Do you ever look at someone's Instagram post and think to yourself, "How... how did they make it look like that?" Or, "How are they able to accentuate that body part so naturally?"
There are so many elements to the " perfect Insta post," and you clicked on the right article if you want to learn how to achieve that. Being a photography major, I've done a lot of research over the years on poses, apps, and other tips and tricks you can apply to your photos. A few of which you can do on your camera app if you have the iPhone and not many people know about it. Keep on reading if you want to learn the secret formula!
One of the most important parts of your photo — the subject(s)! To be honest, I'm actually not the best with posing others, which is why I'm not going to be a portrait photographer, but I do know a few things that I apply to my own photos.
You will be seeing this word a lot in this article, but it's the one thing you really want to focus on: looking natural.
This goes for smiling, laughing, new poses, accentuating parts of the body — just about everything! Sometimes I see others' insta posts, and whatever pose they're trying to accomplish, it looks like they're trying too hard. When it looks that way, it looks forced, and nothing unique about it. I'm not kidding though, I cringe at those types of posts.
There are times where I'll have people send me photo options, and I always pick the one that looks more candid, more natural, and where they look like they're having the time of their life — those are the best types of pictures in my opinion.
As for posing tips, I have a few:
- We all have a little extra skin under our chin that we're not a fan of. A way to "get rid of it," is when you're smiling, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. It will definitely feel awkward when you do it, but it will make a noticeable difference in the after photos.
- For the ladies who want to show off their butts, DO NOT lean and put all your weight on your front leg, with your back leg bent. Doing so will make your stomach area appear bigger, which you clearly don't want. Instead, lightly lean on your back leg, and you can slightly bend your front leg with your feet pointed to the ground. Doing it this way will actually make your belly look slimmer, and you will have a more flattering, natural curve of your butt. I've done this many times, and it also works really well if you have some height on your shoes.
- If you're looking to elongate your legs, stand facing the camera, and just like the last tip, put your weight on your back leg, place your other leg in front, slightly bending your leg, and point your foot towards the ground. This can either look really forced or really natural, so watch out for that, and make sure you practice in front of a mirror instead of trying it for the first time when you start taking pictures.
- Another tip to elongate your legs: whoever is taking the picture, have them squat down to the ground, and take the picture at that angle. Pictures angled from the ground area and up will help achieve the "long leg look."
2. Camera App Tip.
If you have an iPhone, then you can do this 2-in-1 tip very easily:
1. If you want the camera to be focused in one area, and not have it start focusing in random areas every time you take a picture or move your phone, tap anywhere on the screen where you want to focus. Hold down your finger until a yellow rectangle shows up that says, "AE/AF lock." This will lock your focus area. No matter how many directions you move your phone, that one area will always be in focus.
2. After locking your focus area, a vertical yellow line with a sun in the middle will usually pop up next to wherever the focused area is with an outline of a square. Drag the sun up and down on the yellow line to control your exposure. For example, if you are in a darker area, drag the sun upwards to make the picture lighter, and vise-versa.
There are so many apps out there on the market to achieve many different styles. I have five recommended apps that I use, as well as editing tips.
1. Darkroom — Photo Editor App: It is said that this app is similar to Lightroom — but much cheaper. This app I believe is free, but includes in-app purchases that I highly recommend spending your iTunes money on. I recommend it because you'll have more choices. There are a few unique things about this app:
- The filter packs that you purchase are specifically designed for certain photography subjects: ex. portraits, landscapes, etc.
- By clicking on any filter you choose and edit the way you want using other tools, you can then create your own filter with all the edits saved that you just used. You can name the filter, create as many filters as you want, and this will also be easier if you want to apply the same edits onto other photos.
- Lastly, there are different ways to export your picture(s). You can "Modify Original," which will save your new edit onto the original photo, if you plan on having that as your final edit, and don't need the original anymore. Although, If you want to save other copies, you can do so by clicking the "Save Copy" option. If you want to export your photo that isn't through your camera roll, you can click the "Other Services" button, which will pop up with more exporting options.
2. VSCO CAM: This used to be my ride or die editing app — until I found Darkroom. I still keep this on my phone if there's a tool I like to use ("Clarity" for example) that my other apps don't have. I'd say this is a really good app for beginners as well as people who edit in a certain way — who want to create a particular vibe to their pictures. Some filter packs are free, and some are not. The most popular filters I've noticed over the years are A6, B1, B5, HB1, HB2, and P5. Each has different color tones and tools within the filter. The more filter packs you download, the more choices you have. With your VSCO account, you can also "Publish" your finished creations on your profile, as well as follow your friends. The only differences are, is that you can't like/comment on others' pictures, and you won't be notified when a person publishes a photo.
3. Facetune: Aka the worlds most mixed reviewed app. I'm not telling you to alter your entire body, but instead, just small changes to finish off the picture.
- Whiten Tool: I use this to whiten teeth and the whites of my eyes - which makes a huge difference. I don't have the whitest teeth, and I may not always look 100% awake, so applying the whiten tool to those areas helps a lot. People also use this tool if they have a white background and they just want to make it a brighter white.
- Details Tool: Anything you want to stand out more in a picture, this is the tool to use. I don't recommend using this tool on skin because it won't make the skin look smoother, just rough and not so appealing.
- Red Eye Tool: Probably one of my favorite tools, because not only can you fix the red eye, but you can also fix the white eye problem when flash is used - and it's a life saver.
- Defocus Tool: The only time I use this tool is when I edit my YouTube thumbnails - when the background isn't in focus, it brings out the subject more. When you click on this tool, a "Blur" option will show up. This, in my opinion, makes the "defocus" way too noticeable, but this would be great if you're blurring out a license plate or private information.
4. iPhotos App: This is actually a tip I had learned from YouTube, like the other camera tip, and I don't think many people know about it. When you're editing in the app, click on the 3rd option (3 lines with circles, next to the heart button), and then click on the clock with the dots around it. Click on the "Light" downward arrow, and tap on "Black Point." To make the darker areas in your picture more black, like shadows, drag the red vertical line towards the right. This can make a huge difference in your photos if you don't want to use the Contrast tool. Using the Black Point tool will make those darker areas appear smoother as well.
5. Camera App: This goes for both iPhone and Android users. This also goes for any type of photo as well, but use the "Straighten tool." There are times on Instagram where I see beautiful pictures of different subjects, but the picture is slanted and not straight - and it drives me nuts. If you're on the iPhone, you would still use the iPhotos app for this. Just like the above tip, click on the 3rd option with the lines and circles that is next to the heart button. Tap on the first tool with the cropping square and arrows. This wheel will show up underneath your picture, and slide with your finger either towards the left or right to straighten your photo. Straighten photos will make you look like an editing pro in no time.
4. The Final Stage: Instagram.
This is your last chance to make any final edits. Even if I have used the sharpen, saturation, brightness, contrast, and warmth tools on my other apps, I still go into these tools in the editing section ever so slightly before posting. Doing so will completely finish off the look I want for my perfect Instagram post.