I think getting “the shot” is something that people are more concerned about lately. Everything is so Instagram and photo focused and to be honest, I’m enjoying seeing people get more creative with their photos!
I was fortunate enough to be brought to New York last week with Fujifilm, to celebrate the launch of their “Square Times” printing services. There’s a detailed post coming on that in the next day or two so stay tuned. But essentially, the whole basis of the trip was to celebrate square printing! Thanks to Instagram, people are taking all of their photos in square format, and thank to Fujifilm, we can now print them all, in square! I genuinely couldn’t be more excited to fill my bedroom walls with some of my favourite square photos. The only problem I have now is picking the perfect photos for each corner of my room, it’s a tricky task when you’re as hung up on the “perfect photo” as me!
I follow so many people on the app and I’ve started noticing the people who really go above and beyond to create amazing content. I can’t help but me more drawn to these accounts and commend the users. I think in terms of growing an audience, people definitely prefer photos to be more “in the moment” and shared in real time, but there is definitely something to be said for the accounts that are more deliberate in what they post.
I wanted to share my tips for getting “the shot” on Instagram because I love seeing these types of posts.
How to get “the shot”
General rules of thumb
- Take your shot in a bright setting, natural light is always best. The darker the photo, the lower the quality.
- Shoot with the sunlight. Try not to go against it unless you have the right equipment to brighten up every element of your shot.
Go for it – if any of my friends are reading this they’ll be laughing at me now for being such a hypocrite. After 3 years of having my blog and shooting pictures for it almost every day, I am still THE most awkward turtle in front of a camera. I hate it though, I wish I would just loosen up and not feel so idiotic if someone turns to look for a second too long. I will say though, that I am getting better, and starting to care a little less. I keep reminding myself, that if I don’t get the shot that I want, just because someone who I’ll never see again laughed at me, then I’ll regret it later. It’s (kinda) working. It doesn’t need to be perfect – sometimes the best photographs are the ones where you are caught off guard. You can’t beat a good candid shot.
- Think about how your body looks (all of it – face included). As you take more photos, you might know that a certain position isn’t your favourite view of yourself. It’s all about positioning your body in the way that you prefer.
- Know if you want your photo to be taken from above, below, or straight on. Depending on the shot, I usually switch it up. Taking a photo from below can make someone appear longer than they might usually – these are good for full length shots. Above could work if you’re sitting and want to get a different angle. Straight on is usually what I go for when I want a “half body outfit shot” – I have names for the different types of shots I take, haha!
- I also always try and think about the angle of my backdrop. Sometimes the obvious straight on shot isn’t always best, shooting at an angle to make the background seem a little more interesting is always good. Try and play around with your location to create some perspective with the shot.
The rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is an essential photography technique. It can be applied to any subject to improve the composition and balance of your images. It basically means that you should align the subjects of your photos with the different intersection points to create a more interesting composition of a photograph. So to bring it back to how you can use it – use the grid function on your camera to align the sky or the ground into whichever horizontal third you like. You can place the person you’re shooting into one of the vertical thirds, I love positioning myself either to the left or right. If you want to try it for yourself, see below.
Use a prop
I find that if you want a photo of just yourself, having a prop on hand can be useful to create more context for the photo. Or, in my case, it helps me feel less awkward about what I do with my hands! Try using a drink, or an ice-cream, etc etc.
For this particular shoot, I knew I wanted to shoot at sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge, it wasn’t an accident. I honestly had been planning it for weeks! If you have a certain shot or style of shoot in mind, head over to Pinterest for lots of different ideas and some inspiration. That’s usually where I’ll get most of my ideas!
I have a whole YouTube video on how you can edit and plan your Instagram photos and feed, see here. But for this post I wanted to include some top tips.
Know what size you want to shoot in – if you’re particular about the look of your feed and planning it out specifically, then shooting in square will be what you want to do. Or if you prefer using the 4:5 ratio, make sure you have a planning app so you can see how your crop looks. Try the app “Planoly” if you don’t already have one that you use.
Have a theme – maybe you want your theme to be purely food focused, or fitness, or fashion. I feel like I don’t have a specific theme other than my own personal lifestyle – which is totally fine! It’s always going to be personal to your preferences.
Complimenting colours – this is going to sound daft, but I genuinely think about what photos are currently on my Instagram feed when I plan the outfits I wear each day. There’s something that bugs me about my feed when all of the colours are all over the place, I like using specific colours at a time and then transitioning into a colour that compliments the previous one. Crazy, I know!
Consistent filter – my usual go-to filter is A5 on VSCO. It gives a cooler tone and I just love it! I might switch it up for the summer though…
Sequence of shots – you’ll notice some people might share blocks of consistent shots on Instagram. I love seeing this because I can really see the persons creativity and this takes dedication!
To be honest, I’m the wrong person to be dishing out advice on equipment. I use my phone for 95% of my own photos, unless it’s a shoot for the blog and I’ve used a photographer. I use the depth-effect on my iPhone and love how that works. If you’re on the market for a good camera, there are so many YouTube videos that you can check out to get detailed reviews before purchasing.
Anyway, let me know if you like this post or want to see more of this style. I really enjoyed putting it together!
Photographer: Neil Patrick Collins