You might know how to spot a good Instagram photo — one that will pull in lots of engagement and even followers — but taking one? It’s not quite so easy.
Photos that look incredible and pull in engagements on Instagram have similar qualities: they’re composed correctly, they’re never blurry or hard to see, they look natural and have just the right amount of light, and they’re styled nicely. With all that to keep in mind, we asked our in-house Instagram, styling and photography maven, Sarah Love (yes that’s really her name — and she also happens to be the person who chooses Real Weddings for our national magazine!) to give us a few tips for the taking.
How would you recommend styling still life photos like magazines and books?
Sarah Love: When it comes to still life images, I always think about my background! I look at the product I am styling and what colors scheme will work best with it. Then I determine the background. This can really bring your image to the next level! For example, if you are styling a magazine cover that is mainly white with hints of pink, I love the idea of having the background be in pink tones. It will make the white magazine pop and helps direct your eyes to the product you shot.
If the magazine cover is a bit more busy, I always tend to stick to a white background and bring in props for the color or detail moments if needed.
How about styling food and drink?
Sarah: I like to shoot food and drink as either a still life shot or an action shot! Food and drinks are always so fun to photograph so I like to make these photos more focused! I like having a point of human contact in these shots. Try holding your drink or pouring the cocktail into a glass.
I prefer to shoot food overhead because I think it is important to showcase all of the delicious bites you are about to indulge!
Let’s talk about how to snap shots from a phone of reception details at a real wedding. Any tips on how to make them Insta-worthy?
Sarah: I also like to shoot most reception details like the tablescapes overhead. I want to be able to showcase all the details that the couple and vendors took the time to plan! Shooting overhead maximizes the amount of details that will be shown in the photo.
How about fashion photos like the wedding dress or bridesmaid dresses at a wedding or even accessories in the salon?
Sarah: When it comes to fashion, everyone always likes to see the gown or shoes in it’s entirety. However, I find that sometimes the dress details get lost in the photo. Try posting a photo of the gown further away and then find your favorite detail of the dress, take that close up and post that too! The image will go as a pair and showcase the gown so much better!
Any rules you like to follow when styling or taking photos for Instagram?
Sarah: Always shoot in natural light and daylight when you can! Your image will look cleaner and sharper. This will also make editing your image so much easier and helps you avoid muddy tones.
How about any filters that work wonders for you? Any suggestions there?
Sarah: I actually don’t use filters that are on Instagram! I make my lighting tweaks on the Instagram app by adjustment brightness, contrast and warmth. If the image needs more work, I upload the photo to a different app and use their filters. My favorite apps for photo editing are Snapseed and PicTapGo.
Any last words of wisdom to add?
Sarah: Yes! Props don’t always make the photo better! If you add props to a still life shot, make sure it has a cohesive theme with the products you are shooting. Sometimes less is more!
For more inspiration follow the lovely Sarah on Instagram @SarahKayLove