top of page

How I Made Money on the Toilet

Image is everything. And first impressions count.

So whether you are taking a photograph of a cake topper for a wedding or a pair of new trainers for your blog, you want it to be seen in the best possible light. You want to give your audience that instant YES feeling as soon as they cast their eye on your image.

Your images ARE your brand. And each and every photograph counts.

So what can you do to achieve the best possible results?

What indeed. A studio? An expensive photographer or the best SLR on the market? Lighting equipment and an old oak table? Nope. The answer is none of these things.

I found this out the hard way. I bought all of the expensive stuff, thinking if I have it all then I will produce the best images possible. But that was not the case. All it took was for me to think about what I had around me.

You can achieve beautiful images too. And I'm going to show you how.

So where should you go to shoot a perfect photograph?

I live in a small(ish) top floor flat in Brixton, South London. I don't have the luxury of floor to ceiling windows and sadly no outdoor space. So I needed to think about what I did have.

I experimented taking photographs on a table top in my South facing kitchen, but when the sun came out (yes it really does from time to time) it bleached out my image, casting harsh shadows and making my images stark and unromantic.

So I invested in a reflector screen, which I would prop up over the kitchen sink to diffuse the light. Yes it was good. But it wasn't perfect by any means. The light would still change dramatically through the reflector, making a sequence of images (the kind I create for step-by-step instructions) very varied and non consistent. The colour temperature kept changing from hot to cold.

So I moved to the living room at the front of the house. It felt much more 'natural' to be working in this space as this is usually where I end up crafting or using my laptop. I set up my table and took a shot, using the natural light from the North-facing window. No harsh sun light this side of the house. Great! But no, the picture was cold, dull, sad looking. The colours weren't popping like they were in real life. I needed to rethink what I was doing.

And then it came to me.....

The toilet! Well, the bathroom actually. Of course! Why didn't I think of this sooner? The space is lovely and bright, and the light that pours in is diffused due to the opaque windows. I have to admit, I wasn't completely convinced at first, but I'd tried all the other rooms in the house so it was my last resort.

I had recently purchased some great background photo boards, to give the impression that I own a lovely old wooden farmhouse table. These boards are big enough to create a good size flat lay and nice and sturdy too, so a great investment in my eyes. I have other clever background ideas for photography, which I will blog about soon. Watch this space!

So I went into the bathroom, photo board in hand, looking for the best spot to set up shot. My choices were limited given the size of the space. I tried placing the board on the floor, but the bath and sink casts shadows over it. I needed to raise it up. Yes, I could have brought in my bistro table, but instead I walked over to the toilet, and placed the board on top of the toilet seat. Genius.

I got up onto a chair to get the best overhead angle and tested out a few compositions. Each and every one turned out great. But I wasn't entirely convinced, I needed some encouragement from people just like me, so I posted my pics on the Makelight community on Facebook, and the response was overwhelming! People were asking me where the photo board was from, what kind of camera I was using (iPhone 5) and they really loved what I'd created. It was just the sort of pat on the back I needed.

Since then, people have taken this golden nugget of styling advice and started shooting their own compositions in their bathrooms (or toilet), tagging me in their pictures.

This is one of my personalised watercolour paintings from my Etsy shop

Ta-da! The finished result.

Styling isn't exactly glamorous, but you don't need to let the whole world know that.

So remember image is everything, your images ARE your brand and creating gorgeous photography needn't cost a fortune. So, what are you waiting for? Go make some money on the toilet!

Tag me in them, I'd love to see what you create @embolina12 #takenonthetoilet

bottom of page