I don’t claim to be an expert. I’m certainly not a photographer, but it doesn’t take too much effort to transform a lacklustre image into something pretty special. I’ve only recently purchased a ‘proper’ blogging camera as I grew tired of being disappointed with the quality of the photos on my iPhone 6s. I hear the 7 is much better equipped for photography and I think the iphone8 can probably take your photos for you and cook the dinner along with it! But for now, I decided the best move was to invest in a quality camera. I went for the Sony ILCE5000LW I’ve only just starting using this for images on my Instagram page and will keep you in the loop with what I think of it. For now, I’m loving how easy it is to take an image and transfer it to my phone with ease, ready to upload for instantly!
When I look back at photos on my feed, even from 18 months ago, I cringe at the quality. I’ve learned a lot in this past year about making my images look sharper and more professional and you can easily do this too, just with the tools available on the Instagram app.
Firstly, your image is nothing without good lighting. It’s much easier to get a beautiful photo in natural daylight when it’s nice and bright outside. On a dull day, it’s tricky to capture that image. I see so many photos taken with poor lighting that otherwise could look wonderful. I try to avoid taking photos with the flash on my phone, opting for either natural daylight or putting on bright lights around my house for the shot. I find the flash alters the photo in a stark way that doesn’t appeal to me. The images below show just how important good lighting is.
If you’re taking a selfie, ALWAYS have the light in front of you and never behind you. I always do my insta stories facing the window too, it’s just so much more flattering when the light floods your face. If the window is behind you, your image will be much darker and poorer quality. Lighting is everything.
Now the first thing I do when I upload a photo is go to the EDIT options. It’s important to do your editing before you choose your filter because it’s clearer to see what the original image needs.
Firstly, I increase the sharpness. Never too much though, depending on the image. This can really help with the quality particularly if you’ve used your phone to capture it as it may be at times be a little more blurry than you’d like.
Below is another edited shot which looks warmer and brighter than the original underneath.
Next, I adjust the brightness. This is the option that can make the biggest difference to your image. However, if I’m taking a photo of a candlelit bath for example, sometimes I lower the brightness. This helps to truly reflect the atmospheric surroundings which can get lost in the image. Although if I’m trying to achieve that look I often increase the brightness and lower the shadows.
Photographs taken in front of a window are always dull. This image below popped as soon as the shadows were decreased.
Then, I lower the contrast. It helps make your image appear softer and prettier. The only time I ever up the contrast is if I’m photographing an item with sparkle. Increasing the contrast helps bring out the delicate features and makes anything sparkly really pop!
Sometimes I adjust the warmth but not often. As my house is mainly cool tones, the warmth option can give the image a yellowish tone. I do sometimes use this option when photographing areas of my home with warmer tones such as my kitchen and the study.
The last option I use, is shadows. I increase this to rid of any unwanted dull or dark tones. Again, I may lower this if I’m photographing an image in the evening with delicate candlelight but you do need good lighting in your room already on the image for this to work.
I never use the other options in EDIT. They just don’t work with the theme of my photos.
The final thing I do is choose a filter. I always use Valencia. Previously I used different filters depending on what I thought suited my image but boy was I wrong! This can give an untidy and disjointed look to your feed. Using the same filter on all your Instagram images gives it a clean, uniformed theme. You can adjust how strong you want to filter to be. Valencia is like magic. It can completely transform your photo giving it a cosy and homely feel.
Remember, people are generally looking for beautiful images. If you’re photographing a new candle, set it on a tray with a book by its side on a luxurious blanket. It’s all about how you present the image rather than the actual item itself. Make your image stand out from the crowd.
For every photograph you see on my Instagram feed, I’ve probably taken several before I’ve chosen the perfect shot. Take your time, assess whether you’re happy with it. If not, try again and move things around until it looks perfect.
Photographs are a beautiful little snapshot of our lives. It’s a moment that somehow, you’ve decided you want to remember and keep forever. Make the most of your shot and in years to come you can look back and remember just how special that moment was.