When it comes to Instagram, photography is your handshake. It’s the first thing somebody sees when they land on your profile. From the images you’ve posted, to how you’ve edited them. Which is why nailing the style that you want to represent yourself is so important. And today, I wanted to share an Instagram photography tip or two to help you achieve the look you want online.
Before I begin, I want to say that social media should be fun. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to appear a certain way. And don’t go down the rabbithole of striving to create something if you’re not truly enjoying it. Following rules and tips can be arduous, but if you’re interested in learning about photography, then hopefully you’ll enjoy these two.
Working with Light
As mentioned in my beginners’ guide to photography, light is your biggest asset when taking photos. And consistent lighting at that. Instagram is known for beautifully curated images. That largely are quite minimal and aesthetically pleasing. There’s usually a lot of photography that has been taken near a large light source, that floods the subject with light. And quite rarely do you see images of mixed lighting.
If you didn’t know, light is broken into colour temperature (which is measured in kelvins). Tungsten light, the yellow-ish amber that emits from a lot of indoor bulbs, is around 3200K on the kelvin scale. While daylight, which is clear white and blue-ish in tone, sits at 5600K on the kelvin scale.
One quick tip to achieving clean, easy-to-edit images is by not mixing the two. When you mix light sources of different temperatures, it can muddy your images and cause the colours to bleed onto one another. Unless that’s the style you’re going for. Then by all means – get creative with it! But if it’s not – then mixing light is a no-no.
The problem is that the light will blend into the tones already in your images. And considering that skin sits in the brackets of orange in hue already. Trying to take out excessive colour from a muddy tungsten bulb can leave you draining colour information from the skin.
Whilst, if you shoot consistently in tungsten. Your camera’s white balance will identify the colour temperature and your images will be a lot cleaner.
This is an Instagram photography tip that I try to incorporate into all of my images. I avoid shooting in mixed lighting because I don’t like the cast that muddying light sources gives over my images. Although I love quite a few accounts who do it effectively. It’s a good rule of thumb to stay away from if you’re after a sleek, clean feel in your images.
Dealing with Depth and Photographic Layers
When taking photographs, a good rule is to break the image down into three layers: the background, your subject, and the foreground. This makes it easier to imagine how you want your image to appear, visually.
An old boss of mine used to always say “foreground. Always shoot with foreground.” And although I don’t follow that saying to a tee, I see where they were coming from. If you incorporate a bit of foreground into your photos, it immediately gives a sense of depth and interest to your photos. It’s a good way to add in a little something extra if you’re feeling like your images are lacking something.
If you want your subject to stand out, you’ll want to take the focus out of the background. As mentioned in this post, you can achieve this by opening your
A lot of Instagram photography is taken with a shallow depth of field (bokeh
Playing with the three layers, whether by incorporating foreground, changing your subject’s position or the composition of the background are all ways you can enhance your personal style to add more interest to your shots.
It goes hand in hand with how you compose the shot. Whether you’re shooting close or wide, and what aesthetic you’re presenting online.
Finding your personal style through photography can be difficult. There’s a lot of different factors to consider, and it can be quite overwhelming. But breaking it down into manageable chunks will help you get a grasp on how you want your photos to appear. If you’re starting out with photography, be sure to check out my beginner’s guide. If you’re looking for more posts, send me any requests and I’ll get them written.
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