How to take great pictures from the comfort of your place
The quality of your pictures is not about the equipment you use or the filter you apply. Photography is amazing when it has a soul, when it speaks for itself. Yet, there are a couple of secrets to let your soul shine through the lens of your camera, and I will share some of them with you today.
Everyone knows that this is the key factor of a successful picture and still we tend to forget about it when it comes down to putting together a composition.
Natural day light is the best – and easiest to work with – kind of light. The most straight forward option is if the light shines on the subject from behind the photographer. If you are willing to add some dramatic mood to your picture, you can try working with light from the side. Photographing towards light is surely possible but requires a lot of professionalism so I wouldn’t advise you to start there. And my personal “no-go” for the beginners is the yellow artificial light. Again, in principle, possible but quite difficult to pull off the edit.
Choose time of the day when light is best and first play with light and shadows choosing the perfect angle. Take multiple pictures. Once you have picked the best spot, start building your composition there.
Once you managed to tame the light and create a perfect composition that tells your story, the last finishing touch is the edit. Here, you can create real magic with that. If you’re a beginner, try an app called VSCO. It is perfect because there are pre-made filters that you can apply. I would personally recommend to choose the colors you like but never to put them on 100% intensity. Play with the intensity of the filter, then go to the manual settings and adjust those bit by bit. This is really a matter of experience. People that are good at that do it on a daily basis and still keep improving their skills. After you have edited the colors, you can try and apply some additional effects like grain (also in VSCO) or an old photo effect (in an app called Afterlight).
Personally, I edit my pictures first in Lightroom, where I have developed my own preset, and then – believe it or not – in 3-6 different apps to add the finishing touch. I also create multiple edits of the same picture and then choose the one that I like most / best fits my page.
The difficult part
Ok, this might seem impossible for those of us that don’t live in a dreamy castle. If you don’t have plenty of space or your walls are painted purple while you hate this color, it’s still not a reason to lose hope with your interior pictures.
Yes, I agree that it’s much easier to take beautiful pictures in a great house. But you will also see a lot successful bloggers that manage to make the best of what they have. The rule here is, it’s not about what we have, it’s about what we do with what we have.
How to work around the “not instagrammable” interior
You look at those bloggers with their perfect mansions and sigh in despair. Well, you better think twice next time before saying “Well, it’s easy for her, she has a wonderful home!” No, it’s not. In fact, in my experience this is one of the things bloggers nag most about amongst each other. Some have small places, others need a renovation but no budget for that. The light is a big issue too, especially in winter. Yet, with a bit of creativity you can find really great solutions to your problems. Let’s talk about some of those.
1. Go on Pinterest and search for inspiration. What do you like? Cozy winter pictures in front of the window with a mug? Or fun bed images? Or maybe a clean geometrical flatlays? Here is my Pinterest moodboard for the Interior Pictures that I created specially for this purpose. I tried to collect pictures that are easy to adapt even in a humble interior.
2. Get yourself beautiful props. What one considers “beautiful” though is very personal. Personally, I love vintage items, from retro floral postcards and books to small furniture bought at a flea market. Get yourself beautiful mugs and bowls. Chunky knit (or any knit really) throws look very stylish in pictures, especially if you can properly use the light. Additionally, cakes (any pastry really) and flowers (of course, the most loved insta subject) can add a beautiful flair to your picture. I know you might say you have no budget for all those things. But actually I am pretty sure you have plenty of those things in your household. Look for wooden cutting boards, old books and mugs, lovely woollen spreads. And flowers? Well, just go out to your nearest park and bring home a blooming branch or a field flower. What concerns the colors of your items, think of the those that go well together. It also concerns not only the colors themselves but even the tints. If you’re not sure, check Adobe website for the perfect color combinations (you can also search for the colors you need to combine with something else).
3. Think about the materials. If you prefer a “clean” look, a sheet of white paper as a flatlay background will do. Generally, natural materials like wood, marble and wool look great in pictures. You can also order some photography backgrounds online.
4. Determine your most “instagrammable” spots. Have you noticed how many pictures on Instagram are taken in bed? Why do you think it is? Because you can pretty much never fail a bed picture. Get yourself a nice bed linen set (Ikea has amazing ones for the pictures) and try flatlaying there. Another easy way to go is your table if it has an appropriate surface, wooden floor will do too.
5. You don’t have any “instagrammable” spots you think? Well, time to create some then! Again, on Pinterest you can look up lovely and simple DIY ideas for your home that will also look great in pictures. Here I have put together my Pinterest moodboard for this purpose.
6. Choose your angles. Again, take a look at Pinterest for the possibilities but don’t spend too much time on that, better take a camera in your hands and keep trying. And remember one thing, Instagram loves creativity. What does it mean in this context? That you should experiment with your angles. Worm view, helicopter view, – the more creative the more attention you will attract to your picture.
Now time for action!
The above might first scare you because it’s all a lot at once. But that’s not how you should see it. Take a step at a time, don’t expect your next picture to be perfect. In fact, perfect photography doesn’t exist. Each picture is a way to get to an even better picture. That’s how all bigger bloggers see it and how it should be seen. We are all constantly developing and shouldn’t be harsh on ourselves during this process. There is only one thing that will help you implement all my tips (and any tips actually), it’s experience. Keep mastering yourself, keep challenging yourself, and you will miraculously find out that your tomorrow’s picture is much better than that of 10 days ago.
Be patient and persistent, my friend. And kind to yourself. This will take you places!