As some of you may know, I’ve been blogging for just over a year now and quite a few people have commented on how good my pics are… thank you, thank you *bows*. I’m gonna let you into a little-known secret though: *whispers* you don’t need a snazzy camera to take high-quality pics. Yup, that’s right- I’ve been snapping away for the past year with just my Samsung Galaxy S8 (#AndroidGangUnite) and you know what? I’ve been getting on just fine! Since caring is sharing (and I care about you guys a lot), I thought I’d share some of my top tips for taking bangin’ pics with your trusty old phone, so here goes…
1) Get a photography starter pack
All you really need to get going is a tripod and a phone tripod mount, but trust me- both of these are essentials. Whether you’re working with a photographer or snapping pics yourself, a tripod really is your best friend for keeping your phone steady, which’ll make sure your snaps come out sharp and straight! The phone mount is perfect for keeping your phone in place- most tripods aren’t built for phones, and there’s nothing worse than trying to awkwardly prop your phone up with a book, pebble or another random object behind it (trust me, I would know!
That hair flick when your pics come out super slick ’cause your photography starter pack’s on point | Brown snakeskin effect longline jacket: F&F clothing (instore only), similar available at Nasty Gal
2) Wipe. Your. Lens.
This might seem obvious, but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve started happily snapping away… only to look at the photos and realise they’re super blurry… all because the tip of my finger touched the lens (ugh). I know- it’s super annoying, but if you’re going to shoot, make sure you wipe your lens every time you, anyone or anything else touches your phone. Because, I mean… the pictures kinda speak for themselves.
3) Throw some shade.
Yes, we all know it: the sun’s an absolute babe. He makes our highlighter pop, our melanin-rich skin glow and all that good stuff… but when it comes to photos, he’s the definition of a frenemy. Taking photos in direct sunlight is a terrible idea, because you end up with shadows everywhere, not to mention it makes your photos overexposed, which makes your editing process twice as long. Save yourself a hassle and find a good spot in the shade.
4) Lighting, Lighting, Lighting.
I know the expression’s actually ‘lights, camera, action’, but I kinda think we maaaaaybe need to spend a tad more time on the lights. It might seem like I’m contradicting myself here (I mean, didn’t I just tell you to stay in the shade?), but you wanna make sure where you’re shooting is actually shaded as opposed to just being… dark. Confused? What I’m trying to say is, find a spot that’s well-lit… without being in direct sunlight. Too much light and you’ll be looking like some kind of ghost, too little and you won’t be visible at all (especially for my ‘melanated’ sisters out there). As Goldilocks said, everything’s best if it’s just right, and just like porridge, lighting is no exception.
That subtle glow when the lighting’s on your side (but also #OilySkinProbs)
5) Play with your settings.
The great thing about phone cameras is that they’re super easy to work with, but smartphones these days *puts on granny voice* have loads of features a lot of people know nothing about. Sure, you can just point and shoot, but the difference between an okay photo and a bangin’ one is playing with your settings. Tap an object on the screen to fix the lighting. Set the white balance. Change the image ratio (shooting in 1:1 is makes the perfect square for Instagram)… THEN take your photo.
Trick vs Treat: A visual representation of why it’s super important to play with your settings
6) Get snap-happy.
Basically, take as many photos as you can. When I shoot, I take hundreds (and I literally mean hundreds) of photos, then just choose the best ones when I’m editing. Um… extra much? You might think so, but I’ve done shoots before where I’ve only taken a few pics, then realised that I hated pretty much all of them when I saw the finished product.
Posing up a storm…
Everything might look picture perfect when you’re looking at it on a tiny screen, but pop it on your laptop, and it suddenly becomes very obvious that a) your collar’s crooked, b) you blinked mid-photo, and c) that Insta girl pose you thought looked cool actually just makes it look like you’ve stopped in the middle of the street for a poop. #CanWeNotPlease. You don’t wanna have to waste time reshooting that poppin’ look you spent ages planning, so just take loads of snaps to make sure you get it right the first time… Simples.
7) Edit like a boss.
I’ll be honest: when I first started out, my editing skills were kinda basic, and sure- they’re still not Insta baddie level, but they have improved a lot, if I do say so myself. What’s changed? I started using apps to make my pics pop- mainly free ones like Picmonkey, Facetune and Lightroom CC (my personal fave), but I also started taking a bit more time with my editing process as well. Editing is what takes your pics to that next level from where they’re looking like a bit of a raw deal to looking more like a whole mean, a snack and a dessert, so get on it- increase that vibrancy, whiten that background, make that highlight pop a lil’… but don’t go overboard ’cause you don’t wanna be going for Barbie but looking more like Frankie. We’re all about keepin’ it real over here.
A natural edit… vs. how not to edit your photos (swipe to view) | White Victorian-style blouse: Cameo Rose Clothing, similar available at Shein
And there you have it: my top 7 tips to take bangin’ snaps for your Insta/blog. Hope you found ’em useful- if you did, comment below letting me know which one was your fave, and follow me on Instagram to see how I put these tips into action with my poppin’ feed *flips hair*.