5 Ways to take excellent photos for your DofE portfolio

If you are taking Duke of Edinburgh Skills course, you will need to take some photos for your DofE portfolio. When you complete your award, you will have a portfolio of evidence from all of the sections - and our course will give you many opportunities to take stunning shots.

You don’t need any expensive equipment to do this, although if you have a camera, you will often get better resolution photos. So here are a few tips to help you get the best results;

  • Bath bombs are VERY photogenic, especially the dual colour ones or any with additions such as floral buds or glitter. Try taking photos of them from an angleto where they look the smoothest.

  • Soaps tend not to look as exciting, but if you have made more than one bar, you can stack them on top of each other. The soap with embeds can look good if you stand them on end or photograph from above.

  • Scrubs and steamers are possibly the least exciting of all the products. For best results, concentrate your photography on the making phase.

Whatever you do, take lots of photos each week and then you will have some stunning shots to choose from. In terms of improving the shots, here are five easy ways to get great results.

  1. Angles - don’t always go for the obvious angle. Whilst bath bombs are spherical, you can stack them, or turn them so that the saturn ring (around the middle) isn’t horizontal. Stack soaps or steamers at odd angles.

Simply stacking a couple of bars of soap, gives a much better photo than if you lay them flat

Simply stacking a couple of bars of soap, gives a much better photo than if you lay them flat

2. Action shots rock! The best thing about bath bombs, is when they hit the water. We often video ours, to show to customers at fairs/markets - but you will need photos for your portfolio. If you want to get a good photo of your bath bombs activating, use a sink and place the bomb in it gently (alwyas make sure the taps have stopped running and the water is still). Take the photos from directly above - and take a succession of them. You never know how the bath bomb is going to react or what patterns it’s going to make.

This is a pink & blue bath bomb which has been in the water for about a minute. The shot was taken from directly above the water

This is a pink & blue bath bomb which has been in the water for about a minute. The shot was taken from directly above the water

3. Fill the frame! This is really simple. Avoid having lots of space around your products. You can take a shot with space around your products, but use an editing tool to crop it - removing unwanted empty space always improves a photo!

This photo was a tray on a table - it looks much better without the table!

This photo was a tray on a table - it looks much better without the table!

4. Lighting - always try to take photos during the day, in a well lit area. Near to a window is perfect! The more natural light you can use, the better your photo will be. Avoid taking shots in a poorly lit area and using the flash. It will light up your products but cast shadows.

This shot is dark & a flash was used so you can see shadows

This shot is dark & a flash was used so you can see shadows

This shot was taken in front of a window during the day - you can see the difference such a simple step makes

This shot was taken in front of a window during the day - you can see the difference such a simple step makes

5. Not every photo has to be of the finished product! To add variety, take photos as you go. Sometimes it is as important to document the process as well as the end result. Well taken pictures of ingredients being measured out, mixed in bowls, or photos of pans with melting oils - they all have potential to look great!

This is just a simple bath bomb, resting in the mixing bowl. it’s being tapped with a spoon to release the bomb - but it demonstrates the method used to good effect.

This is just a simple bath bomb, resting in the mixing bowl. it’s being tapped with a spoon to release the bomb - but it demonstrates the method used to good effect.

Don’t forget - we love to feature photos on our social media feeds - so if you are happy for us to feature yours you can either tag us, give us a mention or just simply email a copy to us. If you have good video footage of your bath bombs in action, we sometimes use these as promotional posts to demonstrate what can be learnt on our course. Again - get in touch if you are happy for us to feature you. We don’t put names on the posts, but if you are happy for us to do so, we will!

Happy clicking :)


4 reasons why our DofE skills course could be right for you...

If you are embarking on either your Bronze or Silver DofE award, then you will need to give careful consideration to the choices you make. Learning a new skill should not only be about educating yourself, it should be fun as well. If you are still procrastinating, consider the following;

1. Soakster is an Approved Activity Provider - we have full accreditation from the DofE and are authorised not only to deliver content but to write assessors reports too. This means that although you should always update your local DofE leader with details of what you are doing for each section, there is no need to seek their approval for our course. The DofE have already done this - so you can get started straight away.

2. The photo opportunities are fantastic! For your DofE portfolio you need to provide photographs which will be incorporated into your portfolio. Our course provides an array of photographic opportunities - preparing, making, moulding, using and of course the final products. How colourful they are is up to you, the limit is your imagination.

3. Our course is unique - we can guarantee you will not find anything quite like it, anywhere else. We like to think that almost everyone who completes this course, will never have made their own soap or a multi coloured bath bomb and yet they are products that we all use regularly. Your DofE award should be a personal journey of adventure and education. Our course fits the bill perfectly. 

4. Once you start, you won't want to stop - a little learning is a dangerous thing. Once you have a few products under your belt, your mind will start thinking about what else you can make and who you are going to gift it to. The likelihood is you won't just complete the course and stop. The possibilities are endless.

Full details of our DofE Skills course are available here

If you have any questions before signing up, please get in touch - we are more than happy to answer them.


Duke of Edinburgh Skills course - learn to make bath bombs & soap

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (abbreviated to DofE) is a youth awards programme which rewards teenagers & young adults for completing a series of exercises. Amongst the categories requiring completion is skills, where participants are required to learn a new skill and be able to evidence what they have learnt throughout a minimum 12-week period.

Since we get asked so often at events, how bath bombs are made – we have put together a Duke of Edinburgh skills course designed specifically for those looking learn a new skill over a 12-week period, whilst having fun. It is aimed at complete beginners and includes both recipes and full instructions to make nine products. The remainder of the 12-week course covers the importance of safety, labelling and other aspects which are relevant.

How it meets DofE criteria:

  • Participants will learn a new practical skill which we hope will become a personal interest
  • Some of the more advanced bath bombs are challenging – participants will learn to develop patience, problem solving and persistence.
  • The course touches briefly on the science of bath bombs too – so it’s educational
  • We provide templates for completion each week to accompany photos, so participants can monitor their progress as they work through the course.
  • By the end of the course participants will have the necessary skills to make wonderful gifts for friends and family
  • Assessment is at the end of the course and the assessors report will be written by a member of the Guild of Soap & Toiletry Makers.

What is included in the price?

  • Recipes
  • Illustrated instructions
  • Troubleshooting guide
  • Equipment & ingredients list
  • Recommended suppliers list
  • Weekly progress template
  • Email Support
  • End of course assessment
  • Assessors report

The course is easy to follow and contains illustrations & photos at every point to show each step of the recipe. We are also available for email support throughout the 12 weeks (and after if participants decide to continue making bath bombs & soaps). The download is in PDF format, so there is no need to print it out.

At the end of the course, participants are sent a link to the online assessment. It is based only on the course content and consists of multiple choice questions. Once this has been passed the assessors reports will be written & submitted.

To purchase the course content & start on your journey towards learning a skill which will stay with you for life - click here.

 

Product testing

The best bit about this business is the amount of testing that has to be done before products can be taken to market. We have a constant supply of freshly made bath bombs which sit in a basket in the bathroom - and the only houserule is; never have a bath without trying one.

 

Today's offering was a basic lavender bomb. I'm still working on the final base recipe, so whilst I do that I take the various colours/fragrances out for a test run. This one combines Bicarb, Citric Acid, Kaolin clay, Cocoa butter, SLS & Sweet Almond oil. The colour is exceptionally vivid, maybe too much so - but the dispersal of colour in the bath is hypnotising - which is exactly the effect I wanted. Onwards and upwards.