Written by Elana Pa’apa’a.
How To: Take An Insta-Worthy Photo
If you ask me, Instagram is a tricky part of life. Sometimes I envy those who aren’t addicted and aren’t worried about getting a photo of everything to share with their followers. The people who get their cup of coffee and food at a cafe and just start eating it instead of making the ultimate sacrifice of letting the warmth escape their plate and mug just so you can spend 10 minutes positioning everything perfectly to get that insta-worthy photo.
I’ve personally used Instagram for years now, but I never quite took it seriously until we opened Blush Clothing Playhouse last year and, as just part of my contribution to the business, I took on the social media manager role. All of a sudden I was responsible for not only posting photos to Instagram but making sure I had enough quality content, positioning all my photos on the Instagram grid perfectly so it was aesthetically balanced and pleasing, figuring out what the ‘right’ hashtags to use were (I learned pretty quickly that #canieatityet wasn’t going to get me many followers), remembering to post multiple times a day and to stay sane during all of this.
Now, the staying sane part is quite debatable, really, but I do think I’ve done a decent job of the rest of all that…if I don’t say so myself. But the one thing that I’ve really enjoyed incorporating into my everyday life is taking all of these photos. I am definitely not a photographer by any means. I mean, my brother is, and all the technical stuff he’s capable of spilling out of his mouth is wayyyyy above me. I also don’t use a professional camera, or even an actual camera…my iPhone does just fine. But I like to think I have a decent eye, and my personal and business Instagram accounts have definitely benefitted from it.
I’m focusing more on the portrait and #ootd type photos in this post. Flatlays are a whole other game, which will be covered in other blog posts either from me or one of our babes.
So…how do you get an insta-worthy photo? These are just some tips from a non-professional, Instagram addict.
1. Ohhh, a pretty door! Let’s take a photo!
Backgrounds are my go-to fail safe. In self-portraits especially, I am so ridiculously far from a model (I often giggle at myself trying to pose hahaha), so if there’s a pretty door or a gorgeous backdrop that I know will make an amazing photo, I am so quick to run to it and say to whoever I’m with “take a photo!”.
Make sure they are far enough away to get however much of the backdrop you want in the photo, and to not be too close up to capture your…interesting…facial expressions. If it’s too far away and there’s too much background, remember you can always crop it later!
2. Bursts are your new best friend.
As you can see, I nailed the background choice. I mean, when you’re in a field of lavender you can’t really go wrong. The only way I managed to be happy with one of these photos, though, is that my cousin literally took maybe 50 photos of me just moving around randomly and being an idiot. It looks cool in the photo, but at that precise moment I was pretty much thinking “shit, you’ve got your lace caught in the plants you idiot”.
Taking as many photos as possible as consistently as possible is the only way I’ve got most of the photos I have deemed insta-worthy. If only one photo was taken I probably would have been like “I look stupid. Oh well, no one else has to see it”.
Bursts on iPhones are amazing for this. Literally just hold down the capture button for as long as you feel you need while you or your muse do a spin and flail your arms around for a bit and then ta-daaaa! A thousand and one photos magically await your judgement. Delete the ones where you look stupid and would die if anyone else actually saw (which will most likely be about 90% of them, let’s be honest) and keep the ones you think you could work with.
3. The left side of my face looks funny…let’s crop it out.
Never underestimate the power of the cropping function. This photo was, again, taken by my cousin while we were exploring Melbourne and it was originally twice the size with myself positioned in the middle. Lol, I didn’t like it at all. And then I cropped it down and got rid of my left arm and voila! It’s suddenly acceptable. How does that work? I don’t know. Am I just being extra girly and picky? Most likely. Regardless, it works quite often!
The above photos were all taken by my cousin Abbey in the span of a couple of days exploring the city of Melbourne and Victoria as a whole! They’re all on my personal instagram, @elanapaapaa.
As with anything, practice makes perfect, babes! These photos are all of me because it’s easier so I don’t have to get permission from anyone else to use their photos. Aaaand I’m pretty sure Abbey would kill me if I used all the photos I took of her during this trip. BUT…I love taking lots of photos of other people, too. Candid photos, planned photos…Abbey hated me telling her to stand in random places all the time and I often make mum do the same. “Mum, sit on the turtle!” hahaha. But it’s a good way to figure out what looks good in a photo and what doesn’t, and you’ll be getting pro looking photos in next to no time!