15 Tips for Getting IG Worthy Photos
A lot of you ask me how I get my #OOTD shots and if I have any tips when it comes to Instagram photos and iPhone photos in general. The answer is YES. This post is geared towards you, the ones who are trying to create better content! I am constantly trying to grow in that area too, so I have many tips I've learned along the way which I'm happy to share with you! These are a random mix of tips FOR YOU, for OTHERS who are taking photos of you, and ya. Just tips in general. I mean.... What's the point of wearing your cutest outfit or eating the most extravagant dessert if no one sees it!? My entire life motto is "PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN" and I have ALWAYS felt that way. I don't claim to be a photographer or anything, I just love the memories I have gathered (and am still gathering) throughout my life from being photo-obsessed.
In middle school I literally had disposable cameras on me at all times and had photos of my friends and I doing the most random shit developed weekly at our town's local MotoPhoto. In high school I was the girl walking around school, every party, and every family function with a digital camera in my purse. Once phones started coming out with cameras, I needed to always have the LATEST AND GREATEST. I didn't care about the phone really, I just needed whichever one had the camera with the most megapixels.
Anyways, you get it.
Being such a photo-taking freak means I've picked up on a few things along the way, so I hope this helps a bit!
1. FIND A GREAT BACKGROUND.
Be creative and look for photo opportunities everywhere you go, like I do literally every moment of every day. (Me eating a sandwich in front of nice wallpaper: “this would be such a cute photo” *hands phone to Louis*) If you see a vintage looking wall or a colorful door or a cobblestone street or a neon sign or even something edgy like a graffiti mural, go for it! You want your images to have lots of different backgrounds so your feed is exciting to look at!
2. FLATLAY GOALS.
Honestly, I have NOT yet mastered the art of a flatlay although I’ve read like 100 blog posts on it and see people post them every day. My flatlays are right now mediocre. One thing I know for sure is you need a cute surface. Try a wooden floor. Try a fluffy scarf. Try a marble table. Try some wrapping paper. Here's an example of a time I bought so many cute earrings from the Bauble Bar sample sale and laid them out nicely on my fur coat on top of a desk in an attempt to capture it all properly:
3. TO POSE OR NOT TO POSE?
I love it when I see someone’s feed and they have a mix of smiling/looking at the camera and not. I think it’s weird when someone’s feed is them literally NEVER looking at the camera. It just seems unrealistic and a bit pretentious to me. I get that candids (er, fake candids) are super cute and often look great but let’s be honest, you didn’t NOT know someone was taking your photo in every. single. photo. Be a real person for a sec!
4. SELFIE STICKS ARE NOT DEAD.
I feel like there is such a stigma against using a selfie stick. I get it. They were pretty much created for tourists and most people who use them keep that silver metal rod part RIGHT in the center of their photo. No shame. HOWEVER, a selfie stick really IS a great tool for when you’re by yourself. It might just help you get a random filler post shot or a photo of you having an amazing hair day. No one has to see it or know you’re using it. Angle the phone/stick so your arm isn’t showing. For example, I have a cute pink selfie stick with a detachable bluetooth remote, built-in tripod, and I took this photo of myself using it:
5. I WIPE MY OWN LENS
Before I take a photo with my iPhone, (or before I hand it to someone to take a photo of me) I ALWAYS wipe my lens. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth handy, a good ol’ hot breath followed by a tee shirt wipe should do the trick. This makes a SIGNIFICANT difference. A phone that has been in your purse or pocket all day is naturally going to have some dust on the lens, therefore not allowing you to get a maximum quality photo. You'll notice a difference in clarity right away.
6. JUST TAP HERE.
iPhones have a capability where you can bring the subject of the photo into focus just by touching the screen with your finger where you need the focus to happen. I use this feature almost every day! This really helps if you’re doing a foreground/background shot. For example:
7. TRY LOTS OF ANGLES.
Don’t just shoot straight on. Try a shot from above if you’re somewhere where you have the ability to get a bird’s eye view. Try a super low angle where you bend down to the ground and shoot upwards. This often makes for a really edgy shot. Pro-tip: you can also cut ugly sidewalks or ugly grass out of a shot this way.
8. LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING.
Before you waste your time, TEST out the light first by pointing your iPhone towards the place you’re considering taking the shot. If the photo looks well lit on the screen before placing anyone/anything in the shot, you will most likely be setting yourself up for a great shot. Don't point the camera TOWARDS sunlight unless you want a silhouette shot. For clearest and best lit photos, light should be coming from behind you and facing toward the subject you’re pointing at. Position yourself or your subject accordingly!
9. TRIPOD IT OUT.
If you're out in the wild and need a shot of your outfit but have no friends available, a tripod is your friend. There is no shame in my tripod game. My selfie stick has a baby tripod on it, but I also have a foldable taller one that goes right in my bag and helps me get the shot when no one else can. That's how I got this shot:
10. HUSBAND TRAINING.
When Louis is around, he is my photographer. Is he a skilled photographer? Not really (sorry babe) but I make it literally foolproof for him to get the shot I need by positioning the camera exactly where I think the photo should happen, carefully handing it to him, and then stepping into center frame. Sometimes I will even show him inspiration photos beforehand if there's a certain type of shot I am looking to portray. He's been trained to take multiple shots (not TOO fast so they don't come out blurry) and shoot from multiple angles. (He's learned mostly everything on this cheat sheet already.) Does he want to kill me most of the time? Probably. But he also supports creating great content so... he deals. Pro tip: This task usually goes really well after complimenting him, feeding him, allowing him to have a nap, etc.
11. FLASH ME!
Don’t be afraid of using the flash! If you are NOT outside in natural sunlight, chances are the flash will HELP, not hinder your photo. Also makes things look super edgy sometimes that would have looked ugly in other settings. I use flash a lot for food photos, especially in dimly lit restaurants (I don't care how the people in the booth next to me feel about that and neither should you). For example:
12.DEATH TO ZOOM.
Instant photo killer. I don’t know why people want to do this. Especially moms. They just love a zoom. I always tell older people before they take a photo of me, "DON'T ZOOM IN PLEASE!" Just MOVE yourself closer to the subject if you need a closer shot. Physically. Zooming in makes pictures grainy and blurry and terrible and off center and then it's just a photo of your face when you needed the whole outfit and UGH. Just a bad idea.
13. FOR EVERY SHOT, TAKE 10.
Chances are if you only take one photo, someone will have closed their eyes, made a weird face, had a blurry moving arm, or a number of other photo killers. Burst mode on the iPhone is a great tool for achieving multiple shots at once if you don’t have time to take 10 separate shots.
14. BOOMERANGS ARE TRICKY.
If you are choosing to take a Boomerang (the 3-second moving GIF you’ve probably seen a few of by now) because you think there is a fun moment for it, (via the Boomerang app or Boomerang within IG stories) keep in mind that Boomerangs offer a lower quality image than a regular photo. Boomerangs ONLY work in a VERY well-lit situation. Otherwise the graininess makes it not worth it to even try.
15. DON’T ALTER YOURSELF.
I’m all for editing something ugly out of the background of a photo (like someone wearing a lime green shirt when you’re having a pink moment or a really ugly pipe in an otherwise perfect setting) but not for photoshopping body parts. There are so many apps nowadays with capabilities to do this and I feel like I can always tell when someone does because the lines next to them are squiggly or that body part is suddenly blurry! So awkward. Unless you are planning on living in your basement and never going in public, the same people who see your photos on social media are going to see you in real life. It’s really awkward when someone weighs 120lbs on Instagram and 180lbs in person. Just remember, you are beautiful JUST THE WAY YOU ARE! We need to be focusing more on celebrating our flaws and not erasing them. <3
Oh, and then there's the wonderful world of POST-PRODUCTION. AKA editing apps. My current favorites are Lightroom (I currently use presets from blogger @pilotmadeleine), Snapseed, and Darkroom. Should I do a blog post on JUST my photo edits? Do you have any tips for ME!? Let me know!