You asked so I am answering! A few of you have been looking for some pointers on how to get a great Instagram shot. So I thought it would be fun to expand on a fun article feature from Obvious.ly (highlighting some campaign work I did, check it out here) and share some of my methods to snag that shot (and all shots!). I have spent a good year (plus a few months) learning how to get a great image and I continue to learn every day. But I am happy to share some tips that I have learned to get your very own awesome Instagram worthy shots.
- Composition. Every time you have a space or vignette you want to take a photo of think about the composition of the shot. What do I mean by this? Look at the image through your camera lens and go ahead and take the shot. Then go back and look at it, does the photo feel balanced? If it doesn’t, play with a few accessory items or just swap things around a bit to get the balance. Then get your shot. A balanced photo is much more pleasing to the eye, thus translating into a more successful photo.
See how balanced this shot feels? The pink frames on the side tables, the lamps (although with different shades), the pillows, the solid piece at the base of the bed that acts as an anchor….
2. Full Room vs Vignette. Ahh this one is a common dilemma. Personally speaking (and from several of my IG friends) full room shots just typically do better for engagement. However, a good vignette can always be popped into the feed. I like to take smaller shots of spaces, like a chair with some pretty surroundings but not the whole space. Or a candle with the surrounding pretty flowers and accessories and a softly faded background. I don’t do them all the time but I do add them sporadically in my feed. Variety is the spice of life!
This is an example of a tighter shot I would use. A sitting area but not the whole space.
3. Day vs Night….Lighting. Good light is KEY to a great shot. Always try to get your shots during the day, late morning or mid afternoon are best. I realize it’s not always possible (bad weather, no time, etc) and you can still get a shot BUT be careful with artificial lighting, it reads very warm and you will have to tone it in editing.
4. Editing. I don’t care if you are Michaelangelo, every photo could stand even just a hint of editing. Maybe your lighting is stellar, give it a little structure (or crispness) to enhance the clarity. If you have shadows you can lighten the shadows a bit and use highlights to just brighten a tad. In other words, editing is CRUCIAL to a good photo. I like Snapseed (app) for easy editing but only for heavier lifting (bad lighting or uneven lighting). It certainly doesn’t hurt to first edit in Snapseed and then follow up with editing right in IG if need be. Use your best judgement and play around with the image to get the best result. (There are other editing apps out there as well! I just use Snapseed the most)
This shows both the effects of lighting as well as how to do editing with the challenges of the lighting. This space only has 2 windows both on the same side, one of which is directly next to the bed. It creates a strong shadow on the opposite side, so I edited it slightly by lightening up the shadows enough to still allow the pink side table to show through and lightening just enough to brighten the space to show the colors. If I went too much more it would have over-brightened the window side of the bed.
5. Filters. This may be controversial but I RARELY use filters. I much prefer to individually edit each and every photo. This allows me to specifically customize the edit to the shot. Filters can highlight aspects of a shot and depending on the look you are going for can be great! I personally LOVE more artistic shots, but they don’t do well in home decor on IG. They just don’t. So I edit the photo to be the clearest most accurate representation of the space, (with some brightening). It’s a no fail approach.
6. Angles. Angles are your best friend. They take a ho-hum shot to WOW. I love lower right looking up angles primarily, but I have a few spaces that require the opposite. Every once in awhile I will share a straight on shot but most of mine are angles. Up to down is also a very popular angle. Climb on a chair or even a step ladder to get that up-down angled shot. (Please be careful!) It shares a whole new view.
One of my very fave shots to demonstrate the power of angles and up to down. This shot allows you to see the entire space and all of the elements that make up the room. It’s a powerful shot in one swoop.
7. Practice. Practice makes perfect! You will learn the best angles to highlight your spaces, likewise lighting and editing those shots. Our bedroom is VERY hard to shoot. Why? I have windows behind the headboard as well as to the side and foot of the bed so it brightens one side while blackening out the other. I just have to be really careful with the lighting and edit with a fine tooth comb to get the image to represent the most accurate depiction.
This is an example of the more artistic shots I LOVE. Also, check out the composition of the shot!
8. Photoshop. Adobe photoshop is photo editing for pros/hardcore fanatics. I use photoshop for professional submissions as it gives me the most tools to really nail the editing. I have an older Canon Rebel T3, honestly my Samsung 8+ takes way better photos but I use my camera for the collab shots and high res photos. Photoshop allows me to edit them to perfection with about a million tools at my fingertips.
Those are the primary things that I think about when I am designing, taking and editing shots for Instagram as well as business collaborations. I can’t stress enough that employing these techniques will give ya big heads up from trying to figure it all out on your own, but practice definitely makes perfect. The more you shoot spaces and learn what makes a great photograph the quicker you will get that awesome shot.
Do you have any tips I may have missed in this post? Or questions I forgot to address? I always love to hear from ya so hit me up in the comments below or shoot me an email!
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