By Andrew Willard
This post originally appeared on the blog MakingManhattan.com.
If the age of Instagram has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need to be a professional photographer — or even have expensive equipment — to take a good photo. All you really need is a smartphone, a subject and maybe a friend to help you take the picture. That said, good photos don’t just happen. Read ahead for the five things the best bloggers remember when taking the perfect Instagram photo.
If you’re taking a photo with your phone, be sure to tap the area on the screen you want the camera to focus on, otherwise the subject may look blurry. Depending on the lighting involved in your photograph, the resolution of the image file size may vary. Well-lit settings will result in better quality pictures.
Make sure your photos are not overexposed (too bright) or underexposed (too dark). If your camera can’t handle dim light, use flash to capture color and shape. If you can, scope out natural light wherever you’re shooting, usually near a window if you’re inside. If you’re outside, always check which direction the sun is shining. Taking a shot into harsh, head-on sunlight will reveal a little too much detail, highlighting imperfections. Taking a photo against the sunlight may cause the background of the photo to be overexposed, resulting in a battle of highlight and exposure editing and compensation. Move around until you find the right balance.
Try to avoid photos that look too posed or staged. Laugh to get a more natural smile. Everyone loves to see a photo that looks realistic.
Work to have some connection or relation between the subject and environment. People want to see you interact with your setting, not just standing and posing the same way in front of different backdrops.
Make sure you hold the camera steady when taking a photograph. It seems simple enough, but still needs to be stated. Be still enough that the only reason your photo would be blurry would be because the subject was moving.
Caroline Vazzana is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of MakingManhattan.com where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC.