TopshopXOlympusPEN: Photography Basics.


Now, don’t get me wrong I am by no means an expert when it comes to taking a photograph. In fact, until a few weeks ago I could get to grips with composition of a photo, then stand there with my camera in auto and hope for the best. But then I attended the TopshopXOlympusPEN workshops, and I basically learnt the basic’s of operating a camera in manual, and I’ve found it SO useful, that I thought it would only be fair to share my knowledge!

The Event

The event itself was brilliantly organised, and well thought out.  The session I attended was taught by Cleveland and Victoria from In the Frow. We had nearly an hour, and were all given an Olympus Pen to try taking the perfect flat-lay with the props Topshop had provided. The camera was lovely to use, I also brought by own along and used that for some of the shots as well, and these are the ones I’ve used here.

Both the teachers, and the other Olympus staff there were super helpful, and now I’m so much more confident using my camera, and I hope my photo’s are starting to slowly improve too! So here’s a summary of what I learnt, and hopefully it will be useful to someone out there who was as clueless about this as me!


What I learnt

This is the before snap –  when I shot the photo in auto, (my camera does normally take better photo’s than this in Auto but given that we were undergound in Topshop with TerHERible lighting, this is what it produced.)


So exposure is basically to do with how much light is coming through your camera lens, this is important for quite obvious reasons. Too much light = photo is too bright. Not enough light = photo is too dark. You get the idea. But the exposure can be controlled but changing these three elements.


This is the setting that controls the size of the opening that is letting the light through the lens. Aperture is measured in f-stops, and basically the lower the f-stop number, the larger the opening and the more light will come in through to your lens, and vice versa.

Aperture is also what allows the focus to change between the items in the foreground, or background. Basically when you see those great looking photo’s with a product nicely in focus and a blurry background – this isn’t done in editing, but by changing the aperture settings! A high f-stop should be used for this effect, and low f-stop for a landscape or similar where you want both the background, and foreground in focus.

Shutter speed

Shutter speed controls the amount of time that the light is let in for. Changing this allows you to take photos of moving objects.


This is useful if you are shooting in different lights. So for example, a lower ISO on a bright day, and your image will come out crisp and sharp. In low light, you will probably need to have a higher ISO, but too hight and it may decrease the sharpness that’s achieved with the lower ISO.

And this is the after photo, after applying my new knowledge. As you can see I spilt a LOT more nail polish after this process, and the photo is brighter, sharper and less shadowy than above!


I hope this helped even a little – if you have any tips to share please feel free!

Bonus snap: me practicing at home with better lighting and the amazing items Topshop gave every participant in a goody bag! I’m now completely addicted to these Vita Coco coffee things!




13 thoughts on “TopshopXOlympusPEN: Photography Basics.

  1. Came across your post on Twitter retweet- this is great! There’s such a different between the pics. Thanks for sharing what you learnt, you wrote in a way that was really easy to understand 🙂 have just enjoyed your instagram too!


  2. Thanks for all the useful information – and what a useful event Topshop hosted! I think it’s great that brands are becoming more in touch with bloggers, and helping them online. Your second picture is lovely, and really brings out the colours of the nail polishes! I’m in love the the coconut water / coffee too, yum.


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