We’re all guilty of it. You know – the idolizing, dreaming and wishing we all do when scrolling through Instagram. I mean, how can you not? Instagram is constantly filled with beautiful photos of moments captured in glorious set-ups. Glamours spreads of coffee and fancy drinks, food that looks too beautiful to eat and people that are literally living the dream.
I mean, how do these influencers even find these adorable cafes around the world? Or always have perfect clothes, hair and that “candid” look? How to they make food look SO amazing? Or have most aesthetically pleasing houses? These are all questions going through our minds when we’re creeping the 18th photo on their feeds (it’s okay, we do it too). At first, you thought “it can’t be that hard” to take a photo of my awesome outfit in a cute alleyway, or snap a quick photo of your meal before eating it. Then, try after try, it just seems harder and harder.
How do you really get that candid look without looking clueless and why does your food always look like it’s just one notch down form theirs? What happens if you don’t have an Instagram boyfriend?? Although it might seem out of reach, the good news is – it’s actually attainable. All you need to do is break it down into a process. So, we’ve done just that for you!
Step 1: Find Your Photographer
First things first – your photographer doesn’t always have to be the same person! We get it if you don’t have an Instagram boyfriend or a best friend that is always there to hype you up. It’s more likely than not, if you’re an aspiring blogger the people around you will understand. So, don’t be afraid to ask your best friend sometimes, and your boyfriend/ girlfriend other times.
Or- If you’ve sat down and talked content with a lot of influencers or read their blogs, you’d be surprised how many of them actually take their photos themselves! You can either use a tripod and a remote control (that you’ll hide in your hand in the photo) or the good old timer. Doing things this way will put you in full control, and give you the ability to try out new angles, poses and lighting. But, it can of course, seem a little intimidating at first. There’s a definite learning curve. If you’re getting fed up with this way, you can always resort to the student trick! It goes a little something like this: “Hi, I’m a student at ___ University. I am doing a photography project and I need a photo in this doorway, in this street, under this sign, etc. Could you please take one?” They’ll never know 😉
Step 2: Know Your Camera
If you own one of the newer iPhones, you can get away using just your camera on your phone to snap amazing shots. Don’t believe me? Check out Apple’s hashtag #ShotoniPhone. The photos taken on an iPhone are stunning, just as a nice camera would be. But, these impressive photos aren’t accomplished using just the factory settings. Playing around with, and know the settings on your camera, like the exposure and focus make a world a difference. A good start when you’re taking the photo is to underexpose your images, meaning they will turn out a little darker as raw image. Once you edit them, you can fix it up easier than a photo that has too much light.
Step 3: Find Your Shot
The basics of photography does not lay in soley in your camera or photographer, it has a lot to do with how you line up and take your shot. Luckily, Instagram offers the grid feature for this reason. If you’re snapping photos with your phone, turn this on (with a camera just pretend!). It will help you cut your shot into 3’s. This is a general rule of thumb for photography. Especially since Instagram only allows square thumbnail images, when it’s cut into 3 lines it attracts the eye, as each line will capture a different mood or colour scheme. (i.e. top: sky, middle: ocean, bottom: sand) If you scroll through your Instagram explore page right now, you’ll notice that many of the photos include a large percentage of negative space.
This means that the subject of the photo actually has more space around it to attract more attention to it. The growing appreciation of space is also applied in photography to take away too much visual clutter. Makes sense for Instagram – especially those minimalist pages, right? With a few simple tips in place, you can try our different poses with more confidence (such as that candid look or cafe spread) knowing that your background of your focal point is working in your favour.
Step 4: Know Your Location
Good news – those adorable cafes and graffiti-painted alleyways are becoming more and more easier to find, because of Instagram! Searching on Instagram’s explore page for “places nearby” allows you to check out other people’s photos for some inspiration. Maybe there’s a sunflower field 20 minutes away from your aunts house, or a cute and quant alleyway behind your favourite restaurant.
A great tip when you’re travelling is to creep the neighbourhood your accommodation is in to get a feel for it and scope out some awesome photo-opts. Remember to be on the look out for 1 or 2 things that are interesting in your daily stroll. For example, an interesting tiled floor, or stain glass windows. Incorporating the aesthetic of the acitexture or nature to match the mood of your shot is what Instagram is all about. The way to make these shots actually work is to go at the best time of day to get the optimal shot!
For example, 7am on a busy avenue, you’ll be less likely to get others in your shot that at 3pm. Or, the golden hours when the sun is setting make all the difference compared to shots in the direct light.
Step 5: Find Your Editing Tools
There are hundreds of editing tools that offer the basic adjustments of exposure, contrast, sharpening, etc. to enhance your photos – even built into Instagram! But, typically – the editing on Instagram just doesn’t cut it. If you want to achieve a sharp and defined look, you’ll have to use a third party app to fully get the best out of your photo. A typical standard that is used by many influencers is Adobe Lightroom. Although, if your feed includes more texts and graphics, you may want to use a free tool, such as Canva. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of 15 apps that will allow you to rock your Instagram feed.
Bonus Tip: It’s important to keep in mind your overall Instagram feed when snapping photos! A variety of cute cafe layouts, city backdrops, friendly faces might work great for you. Or maybe you want to focus on your outfit details and get close up and personal with the textures and details, and add a couple of quotes to mix it up. Whatever type of your shots you take, make sure there’s a consist flow of mood, colours, and story behind them! And whatever type of shots you take, make sure you look stylish doing it with the LuxBoxCase!