I have been asked by friends how I take my pictures for my Instagram.  Usually it’s met with surprise because the pictures I take with my family account versus my blog account are very different. My blog pictures seem more professional, but they are not.  I use my iPhone.  It’s a 6S plus, and I could definitely use an upgrade, but it’s the easiest to use and the most compact.  And more importantly, I don’t take those pictures of me, my husband does and he does not know how to work my real camera  (at all!). So I am sharing ways you too can make your iPhone pics better for when you are on the go, or you too have to hand over your phone to someone else for a picture.  This post contains a lot of info, so I am going to break this down into Basics & Tips.  Go ahead and scroll to tips below if you know the basics.

Basics- the basic items I use, need, or do for all my pictures…

1 – lighting. it’s on every single how-to list for pictures, and it can not be stressed enough. Try to find a way to capture a picture in a bright white light with the least amount of direct sun light.  This means, near a window or under a ton of lights if inside, or in a shady spot if outside.  Shade is your best friend when it’s a sunny day, and ideally both you and the subject are in the shade.  If you are taking a picture of a landscape such as the ocean, then it’s ok to not be in the shade.  Most of my blog pictures are done in front of my garage because it’s a basic white backdrop but with some texture.  Depending on the time of the day my husband and I take the pictures, you will see sun in part or all of the garage/driveway.   So I may be standing closer to the garage door in some pictures simply because that is where the shade is.  If it’s later in the day or there is no sun, then I stand much further in front of the door, which I prefer as the door isn’t what I want people to focus on at all.

2- backdrop.  I just touched upon it but making sure your back drop isn’t distracting from your subject is ideal.  If you are photographing your child at the awards assembly, then you should take the time to find a spot with a wall or very little happening behind them. Why? – Because you’ll end up getting too many things happening in the picture. For bloggers, this is why we choose a basic white wall, or in my case my garage.

3- apps. Photo editing is a necessary evil, simply because the lighting and backdrop are never perfect, not to mention when you are posting for a blog you want consistency.  So you want to make sure you are using the same editing techniques in every picture, so every picture needs to be edited. Some more than others.  The basic iPhone editing tool is fine is you want to only lighten up your pictures, crop or straighten. But it will not fix a lot.  And those features are sub-par in my opinion. You can get by if your picture was pretty near perfect to begin with.  Mine are usually not, as we are taking pictures in a few minutes before we go on with life.   I highly recommend either Snapseed or Polarr for basic editing, and Facetune for portrait fine tuning.  I personally use Snapseed more than Polaar as I just become used to it. And Facetune is what I use to make my white background more white, or turn up the details on a particular spot such as my jewelry or eyes for my kids.

my photo apps
all the tools snapped offers
making those eyes and jewels pop

Tips- ways to get better results

1- lighting fixes.  The basic formula for fixing your lighting is to turn up the brilliance, ambiance, and contrast.  Turn down the shadows and saturation just a smidge (you don’t want to over expose the picture, it leads to haziness).  Depending on how the pic was shot, this will require a lot of adjustment or very little. But be careful, if the lighting was too dark in the original, too much adjusting can make the picture “grainy”, which means it just looses it’s sharpness.  This is something you need to be more aware of when editing pictures of people.  When you are editing a picture of an object from far away, it’s not as obvious, but with a person it’s very obvious.

2- choosing a theme. Deciding how you want to style all your pictures is important if you want to either talk to an audience (such as a blogger may do) or if want to print your pictures into an album or photobook. A common theme is a “Bright & White” theme, another is a “Contrast & Details” theme, or you can choose a “Bold & Colorful” theme.  It’s just a way of keep ing your pictures content and allows you to manage your photo editing time better since you are usually adjusting the pictures the same each time.

@blusheddarling uses Bright & White
screenshot 2
@vivaluxuryblog uses Contrast & Details
screenshot 3
@jenniferlake uses Bold & Colorful

3- vision.  I know this sounds very artsy-fartsy, but you need to decide what you want the picture look like before you take it.  Get in the habit of thinking, “If I framed this picture for my wall, what do I want it to look like?”  Granted, the subjects may not be cooperative with achieving that 😉 but it’s a good practice for when you take pictures.  This saves you time from taking extra pictures (not to mention less pictures to store in your camera roll)  and gives you an idea of how to edit.  This is how my husband and I can take a few pictures in front of the garage in less than 5 minutes because we know exactly what result to look for (not to mention it avoids any photo bombing).   This also holds true for bloggers when they are editing their pictures. We are saying “what story do I want to tell with this picture?”  and that is why many pictures will start out with a wide angle, but end up far different online.

That’s all the tips I have for now.  I too am still learning some things, so I will look to update this post in the future.  But as of now, the best advice I can give is take a picture with purpose, and then edit it for the best results.  If you have some photo taking and editing tips, please share them in the comments!  Thanks for reading – klg xo

Disclaimer: The apps I mentioned are for a fee (I do not get commission for those), but advertisements contain affiliate links in which I receive a small commission.

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