My name is Nathan, I am 26 & a Beauty Product Photographer at @plasticloafer on Instagram...
I started my account as a hobby and I am now fortunate enough to work with brands on their upcoming launches and campaigns. I often create the swatch images and product shots for Revolution Beauty. I live in Manchester, UK and watch Jurassic Park at least twice a week while I work. Photography is a huge passion of mine & I hope that I can share some tips and tricks whether you are a professional or just starting out..
1. Tell us about how you got started with beauty photography?
I have always had an interest in photography, and I started a fashion blog in 2014 to help keep me busy whilst I dealt with severe anxiety. I soon got bored of the fashion aspect of my blog so transitioned into skincare & makeup, and instantly found my calling.
I wasn’t comfortable uploading tutorials of how to use the products so I focused on the imagery and loved getting as creative as possible with what I had available. I started with a really cheap DSLR camera that I received for Christmas years before and natural light!
2. What are your tips for improving the quality of images? What editing tools do you use?
Natural light was a saviour for me. I didn’t like (and still never use) the flash on my camera as I found it left everything way too overexposed, so I found that using as much natural light as possible really improved the quality of my images. If you are using a phone, always wipe the lens with a clean/dry cloth as you will notice the images can look quite foggy because of daily phone handling and use, it will instantly improve quality.
I only use Adobe Photoshop CC to edit my images, which most of the time is just basic lighting touch ups and to remove fingerprints and dust/dirt from the photograph. They also offer Photoshop Elements and I used that for years because it has guides to teach you how to edit and found it incredibly helpful.
There is also an Adobe Lightroom app for iOS and Android that is free and allows you to adjust lighting/colours as you would on the main software! I would recommend any of those.
3. What camera and equipment do you use? And what would you suggest for someone who is just getting started?
At the moment, I use a Canon 70d camera body and have two lenses for it: Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di - This is what I use for macro photography. Canon Zoom Lens EF 24-70mm f/4 - This is what I use for all other images.
For lighting, I have just switched to a strobe flashlight that I love, but before that I used soft boxes for a couple of years, and would recommend them to anyone who’s just getting started.
Google was an amazing resource for me with any questions that I had about lighting and styles of photography. I would watch YouTube videos about photography for hours and take photographs as I watched to see if I could replicate what they were doing. Also, be a little self-critical, if you don’t like something in the image then try again with slight changes. I could spend over an hour and take hundreds of images just for one photo that I loved. Don’t give up, keep going and keep trying different techniques.
4. What are some of the props that people can use to elevate their photography?
I have found that simply adding a sheet of clear plastic underneath a product to add a reflection instantly gives an images a professional feel. I bought a packet of plastic wallets for £1 once and just cut them into single pieces and use those most of the time now as it’s such an easy technique.
I like cute props, anything mini or not normally associated with the product you are taking a photograph off always interests me, like a mini shopping basket or a glass bowl turned upside down to look like a display case. Also, the plastic wallets come in really hand for texture or spill shots because it is also easier to clean up!
5. What is your top tip for keeping content fresh and exciting on Instagram?
Don’t focus on the numbers, or if the photograph is doing well. I have been stuck at 15k followers for about two years and the algorithm has really affected my likes and engagement but I post because I love what I do. Enjoy yourself and don’t take it too seriously, if you want to smash a bottle of foundation for an image then do it (obviously do it in a safe environment and be careful).
Support smaller accounts, let them know that you love a photo, it really means a lot whether you have 10 followers or 200,000 and can make your day to think ‘oh I actually made someone smile’.
6. What Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration?
I have so many! When I first started @futilitiesmore really made me want to improve on my imagery, her shots are stunning and super crisp and really is amazing at swatching and taking a beautiful photograph.
7. Lastly, what are your favourite Revolution products?
Without question it is the Revolution Pro Foundation Drops. I think I am on my third bottle of F2 and genuinely haven’t found a product like it. It is so light on the skin, you can’t feel it and it just gives a really glowy finish and blurs at the same time. I have dry/senstive skin so it has helped me out a lot when I have had a reaction to something or just want a ‘your skin but better’ day."