Ok so discloser first. I do not consider myself a professional photographer by any means. I enjoy taking pictures, especially nice ones. Over the past few years I've really discovered that not only is it something that I enjoy doing but I actually kinda love it. But more on that later.
Pictures taken with an actual camera are without a doubt much better than anything you'll take on your phone. However, at times it's so much easier to just whip out your phone to capture a moment (because lets be real, it's pretty much glued to the hand anyway) rather than hunt around frantically for your camera. Even here on the blog, you'll find that these days, most of my photos are from my phone. It's easier to edit photos while I'm nursing plain and simple. With that said... I am looking to invest in a DSLR for something pretty awesome I'm working on (yay for being vague!). So if you have any camera suggestions send them my way!
I've also realized that I have a pretty unhealthy obsession with Instagram. Like if you call me while I'm scrolling, I won't answer because I don't want to loose my spot. Yeah it's that bad. I know some people get a little down looking at Instagram because it's filled with so many pretty and seemingly perfect pictures and then your life suddenly feels messy and not Pinterest-y enough. I don't have that problem. I LOVE looking at all the "perfect" pictures. Maybe it's just because I'm a realist and I know that surrounding every pretty picture is some sort of mess. Messy house, messy room, messy desk, messy emotions etc. Whatever. I don't mind one bit that people use Instagram as a "highlight reel" because I know it's exactly that, just the highlights. And for whatever reason if you're super clean, and organized, and amazing, without a care in the world AND you post perfect pictures. Well more power to you. I'm fairly certain you aren't a real human but like I said, all the more power to you. So when I post on Instagram I like putting my best foot forward. I like posting pictures I'm proud of in those little squares. I like to have a nice feed to look at. That's it. Nothing more.
So, for those of you who want to up your iPhoto/Instagram game, here are my 7 tips for better pictures with your iPhone...
1) Post whatever and whenever you want.
I know this seems like a no brainer but you'd be surprised at the mind set people have with Instagram. Afraid to over post or that their picture isn't good enough. WHO CARES PEOPLE. It's a simple social media site and that's it. Post pictures of what you love! If that's food, go for it. If that's of your cross-fit equipment, do it. Whatever! Don't post what you think people want to see. If they don't like what they see, all they have to do is simply "unfollow". Don't change who you are just to get "likes" on social media. That is literally the worst. Same thing goes if someone doesn't like you "spamming" their feed. Ok fine then stop following. It's just that simple. And please please don't delete a photo because it doesn't have enough "likes". That's taking away a little part of who you are because you think it's not good enough. Just be yourself. Whether that's posting every now and then or a few times a day... Just be authentic.
2) Natural Light
Ok. For reals tips... Here we go. Natural light is always best. If you're taking a picture of something inside your home, do it near a window. If you're outside, move into the shade so that you don't have the super harsh light making weird contrasts and shadows. Soft natural light is the first step to a good photo. This is a picture taken on the patio of a restaurant during the "golden hour" (5:00-6:00ish depending on where you live).
Soft clean light. This picture barely needed any editing. Same with these balloons.
See? Love that natural light.
3) My Favorite Apps
While filters are fun, you have to make sure you don't over do it. I look back at some of my early Instagram pics and LAUGH. I was filter crazy. So I really like apps that allow you to control how much filter you add to the pictures. I very rarely leave a picture with the filter turned all the way up. I use Snapseed, Afterlight, VSCOcam, and PicTapGo. For making collages or adding text I like Diptic and A Beautiful Mess.
4) Basic Adjustments
Before adding filters I like to play around with the basic adjustments first. Mess with the contrast, shadows, highlights and light. You'll be surprised at what a difference that can make. Sometimes after that you don't even need a filter. Also, be careful of making adjustments after you've added the filter. Sometimes that can make things look a little off. Or if you add a border make sure you add it after all the adjustments have been made, otherwise it discolors the outside.
5) Dealing with Indoor Lighting
When you do end up taking a picture with indoor lighting it can come out a little yellow and/or dark. Playing with the highlighting can help that. In Afterlight you can change the highlight color to blue which cools the picture down and counters the yellow light. Like this!
Then brighten it up!
That's what I did with this picture as well.
See? A little better!
6) Pretty Feeds
Like I mentioned earlier I like having a nice Instagram feed and I love following other nice feeds too. My favorite accounts all have a "look". They either have a theme, a similar editing style to all their photos, or a focused content. Let me show you what I mean... When you glance at a feed you can just tell that the pictures are connected in some way.
This feed is filled with bright colors and gold accents! All the pictures are different but they have a few things in common to weave them all together.
This feed has lots of flat lays, florals, and views from above.
Happily Grey incorporates lots of marble back drops and earthy tones. The saturation is also turned down just a hint in every picture. Giving everything a...well... "gray" vibe.
Corynne Hogan's feed is all about that natural light, clouds, and open spaces.
In Jenna Guizar's feed she puts a pretty hand lettered quote as every third picture as well as using borders to put her pictures in landscape format.
Back in February I started alternating between portraits and landscapes.
It was fun while it lasted but then I just got bored with it and moved back to squares.
Having a theme for your Instagram photos is fun and purely that. You don't need a theme by any means. It's just another way to try and stretch yourself creatively. Ya know, if you're into that sort of thing.
7) The Flat Lay
About a year ago I discovered the "flat lay" I actually didn't know what it was called until a few months ago but I knew it was taking pictures of things "laying flat" against a background (most commonly a white one). So I started using the white foam boards we have around the house (left over church posters) as backgrounds. It's been a learning curve for sure but it's one of my favorite ways to take pictures. Making the ordinary beautiful things of every day stand out just a little bit more.
You can do a flat lay with just about anything. There are really no rules but having a theme or common color scheme in your flat lay can help. Like in the picture above ^^ I've got lot's of green going on with just a little bit of pink. The leaves and hemp help give it an earthy look. The teacup and candle are there to help you picture yourself in the woods, writing in your journal, with just this little light to guide your hand across the pages. Make sense? Each flat lay should tell a story or make you see everything as pieces of a puzzle coming together.
Well I hope these tips are helpful! The first one is really the most important. Just be authentic when taking photos. These are moments in time that you want to capture. If you want to share them that's great! But the vital thing is that it's a picture of something special to you.