Read my preface to this post series here
I’m going to let you all into a little blogger’s secret. Those #desksituation or #butfirst photos that you double tap on a daily basis? The ones in your Instagram feed that seem to be so effortlessly shot?
They’re not so effortless. Truth be told, there’s a whole lot of orchestration, manipulation and preparation that goes into snapping those photos…
Despite the recent algorithm hysteria that seems to have suffocated engagement forever, Instagram is still a pretty cool place to be. It’s a hotbed of creativity and inspiration; the Influencer’s bread and butter and a window into the most aesthetically pristine parts of our lives (more of my thoughts on this here).
As a blogger, I like to think of Instagram as a more visual, easily digestible version of my blog for readers who may not be as familiar with the sometimes long-winded blog format.
Whilst I don’t consider myself to be the best photographer by any means, I have come a long way from my hurriedly-snapped and heavily filtered ‘grams and I wanted to share some of these little tricks that I’ve learnt with you!
The flatlay is one of the simplest yet effective Instagram tropes going. All you have to do is take a few aesthetically coordinated objects, arrange them artfully on a surface and snap away!
You can tell a multitude of stories with a flatlay on just about any subject matter.
Here’s how I shoot my flatlays:
Finding that perfect shooting spot in your home is game changer. Having a go-to location means you spend less time adjusting to surroundings
I usually shoot on my mum’s dining table in the living room for 2 reasons:
- It’s a big flat surface with lots of room to play with.
- It’s right next to floor-to-ceiling French doors which let in plenty of all-important natural light.
The right lighting makes all the difference in photos, which is why I always try and shoot under natural light wherever possible.
You can get really creative with this, but plain white is a good place to start as a blank canvas. I use this embossed croc-effect wallpaper that I found in B&Q for a few quid about 2 years ago. I love that it’s a roll of paper meaning I don’t have to worry about wear-and-tear (mostly lipstick stains).
Other great backdrops include magazine spreads, interesting fabrics, bedsheets or a rug. Honourable mention to the blogging clichés of marble or a white fluffy rug.
If colour is more your thing, no one uses it better in flatlays than Labels For Lunch!
I’ll either shoot using my Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone or my Nikon D2300 dSLR. If I’m shooting with my dSLR I’ll usually up the exposure to about 0.7.
I start by arranging my objects on the table against my background. Usually I’ll have an idea of themes/products/moods I want to showcase that week.
Next, I give myself some height by climbing up on a chair (sorry mum..) and start snapping away from above. Trust me, once you try shooting from higher up you’ll never look back!
Once I’m up high I’ll play around with the objects I’m shooting to see what works best.
I always find this is the fun part. Experiment with angles to find the best lighting that works for you. Play with height to add dimension to your photos. Add in props…it’s up to you!
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank anyone who’s happily obliged my awkward request to take an outfit photo of me for the ‘gram. You know who you are (friends, parents…random passers-by).
Outfit photos tend to get the most engagement for me, but they’re not always easy to get! Not everyone has Instagram husbands on standby to get those outfit shots, myself included – here’s how I get around it.
I quite like that these can be quite candid and more ‘everyday’ but in my case my room requires a little reshuffling to get a shot like this – so it’s not always practical. If you have a strategically placed mirror somewhere this might be a good option for you!
#fromwhereIstand / #thedailydown
Perfect for showcasing shoe porn, a fresh mani, a cool floor or all three. This style of photo is an effective way to showcase outfit details. Best of all, you can snap it by yourself pretty quickly – just angle your camera downwards and click away!
I think self timer shooting deserves a post of its own entirely as there’s a real science to it, but most of my portrait shots I take myself using the self timer function on my camera (the photos in my Wardrobe Detox & Too Faced Melted Lipstick review were taken entirely on self timer!). For self timer shots I find it best to stick to a simple background as you have less control of the focus.
This is another category that forms a lot of my Instagram content. I love keeping an eye out for ornate details, striking skylines or unique vignettes whenever I’m out and about.
These photos don’t require too much premeditation, just an eye for what’s beautiful and interesting around you! Even if the lighting’s not on your side, you can always fix up architecture shots quite easily with editing (I’ll be showing you how I do this in my next post!).
Hope you enjoyed getting a little behind-the-scenes look at the first part of my Instagram process! Be sure to stay tuned for part II where I’ll be taking you through how I edit my photos!
How do you shoot your Instagram photos? Do you have a go-to location like I do?