A couple of weeks ago I attended Viking’s Picture Perfect blogging event held at The Botanist. The premise of the evening was a photography masterclass taught by Elouisa Georgiou, a professional photographer. I learnt lots of really helpful tips that I believe are helping me improve my photography skills so I thought I would share them with you incase you weren’t fortunate enough to be there yourself. I’m definitely not one of those people who don’t share what they’ve learnt, the more who know the merrier I say, it’s not a competition.

Viking digital photography masterclass, champagne flute

Elouisa’s first tip was to take your camera out of automatic mode, let’s be real here, how many of us shoot in automatic? Personally I have never taken my camera out of it! Guilty.. Elouisa said the reason to shoot in manual is that you have more control over your images which therefore means better images.

Botantist outside bar, spirits

I haven’t quite got the hang of the next tips Elouisa gave us, I’m a massive photography novice so these more complex tips I’m still getting to grips with. Below is word for word the tips as I don’t feel I can put them into my own words yet as I don’t 100% understand them completely myself but I still wanted to share a professional’s tips with you incase it can help you improve your own photography!

Shutter Speed – This is how fast the shutter captures your image. To stop motion, you will need a higher shutter speed number, to capture motion you will need to shoot at a lower shutter speed number to create blur. But remember, a faster/higher shutter speed means less light is being let into the camera.

ISO – The lower the ISO, the less sensitive the sensor it is to the light, the higher the ISO the more sensitive your camera is to light. For clear and less ‘grainy’ photos with as much detail as possible we always want to shoot at the lowest ISO possible.

Aperture – Also known as the F stop, this controls the depth of field, i.e. the amount of subject you will have in focus in the foreground/background of an image. A wide aperture (f/2) or low F stop has a softer focus of the background, letting more light in as well as creating a bokeh (blur) to the background. A narrow aperture (f/22) or a higher F stop has more in focus in the background and lets less light in.

Prism distorted image, bartender

First up we started working on creating interesting portraits using reflection and diffraction. Elouisa’s biggest tip was to get outside, natural lighting is your friend and ambient lighting is most certainly not. In the image above I attempted to use a prism to distort my image, they can add such a quirky twist to a otherwise bog standard image, but I found that I just couldn’t get the hang of it. My friend Shannon who also attended the event created some amazing images using prisms so go over to her if you want to see some successful shots!

Distorted flatlay, chanel perfume, beauty products

However what I did find worked for me was using a champagne flute to create a kind of blur and focal point, don’t get me wrong it isn’t my best picture I’ve taken, but it has released something in me that wants to experiment with my photography more. They had a little competition on who could take the best photograph utilising the evening’s tips and I actually came third!

Camera on tripod, fake plant, cutlery holder

Elouisa always recommends using a tripod when you can as it helps with any motion blur and keeps the shots consistent. She also recommends using the live view to see where the different elements are in the shot and says always play around, subjects don’t always have to be fully in shot and don’t be afraid to put things closer together as large gaps aren’t always aesthetically pleasing.

Passionfruit and strawberry cocktail, viking, snacks

The evening was also full of delicious food and drink, I had a passion fruit and basil cocktail, followed by a buffet of ploughman’s platters. The Botantist’s scotch eggs are the best things I’ve ever tasted! The biggest food photography tip was to perfect the “magic angles”, straight on, 45 degrees and bird’s-eye/flatlay. Also to focus on the food, you can even just focus on a detail of the dish and make sure not to use too many props to draw attention away from the plate.

Botantist food, ploughman's platter, cocktail

I hope you’ve found the tips in this post as helpful as I have! Sometimes taking pictures can feel a bit mundane and I feel like now I have much more creative ideas for my photography. A massive thank you to Viking for inviting me to their event & to Elouisa for teaching us these amazing tips and tricks.