How To Take Your Own Outfit Photos

The Kentucky Gent in Alternative Apparel Tank, Floral Ralph Lauren Shorts, and Zara Sandals.

“How do you do it?” is a question I’ve been asked countless times. Today I spill the beans.

It’s something that’s definitely been a learning experience and yields more bad photos than it does good, but it gets better every time I do it. I have no formal training in photography, and I’ve self taught myself pretty much all I know from trial and error or googling how-to articles. Thank God for Google though, seriously. Originally when beginning this adventure I figured I could find friends, family, whomever to take my outfit photos. Well, I was partially right? I could find friends to do it, but it was always around their schedule and if they weren’t a photographer or familiar with what I was wanting I found that most of the photos I didn’t/couldn’t use. After some googling I came across How to Take Your Own Outfit Photos article on Heart IFB, which is a great resource if you haven’t used it before, and the rest is history.

The equipment needed to take your own outfit photos is pretty simple actually. I use a tripod, remote, and my Canon SLR. There are a million and one tripods to choose from, and I’m more than happy with the Promaster tripod I picked up at my local camera store. My biggest piece of advice with a tripod is to get one that has a level on it. Otherwise you’re going to be playing a guessing game trying to figure out when the legs are actually even, it’s harder than it sounds trust me. You can easily find out what remote works with your camera by visiting the manufacturers website. I use a Canon EOS Rebel SL1, it’s incredibly functional and lightweight while yielding great photos. It may seem simple enough, and getting everything set up really is. Taking the photos however.. is the challenge.

1. Use both auto and manual focus, big thanks to Delightfully Tacky for this tip

The Kentucky Gent in Original Penguin Polo Shirt, Ralph Lauren Shorts, Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and Zara Sandals

As you can see from the above photo getting things in focus is sometimes tricky. What I’ve learned from partial trial and error and reading other tutorials is to use your auto focus to set a point on a wall, street, or wherever you’re feeling inspired to shoot at. Once focused on that location switch to manual focus. This will keep the focus on the point you selected. Because once you step into the frame with auto focus on your camera will readjust because you’ve been added to the frame. This will save you a TON of time, but you’ll still need to take a few test shots to make sure you’re landing in the focus spot you’ve selected and the lighting is good to go.

2. Learn to use your camera

The Kentucky Gent in We Love Lou T-Shirt, Topman Camo Shorts, and Converse Chucks

Speaking of lightning.. the auto setting on your camera will be the death of you when taking your own photos. If it’s not, it will certainly take you a good hour or so to get a few good photos. That’s the hardest part about taking your own photos. You can’t see what you’re getting, until after you’ve already posed and fired away. You can’t tell yourself to readjust to fit into frame or to take a few steps back so that your shoes aren’t cut off or even see that the camera didn’t adjust to the lighting you’re in. Take some time to learn about ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed if you’re going to take your own outfit photos. It’s worth the time. If you’re not a big Google search wizard just switch that camera to manual and shoot a friend for a couple of hours to get a feel for what you’re working with. It will be a HUGE help when you’re standing both behind the camera and in front of it.

3. Know what poses work best for you

The Kentucky Gent in H&M Military Jacket, Copy Collection Striped T-Shirt, H&M Linen Harem Pants, Black Chucks, and Rayban Wayfarers

I’m sure you notice that I almost always look over my shoulder in photos. This is a sure fire way for me to know that I’m going to like the photos, and that I won’t be making any wonky faces that will ruin the photo. When squeezing in outfit photos between work/fun/friends I try to keep it as short and sweet as possible, and this helps me do that.

4. Get used to weird looks

The Kentucky Gent as part of Sun Tan City's Style Squad in Kennington Paisley Shirt, HM Jeans, Steve Madden Bronxxx Boots, Soxy Socks, and Original Penguin Glasses.

Living in Louisville I don’t really have the luxury of being able to find an quiet street, park, or building that often. It’s something that definitely takes getting used to. People will stare, people will ask what you’re doing, and yes people will even take photos of you taking photos of yourself. But at the end of the end I’ve just started to laugh about it. The guy I’m currently dating actually saw me taking photos of myself several months ago, and I received a Facebook message from him about it. True story.

5. Take LOTS of photos

The Kentucky Gent in Original Penquin Briscoe Sunglasses, The Original Tomboy Long Sleeve Pocket T-Shirt, Paul Rizk Jeans, Steve madden Troopah Boots

Like I said prior, you don’t know what these are really going to look like until you’re done. So take as many as you have time to take. You’ll thank yourself later, even if you’re cursing yourself in your head while taking them. Most days that I take photos I don’t head home until I have between 200-300 photos. Out of all those photos there’s several of me in the same pose, looking the same way, but not all of them are in focus or have me in frame. From all those photos I usually end up using 4-5 photos. I’ll repeat, take a lot of photos.

6. Take detail shots

The Kentucky Gent in Hammock & Palms Sunglasses, H&M Striped T-Shirt, Levi's Cut Off Shorts, Zara Sandals, and Alex & Ani Kentucky Derby Bracelet.

Detail shots are a great way to break up a post and show of your favorite accessory or shoes. When shooting detail shots I always flip my camera to shoot landscape instead of portrait. It’s much easier to get close up shots whenever your frame is wider.

7. Hide your remote

The Kentucky Gent in Alternative Apparel Tank, Floral Ralph Lauren Shorts, and Zara Sandals.

Nothing fires me up more than getting home and noticing that some of my favorite shots have me holding the remote in my hand. Lucky for us guys we usually have pockets on everything, and I just put my remote hand in my pocket to hid it. Another secrets out! Yes, that’s why I always have my hand in my pocket. Gotta work with what you got after all.

8. Check your photos before leaving location

The Kentucky Gent in 21Men Beanie, Rayban Wayfarers, H&M Denim Shirt, Original Tomboy Pocket T-Shirt, H&M Drop Crotch Linen Pants, and Steve Madden Boots

There’s nothing worse than getting home and realizing that all yours shots are out of focus, too dark, or you hate the background. Checking them while you’re still on location allows you to be able to reshoot the whole look, or reshoot the bits you weren’t a fan of.

The Kentucky Gent in Copy Collection T-Shirt, H&M Sweater, Zara Jeans, Steve Madden Maniaa Boot

9. Learn basic editing

Take an online class in either Photoshop or Lightroom. It can seriously make a huge difference in what your photos look like. I need to take my own advice here. I use Lightroom, but don’t understand half the functionality. I relish the moments I get to work with photographers for that reason. Their editing is always SO much better than mine, but hopefully I at least dress better than them?

The Kentucky Gent in Alternative Apparel Tank, Floral Ralph Lauren Shorts, and Zara Sandals for Sun Tan City.

10. Stop being your own biggest critic

We all have bits and pieces, some of us more so than other, of our bodies, faces, or hair that we don’t like. Don’t spend your entire editing process picking those bits apart. You’ll take the fun out of all of this. If you don’t like what you see in the photos remember it for the next time you shoot. Make sure you don’t sit or stand like that, do something different with your hair, or maybe wear a shirt that doesn’t fit like that one did. But most of all remember that the models, celebrities, and yes even some bloggers out there are photoshopped to the moon and back. That’s why they look the way they do. You’re beautiful just the way you are.

Anyways.. hope this simple how-to was helpful, and I hope I didn’t talk to much. I tried to answer all the questions I had/still have without being too wordy. Also wanted to take this time to say that I’m going to start a new weekly series on here called “Tuesday Tips.” If you have any questions, concerns, or comments that you’d like some advice on shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll be sure to include them in the series!

Stylishly Yours,

Josh Johnson

The Kentucky Gent

  • I’ve help for people 😀 but sometimes I use my tripod

  • Wow, thanks for the tips! I shoot with a tripod sometimes too.

    Just discovered your blog and I’m now a new follower!

    Justin
    Walking, Talking Style

    • That’s great to hear! Thanks for the kind words, hope some of the tips will be a help. It takes some getting used to for sure, but it always gets better. I’ll definitely check out your site as well. Thanks again.

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  • These are great tips, Joshua! I haven’t really taken a lot of outfit posts, because I haven’t had anyone to take them for me, but now I’m thinking I could give it a shot 🙂

    • Definitely!! So glad it was helpful, feel free to reach out to me at josh@thekentuckygent.com with any and all other questions in regards to it! It takes some practice, but you’ll be able to nail it down in no time.

  • This Post is Absolutely Amazing! I seriously hate always asking people to take my photos because I feel like I am inconveniencing them 😛 And I once tried to take my own photos but got too frustrated, I am glad you wrote this post, it really does help those who are trying to learn! Thank you <3

    best,
    Carmen
    http://www.simplycarmenrenee.com

  • That’s soo good to hear! I’m glad it was helpful and that the girls at SBS shared this. I’ve learned that real friends don’t care at all, but I totally get it, and this way you have full control. Feel free to reach out to me at josh@thekentuckygent.com with any questions you may have.

  • So happy to find this post, I definitely struggle with taking my own pictures, I have a piece of wood in my patio that I was thinking about turning into a little stand to mark my focus point, good to know I’m not the only one trying to figure it out.

    Thanks for sharing

    Natalia

  • Great tips! I love you’re blog by the way and I’m so happy to see another Louisvillian showing the world our unique sense of style! 🙂

    • Thanks doll. I really appreciate the love! Same goes for you. Louisville knows how to raise them 😉

  • Lee

    I use a try pod and an old point and shoot camera. I normally use a timer but a remote would make things so easy! Great tips! Lightroom has saved so many of my pictures. I didn’t even take a course (which I should) but play with the pictures until they look better. Even was able to save over exposed pics. Love your blog. Found through SBS.
    Xo, Lee
    Edfbylee.com

    • Remote is a lifesaver! Lightroom is definitely another lifesaver for me! Thanks for the love, I appreciate it. 🙂

  • Heck yes to all of this! I took my own photos with my remote/tripod set up for the first year of blogging, and it was such a great experience. You definitely learn a LOT about photography & yourself pretty quickly! Great tips

    xx
    Here&Now
    Enter to win a $500 Visa Giftcard!
    Enter to win 3 gold foil prints + a $300 Visa Giftcard!

    • Right? Couldn’t agree more! I’m very lucky to have found a good friend who’s willing to help out with photos now, it makes things so much easier, but I’m glad I had the experience of doing it this way as well.

  • Just found this post after hearing about it from another SBS girl at the convention this weekend… Moving to Miami soon and sadly, my fiance/photographer won’t be able to make the move just yet so I will be having to figure out how to do photos without him. Thanks so much for sharing this! I will be putting it to good use 🙂 Too funny that you met the guy you’re dating that way, too. I love it!

    xo, Bekka
    Palm and Peachtree, A Fashion and Lifestyle Blog
    Instagram | Facebook | Bloglovin

    • Glad it will be of some use to you with the move! I’m very lucky to have found a good friend/neighbor to help out now, but it’s definitely great to have this to fall back on.

      Hope to be at SBS convention next year!

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  • Jennifer

    Josh, not only do I love your aesthetic, your blog design and your style, but I love this post! So extremely helpful! My friend and I just started our own blog and even though we’re lucky enough to have each other to take photos, there are days when we have to use the tripod and I’m still struggling to get photos to be consistently in focus! This was extremely helpful and I will be trying your tip out about switching to manual Wednesday morning. Thank you again and we would love for you to check out seekwandershare.com and let us know what you think of our new blog, Seek Wander Share!

    Best,
    Jennifer

    • So glad it proved helpful! Thank you for all the kind words and for stopping by as well. I just checked out your site, keep on keeping on! It takes time, but it’s well worth all the effort that goes into it. If you have any other questions about getting started with blogging feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

      • Jennifer

        Thanks so much for taking the time to peek at it! We really appreciate it! We are loving blogging and are just trying to continue to be ahead of the curve with content in the scheduled queue. Your site is amazing and your content super thoughtful, we’ll definitely be coming back soon and will take you up on that offer I’m sure!

        Hope you have a great rest of your week!
        Jennifer & Melissa

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  • Nico Chico

    I ADORE THIS ARTICLE! I take very often pictures by myslef for my fashion blog and I had the exact same problems as you was describing. All these people who are always starring at me are hilarious, haha. The other day this one old man asked me – ”Are you working for Vogue?”… (I was doing pictures in fields btw.. hahahhahaa)

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  • honetschvi

    How do you get your shots in portrait? My camera (older Canon Rebel) has a tripod mount for landscape but not portrait… Thoughts/suggestions?

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