of your pictures, as shown in the photo below.
Shooting in Manual
Shooting in manual is what will give your photography that unique edge! At first, you’ll probably be overwhelmed with all the terms like aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed, and F-Stop. But the more you do it, the more it becomes second nature. At first, I was slow setting up my shots and making all the adjustments need to shot in manual mode. I kept practicing, and I can adjust my settings without even thinking. It comes so naturally now.
I learned how to Shoot in Manual by taking an online class. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to find out how to shoot in manual. Check out this Intro to DSLR Photography Online Class. It’s affordable, and every Brit + Co class I’ve taken has rocked. There’s not much point to owning a fancy camera if you’re just shooting in auto, my friends!
DSLR Cheat Sheet
This DSLR Cheat Sheet, designed by one of my past creative team members Katie Jarman, is super handy to print, laminate, and keep in your camera bag while you’re still learning the basics of shooting in manual. You can download it HERE.
My Secret Weapon!
The Vanguard Alta Pro is the Rolls-Royce of tripods and my secret weapon for taking excellent overhead shots and videos. It was hands-down one of the best investments I’ve ever made for Photography.
If you want to use your phone with it, which I typically do, you’ll need this extra phone attachment (you can see I have it attached in the photo below).
Setting up your Shot
I’m partial to shooting in Natural Light because it’s the easiest way to get a well-lit shot. I set up near a window and use big sheets of white foam core board to bounce light. I typically use big sheets of colored poster board for my photo backgrounds.
Studio Lights are a life-saver during the Winter, rainy weather, or when I need to shoot at night. And while I prefer shooting in natural light, a good deal of my Instagram and blog pics are taken under these studio lights.
Editing is Essential
Even basic editing can take your photo from “meh” to “wow” so it’s well worth learning some editing basics.
- Adobe Lightroom. To learn my way around in Lightroom, I took and highly recommend this online Intro to Lightroom class. I start editing my photos for color in this program first.
- Adobe Photoshop. Then I move to Photoshop to do any cropping, mock-up work, or to create graphics for the blog/social media. My friend Teela from Every-Tuesday teaches a great Intro to Adobe Photoshop Online Class.
- Built-in Photo Editing on my iPhone. To get a bright white photo, I play with the following settings: brightness, exposure, black point, and color saturation. Brit + Co has a ton of excellent photography classes for taking and editing pics with just your phone!
Photography Tips for Hand Lettering Artists: Go-To iPhone Apps
- A Color Story (for color editing and filters)
- Hyperlapse (for speed up videos)
- PicFlow (for slideshows and GIF style images for Instagram)
A Quick Note on Video
Video editing is not my forte, but I know enough to make decent looking videos for blog posts and social media, thanks to this How to Shoot + Edit an iPhone Video online class. It was so helpful and not overwhelming like the other video editing classes I’ve taken.
I mostly use my phone for videos, and I edit them in two apps: iMovie and Adobe Premiere Clip.
Any additional questions on my Photography Tips for Hand Lettering Artists?
Let me know in the comments!