When I first started blogging, my pictures were terrible!! Looking back on them, they are embarrassingly low quality; they are over saturated and busy. Let's just say that Sara Kate Styling has come a long way over the years. Anyway, since starting, there are a couple of things that I have learned that dramatically increase the quality of your photos. So, here goes.
1) Use a 50mm lens and put your aperture value fairly low.
One of the biggest questions I had when I first started blogging was "How do I get the blur?!?" It's quite simple really, but it makes the biggest difference. Use the 50mm lens and put your camera on at "AV" or the "Aperture Value" setting. Then adjust your aperture value to a fairly low number. (I typically set it to 5.8 for full body and 1.8 for detail close ups.) Then voile! You are in focus and your background is blurred.
2) Shoot in soft lighting, either at the beginning or end of the day.
This was one of the biggest mistakes I would make when I first started blogging - I would take my pictures at noon, the time of the day when the lighting is harshest. Subsequently, the pictures turned out way over saturated or extremely washed out. The solution? Take pictures during hours that have soft lighting. This is typically around eight or nine in the morning or right before sunset. I prefer the evening because that's when I have the most time to shoot. The trick is timing it just right - Where it's late enough in the evening to have soft lighting, but not too close to sunset, when the light is changing dramatically every 10 minutes.
3) Shoot toward the West.
Huh? Yep! True talk. The key to having a pretty glow is back lighting. So, if you are shooting in the evening, stand facing East and have your photographer shoot you facing West. Since the sun sets in the West you will have a beautiful, backlit glow.
Here's an example of a picture I took when I first started blogging. (Sorry for the low quality, I no longer have this picture on my computer, so I had to screenshot it. You get the idea, though!)